Chung , Neumann, and a Line From The Purge : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread

Hi Peter - I think it's really great that you are doing this, I really appreciate it. I have realized through your postings that even if we never see any more of Flux (which doesn't seem likely), we will still get what we crave. I can't wait to see the new character that you will be unveiling later this year - I'm sure we'll all be very happy with that and all your future works, even if there is no more Flux.

Will you be working with Drew Neumann again at some point down the line? I think that he was a big part of the show's greatness. You complement each other brilliantly - your animation, character design, etc. with his music and sound effects - and it would be great to see more collaborations between the two of you.

There is one scene from Aeon Flux that is absolutely incredible to me, above all the rest - the food booths in The Purge. First there's the little exchange between Aeon and the obese boy. "You're not a Breen." "You do not exist." It practically gives me chills to think of it (okay, that's geeky). Is there any particular meaning there, or is it just a "F$@% You" retort on Aeon's part? Also, would you care to comment on the part when the Breens open up their boxes of cabbage? Was it intentional to make their faces actually look like the cabbage that they are about to eat? Sorry if this seems obsessive and ridiculous, but the scene really stands out in my mind.

Again, thanks very much for spending time here.

-- John McDevitt (, June 15, 2000


John, yeah, Drew's work saved my ass on more than a few occasions. Sitting and watching him work was always fascinating, yet often exhausting. He would keep trying to tweak and improve a cue even if I thought it sounded great. A very meticulous mind, and a fun guy to be around.

As for the exchange between Mead (the Breen boy) and Aeon, that's another quip penned by Mark Mars. He's responsible for a lot of the memorable dialogue in the series. I often used his facility with dialogue to spice up a finished script. A guy very much in tune with his feminine side (you'd know what I mean if you met him), he had Aeon's personality down. She's basically telling the guy to buzz off, but on a metaphysical level.

As for the scenes of the Breens in the food bank, the art was shot with a green filter over the lens to give it an eerie look. I animated those scenes myself, and in the end, as time and money were running out, I had to operate the camera on the shot where the camera quickly pans from one face to the other. No computer controlled camera-- all hand-cranked moves, and very laborious. So thanks for noticing!

I should clarify a question that I know has been asked concerning the dialogue in the series. Writing good dialogue has never been one of my strengths. It's one of the reasons why there was no dialogue in the Liquid T.V. shorts, which I wrote alone. While I wrote the basic story structures, came up with the characters, events and themes of eight of the full-length episodes (all except Chronophasia and End Sinister), most of the dialogue was done by the various script writers of each episode. Some day, it might be fun to catalogue which writer wrote which line. Each episode had its own mix of contributors.

Peter Gaffney was the series story editor for MTV, and he pretty much left my stuff alone. He was a useful ally in seeking approval from MTV on far-out ideas. He's a true professional writer, and helped us to be able to make deadlines in a pinch. He wrote Chronophasia based on a premise by Garrett Sheldrew.

Japhet Asher was the series' Executive Producer for Colossal Pictures. He was also the creator of Liquid Television, and the man who originally approached me to submit an idea for a series of shorts to include in his show. (The idea I proposed was Aeon Flux.) He served unofficially as a second story editor on the series, and contributed a lot of great dialogue as well. Being the executive type, he was particularly well suited for handling Trevor's lines. ( "clean gloves hide dirty hands, and mine are dirtier than most". "...Number 3, when you're done, go and shoot yourself.")

In the case of the Purge, all the dialogue was written by Eric Singer, except for that one exchange between Mead and Aeon, and the public address voice-overs, which were written by Mark Mars. Eric is another wizard with the spoken word, and has been busy writing feature film scripts for Hollywood studios (although none have yet been produced that I know of). All the dialogue on the stage in the final act of the Purge is Eric's. "Man alive, Goodchild, you give me the hinks!"-- and all that good stuff.

Mark and Eric are also responsible for writing most of the Herodotus File, which was being written and illustrated while I was in Korea and Japan working on the animation of the episodes. I had nothing to do with the Herodotus file besides attending a few meetings and making comments on drafts. Japhet Asher and Peter Gaffney did the final polish and edit.

So how much dialogue did I actually write myself? Scripts which include significant amounts of my efforts: Utopia or Deuteranopia, A Last Time for Everything, the Demiurge, Reraizure. Scripts which include scattered bits: Isthmus Crypticus, Ether Drift Theory, Thanatophobia. (examples: most of the Demiurge, including Trevor's "Light in the absence of eyes" speech; "These people you're copying are already superfluous; you're trafficking in excess" and that whole exchange from Last Time; "You always had a thing for foreign tongues")

The Demiurge was the first script that was written, and went through innumerable rewrites. Because I tried to cram so much into it, it ultimately came out rather cluttered and muddled. Although Steve DeJarnatt, John Brancato and Mike Ferris are listed in the credits as writers, ultimately nothing remains of their work in the finished script. Also, some of the explanatory dialogue you hear was added by MTV at the last minute without my involvement.

Whew, try as I might, I can't seem to keep these posts as short as I'd like. There's always more to tell...

By the way, I'll be leaving to go to Korea to start working on the fifth Rally's/Checkers commercial on Monday, June19th. I'll continue to take questions until then.

-- Peter Chung (, June 15, 2000.

Curious: who penned the memories/convictions/blank screens monologue at the end of Reraizure? That's always been a favorite of mine.

-- eskimonkey (, June 15, 2000.

Funny, I thought Demiurge turned out great. Two questions though: what is with the exchange between Aeon and Celia in that Monican hangar? And why do we see so much more of Monica here than in every other episode, did you decide Bregna was just more interesting, or what? Anyway thanks for your time Peter.

-- Paul D. Gilbreath (, June 16, 2000.

Didn't mean to interrupt, Eskimonkey.

-- Paul D. Gilbreath (, June 16, 2000.

Peter Chung-Will you come back here, do you think?

-- Barb e. (, June 16, 2000.

You know, I probably could come up with some questions better than mine so far, but here is a few I will throw out in hopes you'll answer, how did Denise Poiroir get picked? To me she really 'became' Aeon. And same with John Lee and Trevor. The casting was excellent. The writing of Mark Mars is fabulous, I didn't appreciate it before... (so, should I write and ask him, 'was Euphemia a jealous lover)'?

-- Barb e. (, June 16, 2000.

Explanatory dialogue? You mean like the line "There's a box under my bed" when Celia goes to get the box?

-- Frostbite (, June 16, 2000.

Peter, I have to say that I have never had such an enjoyable time as when you came here to our forum. I was just re-reading some of your posts, they are so informative, and so endearing, even funny, and there is so much to grasp about your personality. You're probably one of the most down to earth celebrities ever. Obviously, you regard others as well as yourself, a rare quality in any century. I read your interview with 'E3', fascinating. So you sat and spoke with fans about Aeon, answering obscure questions, seems to be your destiny. I guess that after all, you didn't come back and 're-confuse us', (as I once said kiddingly), you came back and informed us. I Really hope to see more of any 'Chungian' art, because it has definitely improved this corner of the human race.

-- Barb e. (, June 17, 2000.

Trevor's monologue at the end of Reraizure was by Japhet Asher. He was also responsible for the airhose-sex idea on the platform.

My thoughts on the Demiurge are that it was one of my favorite scripts, and the most personal, dealing as it does, with one's relationship to the divine. For this reason, MTV never understood it, in fact, hated it. It was the first episode written, and the second to be produced, but MTV, fearing that its esoteric story would turn away viewers (perhaps they were right), pushed it to number 5 in the running order. The way the episode turned out is a pale shadow of its original form.

The opening location at the missile launch site was supposed to be carpeted with the dead bodies of Breen and Monican soldiers, much like the second sequence of the LTV pilot short. Trevor and Aeon, sensing that they're the last ones remaining, and with no one around to witness, abandon their political stances and have passionate sex on the pile of their dead armies. Of course, this was toned down considerably. Some day, I'd like to take the ideas in this script and do them right.

Being the first of my full-length scripts, it was hard for me to gauge how much plot could be covered in a 22-minute running time. Also, some of the dialogue is a bit obscure, since I didn't want verbal explanations. MTV added several instances of voice-over dialogue after the film was completed. ("You can't hide from it, it's everywhere"). Even so, the episode contains some fine moments, especially in the third act. The scenes inside the Demiurge's chamber at the end contains some well done animation.

As for the questions: What is Trevor saying to Rubio while the explosion goes off behind him? It isn't audible, and therefore it's not meant to be important. Make up your own line.

Aeon's conversation with Celia was my clumsy attempt at writing stylized dialogue. Please don't try too hard to make sense of it. I do like Aeon's line "We won, we must have been right." I also like the exchange between Trevor and Aeon: "There's a pain in my back" "Describe it to me" etc. This was inspired by a book I was reading at the time called "The Body in Pain" by Elaine Scarry, which proposed that there is no language to express pain, thus the ease with which war and torture are carried out. Originally, the dialogue between A and T was longer, developing into a philosophical debate. It had to be cut for length, just like everything else in this episode.

Other episodes which feature much screen time in Monica: Isthmus Cryticus and Thanatophobia. Trevor generally stayed home in Bregna, so Aeon is usually the one crossing the border. Also, Chronophasia and Ether Drift Theory take place in neither country.

Barbara, the casting process was difficult, and we were very lucky in the end to find Denise and John. In the beginning, before we decided to go with non-union actors (due to budget limitations), I was considering tryng to get Deborah Harry and David Bowie to do Aeon and Trevor. Seemed appropriate since the show was going to be for MTV. (In 1996 an animated rock opera of Ziggy Stardust was being discussed with Bowie, and I worked on it briefly.) Also, Demi Moore wanted very much to play Aeon, and Japhet met her to discuss it. (She later had a part in the Beavis and Butthead movie).

We chose Denise because unlike the other actresses we auditioned, she had a non-specific regional accent (she's French Canadian), she had a sexy voice, top-notch acting ability, and a good rapport with John Lee, who'd already been cast. Denise was literally the last one on our schedule, and we knew immediately she was Aeon when we heard her. One of my biggest regrets is that John was never allowed to speak in his natural voice to play Trevor. John has a soothing British accent and sounds remarkably like a young Sean Connery. MTV insisted on an American accent. Of course, he's excellent anyway.

And as far as my future projects-- the one I'm planning currently will be produced independently without studio involvement. It will be low-budget and will emphasize fresh characters and ideas over visual spectacle. I don't believe an animated film has to be loaded with expensive effects to be innovative. It won't be aimed at an adult audience, but don't take that to mean it won't be radically different from anything you've ever seen. It will be completely unlike Aeon Flux except in its avoidance of formulas. At the moment, I'm tired of black leather, guns, violence and psychodrama. I'd also like to try broadening my audience, and to provide a real alternative to the endlessly formulaic, cynical Hollywood product which is numbing our minds. It's going to be called: "Career Suicide".

-- Peter Chung (, June 18, 2000.

Well, you're right about the expensive effects that can be cut without loss of quality, remember one summer where "The Haunting" spent millions, only to take a back seat to the comparitive 'cheapy', "The Blair Witch Project", which ran away with the audiences, partly because it did depart from formula. Nothing against John Lee, who is great, and because he now is "Trevor", but oh noooo, David Bowie...

-- Barb e. (, June 18, 2000.

The demiurge was my favorite one. I wish it did not get cut, it would've been really cool to see the philosophical debate between Aeon and Trevor. I wonder who believed what? Aeon seemed to be against the demiurge, so I guess it would've been against organized religion?

-- Kittymoon (, June 19, 2000.

I mean her side of the debate would've been against orginized religion.

-- Kittymoon (, June 19, 2000.

Did anyone notice the little joke at the end, "and I'm going to call it 'career suicide'",...

-- Barb e. (, June 20, 2000.

who is debrah harry? ahh i know who david bowie is! i love that guy! he would of been great!

-- Lady Morgan (, June 21, 2000.

Kittymoon, do i know look familiar?

-- Lady Morgan (, June 21, 2000.

O.k., if no one is going to write, then you will be forced to suffer through my opinions, it is the price you pay for non-involvement, and I know you come back here, (because Peter Chung might someday), I just hope my opinions don't keep him away. Re-reading Peter Chung is never boring. He gave us plenty of things to reference, and consider. He discusses his goals of higher cultural values attempted in visual narrative form, (anime), and how the general public's lack of visual literacy is "suffocating the progress of comics and film as serious artistic tools". As a painter I have studied art, as the general artist has, and found that painting is difficult to tell any story, other than to convey some inner experience personal to me, and yet, I hope to affect the onlooker to some inner depth within, some higher plane to recognize, I never have seen anyone attempt this in animation, with so great a scope as to compare to traditional literature. You could compare his works to any of the great writers, Shakespeare, Hawthorne,...with just the few episodes he produced he moved us to higher cultural planes, thus the basis of this site, even the desire to see graphic sex portrayed by his characters stems from this, as his characters' undergo the need for abandonment of their political stance to give way to their desires for one another as human beings, and that culture aside, we are all still from the same cloth, imperfect or tattered as that cloth can be. You could go into depth of how countries simply seperate us, (that wall between Bregna and Monica), and how we all need to forget our differences at times, but the borders will draw up again and again.

-- Barb e. (, June 27, 2000.

Barb, where would we be without your boundless enthusiasm? Yeah, I agree the forum is slow sometimes, but the people here are intelligent and know what they're talking about. An acceptable trade-off, no?

-- Paul (, June 28, 2000.

hmmmm, what if they took my threat seriously and didn't want to suffer anymore, through my opinions that is.

-- Barb e. (, June 28, 2000.

Depends on which "they" you're talking about...

-- Paul (, June 28, 2000.

is it just me or is this reaaaaally hard to understand, i'm all confused...

-- Barb e. (, June 28, 2000.

Oh, I'm just having a larf, heh heh, didn't mean to confuse. It just sounded like a Fluxian kinda thing to say...

-- Paul (, June 28, 2000.

Very Trevor, anyway.

-- Barb e. (, June 28, 2000.

I think you and Frostbite have cornered the market on sarcasm :).

-- Paul (, June 28, 2000.

Hey, did you know that Mead is another name for wine? Pretty strange, huh? I wonder why he'd give that name to a kid.

-- Paul (, June 28, 2000.

Speaking of our divine one, what's happened to her lately? That girl has written a thing or two around here that definitely contributes.

-- Barb e. (, June 29, 2000.

I met Steve DeJarnatt recently, at a screening of his film "Miracle Mile", and he told me a little about Demiurge. Around the time that MTV wanted to make full-length Aeon episodes, Chung gave him a call and said "hey, want to work on Aeon Flux?" (or words to that effect), and that's how it started. According to Steve, the original script was "much more surreal" and had "hardly any dialogue"... which, I guess, would make it closer to the spirit of the shorts. We know what happened to that, but it's interesting to imagine a one-hour, silent Demiurge, isn't it? Between Steve, Ferris & Brancato (the two writers of "The Game") Chung was in pretty good company. It was cool to shake hands with a person who (however briefly) was involved with Aeon Flux. Thanks, Steve!

(BTW, if you get the chance, check out Miracle Mile. It's brilliant)

-- Paul (, February 26, 2001.

Really! So, do tell more about this wonderful meeting! If you look in this column at what Peter was saying about reading a book at the time by Elaine Scarry, "The body in Pain"; concept being that there is no language to express pain, (and so making it easy for one to obliterate others without difficulty), then this hour long episode of the demiurge was in keeping with rather a fabulous idea to start, of Peter's. Can't you just imagine how creative this series could've been had they been given poetic license? However it came out pretty good has this guy any inkling as to further projects, how did he like working with Peter, come on Paul, elaborate!

-- Barb e. (, February 26, 2001.

Oh, I only had time to ask him a few questions... he did say that Chung is a seriously deep guy (no surprise there), heavily influenced by his Christian upbringing. I got the impression he had a blast working on it, who knows, maybe they'll work together again?

I can tell you that Steve is an incredible talent - his films (all 2 of em) are like live action Peter Chung. Now, if only he were more prolific!

-- Paul (, February 27, 2001.

Apparently, Demiurge 1 was full of religious allegory that, like everything, had to be trimmed. But you can still see it in there.

-- Paul (, February 27, 2001.

so the 2 movies are miracle mile and....? is the other easily found?

-- William (, February 27, 2001.

Miracle Mile is currently out of print... I know that The Movie Channel shows it occasionally, or you could try Ebay. Cherry 2000 was his first film, and is beyond weird. Think Mad Max meets Barbarella.

-- Paul (, February 28, 2001.

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