Peter Chung Interview in Anime Insider magazine : LUSENET : Aeon Flux : One Thread

Just so yall know...peter chung gives a nice interview in anime insider thats currently on the newsstands, on Reign mostly...but there are a few references to Aeon Flux. Me being a huge fan I bought the magazine simply because of that interview...its nice to see any mention of AF anywhere!!!

-- Forelorn (, April 01, 2003


Boy I love all the info on this site. Thanks for the link Peter, I love to read these interviews, and I love to hear how the characters were created. It would be interesting some time to read an article about Jack Fletcher as he obviously has a great talent in knowing how to engage the actors in the best way to bring the character to life. He must really be a superb voice director. Now I just need to pick up the article in Anime Insider regarding Reign, unless Forelorn would like to 'print it' here for us (hint hint).

-- Barb e (, April 05, 2003.

Forelorn, was hoping you could scan it and then paste it down or something, not looking to make you look your email name.

-- Barb e (, April 06, 2003.

The Email Bunny came early and there's goodies in my emailbasket! A personal email from Peter Chung with the entire uncut interview for Anime Insider. Dig in guys!!!...but save the ears for me!

Barb; To my very favorite person on the Aeon Flux forum or anywhere else in the whole wide world (ok, so Peter didn't ever say that part but he did write the next:)

"The interview which appeared in Anime Insider was drastically edited. They sent me a long list of questions by email. Apparently, they weren't really interested in the answers since they omitted so many of them.

I'm going to spare Forelorn the labor of copying the contents of the printed article (legally ill-advised) and send you my version of the interview. It's no extra work for me, since it was composed as a text file to begin with.

Note: Up until the most recent issue, the magazine was called "Anime Invasion", and that is how it appears in the interview. I can only guess that recent world events rendered that name a tad distasteful.

Enjoy. PC

ANIME INVASION: When you were younger, how did you become interested in drawing and creating original works?

PC: I believe that at a young age, one's interests are not a matter of conscious choice. I gravitated toward various forms of visual media in much the way I imagine a musically inclined child might emulate, then create his own music.

What were some of the works that inspired you to try to create your own?

PC: My father was in the diplomatic service, so I was exposed to a very wide range of works at a young age, due to having travelled and relocated frequently. Films, animation and comics from the U.S., Asia and Europe supplied a rich source of inspiration throughout my childhood. A childhood list would include the works of Osamu Tezuka, Jack Kirby and Andre Franquin in comics; Disney and Warner Brothers animation; Tiger Mask, Cyborg 009, Thunderbirds on T.V..

ANIME INVASION: When did you realize that your skills and ability as far as drawing are concerned were more than just a hobby that you had true talent and could actually attempt a career at creating?

PC: Tenth grade.

ANIME INVASION: Was your family supportive of your desire to become a creator?

PC: Yes. Perhaps because both of my elder brothers pursued artistic careers before me.

If so, how did that help you foster and nurture your talents?

PC: I was able to study animation at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

If not, how hard was it to go against their "wishes" and create despite their feelings on the subject?


ANIME INVASION: What are some of the earliest pieces you can remember creating?

PC: In sixth grade, I designed a species of imaginary creatures that had heads, arms and legs, but no bodies.

When you were younger, which existing animation or manga characters were you drawing in your own style?

PC: I remember drawing Ohgon Bat a lot. The skull head looked cool and was easy to draw. That must have been in 1971.

ANIME INVASION: When did you start making your own original characters?

PC: See above.

What do you remember as being the inspiration behind your first work?

PC: Asterix by Goscinny and Uderzo.

ANIME INVASION: A lot of comics and Japanese animation creators intern with other creators to learn the ropes and inner workings of the industry. Did you ever intern with anyone? Who? What was that experience like?

PC: I never "interned" as such. Nor did I do assistant work for more experienced animators. Our teachers at CalArts were retired Disney artists, though they did not offer much guidance. I did work on FIRE AND ICE, where I met and was given direction by Frank Frazetta, whose work had been a great influence at the time.

Later, I worked on a project with Moebius, whose work had an enormous impact on me as well. Seeing Moebius work firsthand was a learning experience. His focus, efficiency, and sheer drawing skill continue to inspire me.

During the mid-eighties, I worked alongside Kim Daejung (not the South Korean president, whose name he shares), the top animation director in Korea at the time. His speed and drawing talent was legendary even among the Japanese studios, for whom he usually worked. That experience, more than any other, challenged me to push myself beyond what I would have thought possible.

ANIME INVASION: If you interned, would you recommend other creators do so to learn and hone their abilities more?

PC: I believe each artist, if motivated, will find their own way regardless of interning.

ANIME INVASION: If you never interned with anyone - and could pick any creator to learn from and mentor you now - whom would you choose? If you had the power to go back in time and learn from the "experts" whom would top your list?

PC: Being at CalArts, then at Disney studios during the early eighties, many of my peers went on to become major forces in the animation industry today (John Lasseter, Tim Burton, Henry Selick, John Musker, Gary Trousdale, Chris Sanders -- to name a few). What was most valuable in that environment was the exchange of ideas and witnessing my colleagues in the process of finding their way, just as I was.

ANIME INVASION: How did you become interested in filmmaking?

PC: I saw programs of short independent animated films while in high school. I realized it was possible to make films without actors, sets, or a lot of money. All I needed was lots of time, and it seemed like that was all I had. I started an animated film project when I was sixteen with a school friend. As soon as I saw our super-8 rushes, I was instantly hooked.

ANIME INVASION: How did you learn the ropes of filmmaking? Did you go to college or university and study this field? Which one? What was the experience like?

PC: See above.

ANIME INVASION: Prior to working on Aeon Flux, what kind of professional works had you done in film, comics, or animation?

PC: I was twenty-nine when I created Aeon Flux. I'd had my first professional animation job at nineteen. During those ten years, I did feature development work at Disney, storyboards, character designs, overseas animation supervision for various U.S. T.V. series, directed title sequences, commercials, and directed the pilot episode of RUGRATS.

ANIME INVASION: A lot of people really first heard of you through Aeon Flux. What inspired that series?

PC: Aeon Flux was conceived as part of the animated compilation series LIQUID TELEVISION, which aired on MTV in the early 90s. (Beavis and Butthead also premiered on LIQUID TV.) At that time, cable TV was open to creating new styles of animation aimed at older audiences. Aeon Flux was my idea of what I wanted to see under the label "adult animation".

ANIME INVASION: For those who might not have had MTV or experienced the show, can you tell us what Aeon Flux was?

PC: Aeon Flux began as a series of short films which presented, without dialogue, the adventures of a female spy/assassin on various missions in which she would upset expectations by dying at inopportune moments.

After six such episodes (ranging in length from 3 to 12 minutes), MTV expanded the show to a full half-hour, with dialogue, airing at 10 PM twice a week. The emphasis of the show shifted from visual action to a character-driven psychological drama with a different agenda each week. Part science fiction, part political thriller, part metaphysical mystery, the show lasted for 10 episodes.

ANIME INVASION: What was the hardest part about creating Aeon Flux?

PC: The writing process was long and arduous. The hardest thing- and probably the most misunderstood- was that Aeon Flux was based on the idea that each episode would be structurally unique. As a rule, a TV series of a recurring character relies on an established formula, and set boundaries of conduct. The hero's agenda and moral stance is reliable and constant. Aeon Flux attempted to break from this pattern. She doesn't fight crime, obey orders, nor is she bound by "country", "duty" or "honor". In a sense, we invented a new template every episode.

ANIME INVASION: What were some of the most rewarding parts about being involved with that series?

PC: The greatest challenge, and what I believe we achieved, was creating a truly "adult" animated character. By that, I don't mean violent and sexy (though she was those too). Aeon Flux, the character, is a complex, intelligent, and engaging person with a rich inner life.

ANIME INVASION: What's the status of the live action Aeon Flux movie?

PC: Several different scripts have been written. I can't say more than that.

ANIME INVASION: After Aeon Flux and before Alexander what were some of the projects you completed?

PC: We're talking about 1995 to 96. I directed several animated commercials. One featured Cindy Crawford transforming into an Aeon Flux-type superheroine. The client was Pepsi Cola.

ANIME INVASION: What inspired Alexander/Reign the Conqueror?

PC: REIGN is based on the series of novels ALEXANDER'S WAR CHRONICLES, which in turn is based on the life of Alexander the Great.

ANIME INVASION: What do you like the best about taking existing historical figures and turning them sideways in a new incarnation like Alexander?

PC: For me, it was a great opportunity to learn through research about an important historical period and a compelling personality of mythic proportions.

ANIME INVASION: What kind of research did you do for this project?

PC: I read books on Alexander the Great and referred to visual artifacts of that era.

ANIME INVASION: Who was Alexander The Great? What made him a better choice than any other character of that era? What was outstanding about him in your mind?

PC: Alexander was the King of Macedonia during the 4th century BC. He conquered the Western world by the age of 30. He was the greatest military strategist known to history.

Being an epic animated series, I suppose he makes a more visually dynamic subject, than. say, Aristotle.

Alexander's story is fascinating on many levels. While it's true that he was driven by an insatiable thirst for power, he was also a highly cultured scholar and founded great cities, including Alexandria renowned for its vast library.

ANIME INVASION: Who are the other main characters in Alexander/Reign The Conqueror? [Please introduce your cast and tell a little about each character.]


Olympias- Alexander's domineering mother. A Dionysian priestess/ mystic.

Philip II - Alexander's father. Passed on his great skills of military leadership to his son.

Aristotle - Alexander's teacher. The most brilliant philosopher and scientist of the times.

Darius III - King of Persia. Alexander's formidable rival in conquest.

ANIME INVASION: Why set this in the 21st century instead of the past? What does having a setting of now add to the mythos of the story?

PC: REIGN is set in the 4th century BC. (It's being called a "21st century reimagining" because it's being RELEASED in 2003). The design reflects an "alternate history", rather than adhering to strict realism. I think that this interpretation conveys the sense that the themes of Alexander's story are timeless and universal. The value of myth is that it crystallizes archetypes into vivid, engaging, personalities that take on a life beyond history.

ANIME INVASION: What is the world of the Macedonia like? How is it different from our world?

PC: Pass. Sorry, but I'm not an authority on antiquity.

ANIME INVASION: Who are The Pythagoreans?

PC: They are the followers of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. The Pythagorean school (or cult) was devout, rigorous, and steeped in esoteric mysticism. Aristotle's own teachings was opposed to their ways.

ANIME INVASION: Why do The Pythagoreans believe Alexander is going to destroy the world?

PC: Many of Alexander's contemporaries also believed this. The Pythagoreans represent one group among many that opposed Alexander's campaign for world conquest.

ANIME INVASION: How did it feel when you learned Reign was going to be included on the Cartoon Network's ADULT SWIM line up? How did that come about?

PC: I worked on REIGN in 1996 to 97. It seemed a great challenge at the time to get the series on American T.V. I think this is a sign of how far the U.S. market has come in accepting Japanese animation as mainstream programming.

ANIME INVASION: If you weren't working in animation right now, what kind of job do you think you'd have?

PC: Writing, designing, or directing live-action film.

ANIME INVASION: What other projects are you working on?

PC: This past year, I wrote and directed a 16-minute film as part of the ANIMATRIX compilation feature, a collection of shorts by mostly Japanese animation directors which take place in the universe established by the MATRIX movie. The title of my episode is MATRICULATED. In many ways, it recalls the style of storytelling I used in the early AEON FLUX short films. It will be released on dvd in June 2003, after MATRIX RELOADED"...

Peter Chung..bunny

-- Barb e (, April 07, 2003.

Ooops...Peter I'm really totally sorry. Guess I was a little too enthusiastic to share. It was not very saavy of me to say the least. Not trying to get you in trouble-no no no. I do still intend to buy a copy though. Guess Aeon has nothing on me as far as political blunders. Reading that I'm your fav brings an amazingly pleasant feeling to me and I want to say thanks graciously but as I've typed about 15 ways to say it and find I haven't the slightest idea how to express myself well, please take my frustratingly simple word for such a complex reaction; cool.

-- Barb e (, April 07, 2003.

Thanks, Forelorn. There's also a longer one (5 pages) in the current issue of Animerica magazine which also covers AF a bit. No info you can't get from visiting this site, though. But lots of Reign pictures.

-- Peter Chung (, April 05, 2003.

Don't know if this was posted already, but there's a detailed interview with John Lee at the site:

John Lee Interview

-- Peter Chung (, April 05, 2003.

man that would be a lot of typing...maybe i could find it somewhere online...ill see what i can do...Now im i retype it with or without the spelling mistakes made by the magazine? :P . To Peter just like to say your work is, of course, brilliant. I really do appreciate that you come here and chat with means a lot to a fan like me!

-- Forelorn (, April 06, 2003.

Wow, awesome stuff!

-- Sam (, April 07, 2003.

Hmmm. Well, I didn't intend for that to be posted here, considering that the issue of Anime Insider containing the article is still on sale. Barb, I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I sent you and Forelorn the text for your personal perusal.

Oh well, what's done is done. Let's just hope no one from Anime Insider is checking this board.

(And yes-- Barb, you're indeed my favorite person on this board-- but what are you trying to do, get me in trouble?)

-- Peter Chung (, April 07, 2003.

Well then, lets show our support and go out and buy the article.... :)

-- tom (, April 07, 2003.

I was wondering where I can still get the quicktime or the .avi of the trailer for Reign: The Conqueror. The show rocks but rumor has it that the trailer included scenes cut out from what is showing on Cartoon Network. Also, what issues of the mags was Peter Chung's interview and the pictures in?


-- Sanj (, April 26, 2003.

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