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Interview: Dean English, Producer of the Warrior Nun Movie

In 1993, the comic book artist and writer Ben Dunn launched one of his most popular series: Warrior Nun Areala. It is the story of a secret order of nuns who fight against demonic forces at loose in the world. In the eternal war between Heaven and Hell, the Warrior Nuns have led the way for light for over a millennium.

The series, which concluded in 2003, was very popular and obviously ideal for an action movie or television series. Ben Dunn and fans of the series have been considering the possibilities since the premier of the comic book. This test animation shows what an animated show could have been if produced during the 90s.

After much script work over the years, a Warrior Nun movie is now finally in the works! I talked to Dean English, one of the producers of the movie.

First, could you summarize the Warrior Nun story for us?

The story in Ben Dunn’s graphic novels centers on a secret organization of Warrior Nuns called the Order of the Crucifx Sword who are hidden within the shadows of the Catholic Church. They are led by one Sister Shannon Masters and are ready to scrap all the Evil that they can find — or finds them!   I must admit that I always a smile when answering that question because what’s not to like about Warrior Nuns kicking some demon butt. 

As the graphic novel went through over 100+ issues, many of the other Warrior Nuns had their own individual adventures which makes for quite a universe of Evilness for them to fight.   All the crowd favorites of the dark-side make an appearance to fight the Nuns: Lucifer; Lilith the Demon princess; the Beast; the Four Horseman in the Apocalypse; and even Hitler complete with his henchmen of nastiness. IF you are looking to do a Nun Action / Adventure film with lots of Demon butt-kicking, Warrior Nun is the right place to start.


(Image by Lukasz Trzcinski)

We can see on the official website concept art by Lukasz Trzcinski, Brendan Heffernan, and Ben Dunn. How have they helped your team shape the story?

Each one of those artists brings an amazing talent and through them we have been able to color in the world.  They can take whatever the idea may be and make it into a visual and tangible element.  If we look at the work of classically trained painter Lukasz Trzcinski,  he is creating the 1300 year old “origins” art and texts of the Warrior Nuns.  The amazing designs he has brought forward have come back to influence the story by fleshing it out. So it is a wonderful complete circle of influence: the story influences the art which then influences the story.


(Image by Brendan Heffernan)

Brendan has brought a completely different skill set to the team in that he can pick exact certain moments in the script and bring them to life. Be it something simple and action oriented like a van-chase to the more abstract like creating snapshots of what a portal to hell would look like if it was an upside-down church. These designs fuel the imagination for the writer and director when their words become visual; again it can become a circle of influence.


(Storyboard by Ben Dunn)

For Ben Dunn, he has come on to perform two functions. He is going to design the opening sequence to the film which will blend animation and live action. We have not seen any of his work for that so it is an exciting moment! In addition, he is doing an extensive amount of storyboards for the film. Ben possesses the ability to take the moments of a scene and look at them from the point of view of a camera. And when done in his Dunn-esque style they become a lot of fun very quickly. When all the storyboards are together, it will be quite an impressive document relative to how those scenes will actually unfold on screen.


(Image by Brian Heffernan)

I understand that you’re shooting the movie in Poland. What advantages does that country have to offer you in film production?

Poland has some great locations, a financially attractive cost to production and access to professional crew and equipment. Perfect!


(Video Link)

Tell us about your test shoot. How did it help your team refine your production plans and storytelling?

The test shoot gave everyone a chance to explore their expertise. From looking at how to do the FVX on the Demons, to how our main Nun would fight, to how the lighting and atmosphere could feel, to how to best utilize existing locations, to how the core creative team would function with the productions team in Krakow.  

Our project has purposely stayed under the radar - relative to the industry and press - in order to maximize our ability to properly shape the film. Usually such projects do not get opportunities like this test shoot so we are very lucky and tried to take full advantage of it.

When can we expect to see a trailer for the film?

The Facebook page has the making-of the “test” reel we did. The finished product is not a trailer in the traditional ‘Hollywood” sense as it is not trying to sell a film to an audience. 


(Video Link)

What is your expected release date? How do you plan to distribute the movie?

We expect to shoot the film in late spring 2016 and the release date will be determined by the distributor - but at least 10 months after that.

The final development stage of any film is critical, and sometimes dangerous, as far reaching creative decisions will be made. Keeping our creative independence is what has attracted Hollywood's top calibre talent to the project - that and they all want to have fun making a brilliant bad-ass Nuns kicking Demon ass kind of film. This is the invitation we extend  to any like minded souls who wish to join the Warrior Nun team! Several people have gotten in touch with us through the website or Facebook to see how they can help. It is brilliant to see how the spirit is coming through to people.

What is your crowdfunding plan for the film? How can people contribute?

The inspiration for the crowd funding is twofold. First we want to maintain the highly creative and productive environment that has lured all the top talents. Second is that we want to build a relationship with all the new and old fans and invite them to participate in the film’s creation. This will evolve as the process continues but I can tell you that some of the rewards for the campaign include the naming rights to a few Warrior Nuns and Demons as well as an on-set opportunity — to be filmed as one of the demons who gets killed by a Warrior Nun.

The campaign launches on the 7th of October. The easiest way to participate is to check on our website www.warriornun.com as all the information will be there. We would love to hear everyone’s input towards what they like and, conversely, do not like.  Just send an email to shotgun-mary@warriornun.com


(Painting of Sister Justine, a Nineteenth Century Warrior Nun, by Lukasz Piotrtrzcinski)


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