Since 2002, Jon and Al Kaplan have been turning some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters in musicals. Their first effort was Silence of the Lambs, which has gone on to such great success than a new production of it opened last year in London.
They're also on our list of golden boys because they scored the SyFy original movie Dinocroc vs. Supergator, and anyone involved in that film deserves a lifetime supply of high-fives in our opinion.
Now the brothers have turned their sights on conquering the Internet through the use of iMovie, their extensive musical prowess, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prepare to have the lyric, "If it bleeds, we can kill it" stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Ladies and gentlemen, it's Predator: The Musical.
Well, Rocks Off simply couldn't pass up an opportunity to pick the brain of someone who put something like this together, and Jon and Al agreed to a brief email interview.
Rocks Off: What made you want to start making musicals of blockbusters?
Jon & Al: We started with Silence of the Lambs in 2002, just for fun, and did nine songs for it. We put it online for our friends -- this was before YouTube, Facebook, etc. -- but it quickly developed a cult following. We soon expanded the show with more songs and it was staged in New York at the Fringe Festival, and more recently a professional production in London at the Above the Stag theatre. An off-Broadway production is in the works for this summer.
After Silence, we did 24: Season 2 The Musical, and several other "single" songs from various movies like Total Recall and Fatal Attraction. After a few years passed, we realized that no one was listening to our songs because YouTube had come around and our songs weren't attached to videos, so we made a video for the Total Recall song.
Our suspicions were confirmed when it immediately went viral. From then on, any new song we did would need video accompaniment. Doing blockbusters was never really part of it. We were just selecting our favorite movies, provided we could "do" the voices.
RO: What dictates which movies you do?
J&A: The choices are dictated by what voices we can imitate in song - Al does most of them - and what films we love. We were pushed to do a few more Schwarzenegger entries than we might have, at least in this time frame because that's what most of our subscribers wanted to see and hear.
We do love Arnie, and we've done our five favorite films of his, but we feel our best musical work is Schindler's List.
RO: What are your biggest Broadway influences?
J&A: Stephen Sondheim. We also love the Ashman/Menken musicals and the South Park musical, but those don't really count as Broadway.
RO: Have you received any feedback from the subjects? Like, has Arnold commented and said, "Good Job?"
J&A: Julia Nickson from Rambo II Facebooked Rambo, and Alyssa Milano tweeted Commando. Stuff like that, but nothing from the heavyweights. Conan director John Milius said in an interview that his assistant liked the Conan musical.
RO: Is any movie completely unsuited for the musical treatment you do?
J&A: We just checked our extensive DVD collection and we can't find anything unsuited for musicalization, unless you count movies that are already musicals.
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RO: If you could honestly stage a major musical of a Hollywood movie, with money and rights acquisition as no object, what would you adapt?
J&A: We prefer not to say publicly because then someone else will do our dream project.