Kevin Conroy and Shakira Clanton among the voices of the cast of Ryan Griffen’s “Lustration VR”
As a self-proclaimed “comic book person” and “genre boss”, Ryan Griffen is blown away to have the voice of Batman – Kevin Conroy – attached to his next project, VR lustration.
Commissioned by Facebook Reality Lab Media Studios for Oculus TV, the 4 × 6 minute animated virtual series created by Griffen will take audiences on “The Between,” a world after death.
Based on the writer-director’s eponymous graphic novel series, it centers on Bardolph (Conroy) and Gallus, two protectors of the afterlife, defending good against evil by removing those who do not belong.
However, when they fail to remove someone, they begin to uncover the truth about The Between; that it’s run like an elite country club, with the powers that be choosing who gets eternal happiness and who doesn’t.
Each episode is told from a different character’s perspective and has the potential to be experienced from different points of view.
The cast will be a mix of established and emerging talent from the United States and Australia. Proud Wongatha / Yamatji, Woman Noongar / Gtija Shakira Clanton (Eden, Preppers), who is Etowah Cherokee, a blackfoot and African American from her father’s side, is tied up to play a character named Alirea.
Nayuka Gorrie writes with Griffen, with Taryne Laffar and Carolina Sorensen in production.
It’s the first project to go into production for Nathan Anderson’s latest venture, New Canvas, and he’s producing with Wolfgang Bylsma and Griffen. A prototype of the project was released late last year, which excited Facebook to its potential.
“We have received excellent feedback from this prototype, and it is a huge credit to the team to be already in production for our first run,” said Anderson.
The series will be created in the VR painting and animation app, Quill, with artists Zoe Roellin and Lea Peirano.
Griffen, the creator of ABC Intelligent man, is drawn to virtual reality as it is a new medium, and one that lends itself to world-building – suitable for a high-level project like this, with many hyperreal elements.
It’s a medium where the rules are still being created in terms of storytelling and technique – where the camera should be placed, how it should move – with Griffen reminding it of the French New Wave.
“What we are trying to achieve with Lustration is something that is a mixture of animation, television and theater in one. You can only really do that with VR. You have the option of allowing the audience to become almost the editor of the story; the way they consume it.
“It’s like having the opportunity to be on stage during a theatrical production. When you are in our story world, you can stand directly next to the characters while they are having their conversations. You can explore this world and not just follow the story.
Griffen suggested Conroy to the team, believing he was far from getting involved. Batman was “his show” that he would watch growing up after school with his next door neighbor, and he also passed on Batman’s love to his son.
“I just threw it over there, to see what would happen. When I got the email saying “He’s interested,” I was blown away.“
As a creator of the First Nations, one of the most exciting elements of Lustration for Griffen, it is the ability to bring together diverse characters.
“What excites me about the concept is having the opportunity to confront Aboriginal characters with people, characters from New York; having their worlds combined and feeling like they are one in the same world of the story.“
Lustration will be released as a comic book series by Gestalt Comics later this year, and Griffen is also developing it as a television series.
“We wrote the pilot and brought it to market,” he says. “The industry is leaning towards the previous IP. Having a comic, and now the VR experience, and getting a solid cast around that story, it helps make IP a more solid platform, because it’s a high concept. range.
Elsewhere, Griffen is writing on a television series for the BBC that has yet to be announced.
Screen Australia provided lead funding for the production of VR lustration, with other funders including Screenwest and Lotterywest, and Screen NSW.
The full series is slated to release worldwide in 2022 for free on Oculus TV, available on Oculus Quest 2 headsets.