During NYCC 2018, fan owned entertainment company Legion M made some major announcements regarding an upcoming movie and comic book release. Originally only announced as the acronym GWNN, it was soon revealed the title of the upcoming female-led western is Girl with No Name. Terri Lubaroff, the chief operating officer of Legion M is working alongside Co-Op Entertainment director Tanya Wexler and producer Laura Ivey. The female centric team is bringing in world renowned comic artists Tula Lotay and Dani Strips to create a 40 page A1Shot comic that introduces fans to the story prior to the film’s release.
Girl With No Name will follow a young girl who loses both her mother and father to highwaymen and she is left in the care of her mysterious UNCLE. Each day she asks him to take up a weapon and get revenge by killing the men responsible, but each day he says no. He raises the girl and teaches her how to shoot a gun, only to find out she is a natural shot. What is so great, is he does not hold her to any gender standards of the time and she is able to be exactly who she is. When UNCLE finally decides he is ready to hang up his gun for good, he is killed by bandits and the ranch they live on is burned to the ground. It is now her turn to take revenge for what has been stolen from her a second time.
I had the chance to find a nice quiet corner in the Javits Center to talk with Terri Lubaroff about the upcoming project and what it really means to her to bring it to life. This is one of those amazing times that we get to see a female centric group bring such a strong female protagonist to life. While she couldn’t give me any details regarding casting in the film, knowing Legion M and Co-Op Entertainment, we are going to have a strong female actress taking lead in this amazing film. You can sign up on their page here for upcoming announcements and information on pre-ordering the comic book.
Julia Roth: What led Legion M to produce Girl with No Name?
Terri Lubaroff: So as a company Legion M wants to do things differently. We look for projects that tell stories from different points of view. As a woman in the industry I am specifically looking for something that portrays women in different and new ways that haven’t been seen. We have a director of development, and it came across his desk. He said, ‘You know I think this fits the bill’ and we all read it and loved it. It was a screenplay and it did exactly what we were hoping for. It had a strong female protagonist that didn’t fit the stereotypes of the time and she is a strong character who does not give into the whims of other people and she doesn’t let other things control her. She controls her own life and sets her own agenda and her own destiny and she is singularly minded. In the 1800s you don’t see that from female characters and that is what attracted us to this film.
JR: That is awesome. Now how did your investors choose this project?
TL: So Legion M is kind of unique where we are a movie studio and a production company and we poll our investors constantly. We have technology that allows us to reach out to them and ask them what they are looking for. So in addition to our social media, we have a hugely robust private Facebook group, Legion M members only, we also have forums that were built and run by our Legion M fans which is amazing. In addition to that we have this piece of technology called M-Pulse, and what we do is we send out surveys. If you had the power to green-light something, what would you green-light and here are some ideas. We put out ideas like, what if we did a female driven western, what if we did a sci fi movie that is like Panic Room set in space? We ask them what they are interested in and what we discovered through that polling and that conversation with our investors and our members was that they were really interested in a story with strong women that showed diversity and a different point of view. So we went after it. They didn’t chose this project in particular but they choose kind of the genre and what we are looking for.
JR: Was it important for you guys to have a female centric team to bring this project to fruition?
TL: It was to me personally as a woman in the entertainment industry, I have worked for a very long time in the entertainment industry and it is so rare when you are in a room full of very smart and creative women who get to be in charge. It is so rare when it is from the top down. In this case it was an opportunity for us to create that and do that and it didn’t have to be all women. The story could be told by a man, but I think the point of view that women bring to it will allow the story to live and this heroine to live in a way on the page and in the film that might not have been seen otherwise. She is not sexualized at all although she is pretty, she is not a sexual character. She is a human being on a quest and to me that was was important and I felt to get that we needed that female team.
JR: How did you go about pulling people for the team itself?
TL: So for the comic book team, the feature film came attached and we have a director attached and a producer attached that are female, so when we were talking about pulling together the comic book team we brought on an editor who is very experienced in hiring artists and he knows everyone. We have worked with him before, we used his expertise to identify the artists that have a love of the western genre who wanted to work in this medium and wanted this challenge and that’s how we put it together.
JR: That is so awesome to have such a strong female group. The promotional poster looks fantastic.
TL: Thank you!
JR: Tula did such a stunning job. Now is this the type of art style we are going to be seeing through the comic book as well?
TL: Yeah, I don’t quite know how to answer that. We do have art available and would love to share it with you. We are not keeping this project totally quiet because we are a fan owned company. We want people understand the process and we are releasing art here and there so they can see what we go through in order to develop these characters and develop the book. The cover art Tula Lotay did, she is an amazing artist, and it is really beautiful and stylized and very graphic. I would say the interior art, Dani Strips is doing, it has kind of the same feel to it but it is with her flair. We are really challenging her to go outside of her comfort zone and try new things. It has been a very awesome creative process.
JR: How is it going from a screenplay to a comic book?
TL: Comic books are usually stories told in issues, it is very episodic, you have one issue of a comic book and then you have to buy them for a set amount of time to get the whole story. We felt because this was a screenplay already that that was not a format that would work for us. We are using this format called A1Shot that our editor created, it’s a 40 page comic book and it is a self contained story which is very different. It is only super heavy card stock so you can put it on your shelf and it can stand up. We took a part of the script that we felt was very compelling and kind of introduced you to this universe that exists and made that into the comic book.
JR: Awesome so the book will be smaller segment and the movie will be much larger?
TL: The movie will be much larger. Much larger.
JR: So the comic book comes out in 2019,
TL: Early 2019!
JR: So when is the movie coming out?
TL: So we are packaging the movie now and looking for financing and we have some cast attached that I can not announce yet, so I think the hope is to be in production this time next year.
JR: How has it been working with Co-Op Entertainment?
TL: They are amazing. Tanya Wexler did Hysteria, I don’t know if you saw that movie but it is about the invention of the vibrator. It is a very female centric movie that needed to be told by a woman. She is just this visionary director and for this particular project, you know on the page it is a western, but her vision for it is so much more than that. It is not just a western, it is a commentary on society and an allegory on what is happening in the world today and the way she wants to tell the story is very visually striking more like 300 or Tarantino than your typical spaghetti westerns. To hear her talk about the vision and to work with Tanya and her producing partner Laura Ivey about how that is all going to happen has been the most amazing process.
JR: Can we expect to see more Girl With No Name content in the future? Like another comic book or a second movie?
TL: So the Girl With No Name universe, I don’t want to speak for Tanya or Laura because it is not my place, but I think the universe is big enough for further movies. Personally I love it so much, I think it is amazing. Comic books, there could certainly be more Girl With No Name comic books and if this format works, it has not been done before so it is an experiment. So if this format works Legion M would certainly be interested in doing more.
JR: Now aside from Girl With No Name do you guys have anything else coming out?
TL: So we just released a movie called Mandy starring Nicolas Cage which is in theaters now, which is doing very very well. There is a huge amount of support for this film which we are so grateful for. This is the next movie we have announced although we will probably have something in between. But nothing I can talk about yet. Unfortunately we are just on the cusp of closing some deals and I will let you know as soon as they close. We are working on some TV series, we will have an announcement for a big showrunner attachment for one of those series at LA Comic Con, which I am super excited about. We are just always working, we have a virtual reality series we are working on, a few TV series, and we are figuring out what our schedule is for the next year.
JR: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!
TL: Thank you!
You can keep up with all the upcoming Girl With No Name news at Geek Girl Authority!
Girl With No Name Gallery
[Images courtesy of Legion M]