The Punisher Trailer that Killed a Fan-Film. Mike Pecci‘s The Dead Can’t Be Distracted (2013) short film teaser trailer starring Nick Apostolides and Evalena Marie was apparently too high-end for Marvel Studios. The short film trailer caused a cease-and-desist order by Marvel before the full trailer and short film could be released. After watching the teaser trailer, I see why Marvel got the chills. The trailer looks better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (its certainly more bloody and visceral), Thor, and Iron Man 2 (the two latter, lackluster properties were easy to surmount).
In comparison to the three released The Punisher motion pictures, The Dead Can’t Be Distracted takes itself the most serious though it seems to share some of the visual, colorful flare of Punisher: War Zone.
I have seen two The Punisher short films, the Dirty Laundry (2012) Short Film and the Do Not Fall in New York City (2012) Short Film, and The Dead Can’t Be Distracted seems to a least have the same level of narrative simplicity and splendor.
It is a real shame that we will not be able to see this film. This The Punisher short film comes from a genuine desire to change and reinvent how people see the iconic serial killer:
I believe that there is a way to create a better and more successful Punisher on screen. Not just for the comic book fans, but for fans of action films, fans of violence, and fans of the iconic antihero. Frank Castle is more than a man with guns – he is a dead man on a mission. He needs to finally be represented with respect. I believe I can do this. So I made a short fan film called The Dead Can’t Be Distracted. – Mike Pecci
Mike Pecci explains the Marvel Studio’s cease and desist order:
Fans were writing to me every day asking to see it. You can only imagine how excited everyone involved with the film was as we all raced to wrap up the shorts’ post-production. Then it happened – I received a letter from Marvel!
“While we appreciate your affection for the character, we must demand that you immediately stop your unauthorized use, advertising, sale and/or distribution of any production of The Punisher or any other Marvel character-based films therefor, and any other use of the images, likenesses, artwork or other intellectual property owned by Marvel. “
They demanded I take down all materials surrounding the film and told me that I was not allowed to release it. According to Marvel it would “confuse the audience” into believing that it’s an official Marvel production. At first I was flattered that the quality of our work might even compare to the millions they spend on production and advertising, but then the reality of it all set in. Marvel legal was demanding that I don’t release the film! Since when does Marvel go after fan films? Wasn’t there a recent and heavily promoted Punisher fan film with Thomas Jane? What could I do about this?
More on the “confusion” Marvel hoped to avoid:
The lawyer from Marvel who contacted us claimed that the fans would be confused into thinking that our film was official. Even though the posters read, “fan film” right on them.
‘Your actions confuse consumers into believing that they are viewing an authentic Marvel production or one sponsored or licensed by Marvel, when they are not.’
The last try at the Marvel Goliath by Pecci:
I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, and figured that maybe they were just confused – maybe they thought we were trying to make money, or a feature? I had our lawyer draft up a response right away describing the project as a short fan film and expressing how we were doing it for our love of the character and how we weren’t infringing copyright laws by doing a fan piece. How I wanted to transform the character into something that the fans would love. I even offered to send them the finished film before it was released and offered to just give it to them. None of it mattered. Their response was that we had no right to make it, release it, and that we had to pull it all down.
‘Marvel reserves the right to take whatever remedies are available to it at law and in equity, and shall do whatever best protects its interests.’
Who can we show it to? Can you put it in the hands of the folks at Marvel Studios? We know they will love it! We got no response.
I know all about getting no response when dealing with a company. Two things this has caused: a fervent desire to: a.) see this film and b.) to read the story arc the short film is based on.
The Dead Can’t Be Distracted
On the plot of the short film (based on Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s The Punisher comic book run):
Rucka’s version is about a man who has been changed by trauma, both emotionally and physically. He is a younger Castle…who is at war and is taking a lot of damage. The first thing I noticed was how beat up Castle was and how long it took him to heal. He loses an eye early on in the series – that’s new! The story gripped me. It’s not a story of revenge; in fact this story catches up with him well after the fact. We meet a man who has deadened himself to emotion, to relationships, a man focused on tactical strategy and efficiency. Greg then introduces Seargent Cole-Alves, a woman who has lost her family the same way Frank did. She on the other hand, is actively seeking revenge and teams up with Castle with the hope to learn how to get it. Frank, however, looks down on her and her inability to control her emotions. He really only keeps her around because he can use her military skills. The story focuses on her struggle with her emotions and how detrimental they can be when you are a Punisher.
Mike Pecci and his Mortal Kombat: Legacy Ambition
Pecci wants to make a series of The Punisher episodes on the web à la Mortal Kombat: Legacy as he feels the story is too broad for a hour and a half film. I agree. Plus without the oversight of a big studio, the series could be raw and unforgiving, a reflection of its main character.
Is Marvel Scared?
Marvel allowed the two previous The Punisher short films so why does this one frighten them? Its simple: 1.) this one actually looks as though it could fit into their established universe. 2.) Pecci chose pulchritudinous lead actors, the same strategy Marvel employs. 3.) The camera work, especially the use of slow motion, looks motion picture grade. 4.) The blood and adult material says Watchmen and Rorschach to the viewer, something Marvel wants to avoid at all costs (mores the pity). 5.) The Dead Can’t Be Distracted doesn’t help Marvel make a family-friendly Punisher film when a fresh, new, better take (the short film in question) exists for free on the Internet.
Mavrel allowed Dirty Laundry because Thomas Jane already played The Punisher for them. They saw Dirty Laundry as a continuation and it heralded back to a property they own all the rights to. It advertised and increased interest in that sorry film. The Dead Can’t Be Distracted does none of that. Do Not Fall in New York City is animated film so that short film is not even a variable on Marvel’s radar.
The Dead Can’t Be Distracted Gifs:
Nick Apostolides The Dead Can’t Be Distracted
Nick Apostolides Clip The Dead Can’t Be Distracted
Evalena Marie The Dead Can’t Be Distracted
Weapons The Dead Can’t Be Distracted
9mm The Dead Can’t Be Distracted
Do you want to see The Dead Can’t Be Distracted?
Write to Marvel. Tell them that you want to see this film. Tell them you want to see our Punisher on the small screen.
Watch The Dead Can’t Be Distracted short film teaser trailer and leave your thoughts on it below in the comments section. For more The Punisher photos, videos, and information, visit our The Punisher Page, subscribe to us by Email, “follow” us on Twitter, Tumblr, or “like” us on Facebook.