AS Bonus: Producer Ted Hope Interview

Josh & Dean chat with Ted Hope (now with Amazon Studios), the producer of American Splendor. Hope talks about his own background in the business, the development of the film (including Dean’s key introductions), his favorite moments from the shoot, and premiering the film at Sundance. In a moving testament to authenticity in art, Hope explains why projects like American Splendor (both the film and the comics) have to exist.

Shout-outs to NYU Film School, Alex Cox and REPO MAN, Ed Burns, Hal Hartley, Todd Solondz, Ralph Nader, the New York Film Festival, Jim Jarmusch’s STRANGER THAN PARADISE, the Coen Brothers and BLOOD SIMPLE, Frances McDormand, Spike Lee, the old Cinema Studio, Ang Lee’s ICE STORM, Dylan Baker, Dan Clowes, Todd Solondz’ HAPPINESS, Chester Brown’s YUMMY FUR, Terry Zwigoff & Crumb, HBO’s Colin Callender and Maud Nadler, Glen Basner, production designer Thérèse DePrez, Gary Leib and the “super-imaginative” title sequence, Judah Friedlander, James McCaffrey, costume designer Michael Wilkinson, and Ted’s book HOPE FOR FILM.

Episode Notes

Here’s the scene page from the story Ted mentions that always comes to mind when he thinks about Harvey Pekar (from  “A Matter of Life and…”, American Splendor #11, ©1986 Harvey Pekar, with art by Val Mayerik)…

“The Path To American Splendor,” by Ted Hope

Dean Haspiel had Harvey Pekar’s wife Joyce Brabner call me. Having long wanted to make a film of Harvey and American Splendor, I optioned the material on the phone. It wasn’t so easy for Dean who struggled to get Harvey to let him work for him, and then got in a fight with Harvey when he finally called. Classic Harvey. Check out the video here.

Seth Kushner on “Remembering Harvey Pekar,” by Ted Hope

In July 2011, Ted Hope wrote a remembrance to Harvey Pekar on the one-year anniversary of his death. Here’s an excerpt and a link from his blog, Hope for Film:

Today marks the first anniversary of Harvey Pekar’s death. Very few people have had as great an influence on my life as Harvey. I was very fortunate to be able to collaborate with him and bring AMERICAN SPLENDOR to the screen. I was thrilled to be approached by Seth Kushner about his current tribute to Harvey. I offer you a glimpse of it here.

Ted Hope, as photographed by Seth Kushner.

Ted Hope showed up in American Splendor a few times…

“Payback,” Portrait of the Author in his Declining Years, ©2001 Harvey Pekar, art by Dean Haspiel.
“The American Splendor Movie,” American Splendor: Our Movie Year, ©2004 Harvey Pekar, art by Mark Zingarelli.

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