Talking with Damien Chinappi the Batman in all three episodes of the fan film ‘Knightmare’

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What is a Batman movie without a Batman?  Although Jordon Foss said that the original actor chosen to play the Dark Knight backed out because his heart wasn’t into making a fan film, another was found that really rocked this role.  This was Damien Chinappi.

He seemed a natural for this role. 

And when the third installment of “Knightmare” releases,  he will have played Batman three times in the “Knightmare” series. 

Damien Chinappi agreed to this interview upon the release of the official trailer of  “Knightmare: A Man or Bat.”

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Now we are talking about fan-flicks.  The one I am particularly interested in is one in which you had appeared as Batman.  It evidently was a series called the “Knightmare.”  How did you get involved in this, and how did you land the lead as Batman?

A friend of mine tagged me in an audition posting about a Batman fan film back in November 2016.  I was skeptical but ended up going.  I woke up the next day with a text from one of the producers congratulating me.

This must have come as a surprise to you.  Did you see yourself as Batman?

Always.  I grew up loving everything Batman; the comics, action figures, movies and especially the animated series.  In a way, I had been training for this role since I was a little boy.

Then you must have been stoked.  You had spent a lifetime for this role, and you were awakened to find you had been cast.  What did you do to prepare to become Batman for Knightmare?  Was there any one thing that you did?

Stoked is an understatement.  It was and still is a literal dream-come-true.   I did all the normal stuff to prepare, script analysis, exploration of Bruce Wayne’s past, as well as catching up on some of the classic comics … The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke.

The director, Jordon Foss, and I had several discussions on how we wanted Batman to look and we ultimately decided we wanted him to be big.  So I went on a mini-bulk and got up to 220 lbs.  A lot of food and a lot of lifting.  It turned out to be the largest I have ever been

Yes, you looked the part.  And a big part of this was the costume.  Who was in charge of the wardrobe for this production? And what was it liked to be fitted for this costume?

Thanks, David.  So Jordon was in charge of final decisions and we used two people.   The blue and grey suit parts of it were made by a costumer named Drew Hart.  We also ordered some armor which we painted to get the look we wanted.    The final suit at the end was made by Rashaad Santiago who won season six of the Sci-Fi channels Face-Off show.  Getting fitted was a bit of trial by fire.  For all of the blue cowl is extremely difficult to get on.  Not only is it hard to hear but vision is extremely restricted.  The suit over-all is confining but certainly rounds out the character.  It takes some time but I developed fluency within the suits rigidity that really defined the character for me.

Can you remember what your first reaction was when you saw yourself fully outfitted as Batman?

I looked in the mirror and my internal dialogue completely silenced.  I had this strange inner calm and the only thing that went through my mind was … “I am Batman.” But more plainly put, overwhelming excitement.

 

I can imagine.  Let’s digress for a moment. Before this role, how long had you been acting?  And in what other roles may we have seen you?

Before “Knightmare” I had been acting for about 2 years.  I worked on mostly student films and a few short independent productions.  I also worked on a really cool pilot about Fugitive Recovery agents in Boston called ‘Can’t Go Home.”

Okay, so this was a big role for you.  And a departure from what you had done to date. Do you feel it launched your career?

Absolutely! It literally changed the arc of my career.  I met my current manager, Bennie Taylor on set as well as Harley Wallen and Nancy Oeswein,  both of whom I have worked with twice on ‘Betrayed” and “Eternal Code.”  I love my Michigan film family!

Now should we point out at this point that Michigan is not your home?  You, in fact, live in Massachusetts?  Is this correct?

Correct.

Where, that being the case, I am certain your Michigan film family embraces you nonetheless the same as one of their own.  Do you presently act out in Massachusetts?

Most certainly and the feeling is mutual.  Nothing but good memories from Michigan.  I do.

Now, Knightmare was originally produced here in Michigan.  But the following two episodes, according to Jordon were produced in LA.  How do you find working in these three locales?  Is there much to compare?

That’s correct. They were all amazing.  The opening fight sequence was shot at the Packard plant three nights in a row.  It was by far the most difficult shoot; it was -15 degrees with the wind chill.  I just so happen to love the cold, plus there’s something about Batman in the snow that feels right.

LA also had some really incredible sets; I really have to tip my cap to Jordon.  For “Knightmare” we shot downtown and for the new episodes, we mostly shot in-studio.

Now, after Knightmare wrapped,  what was the next episode entitled?  How much time lapsed between episodes?   And in this second episode how much do we see you?

In the second episode, “Killing Joker” happens before “Knightmare”, we see how Batman loses another Robin and how it ultimately changes him to be darker and colder.  I appear in the post-credit scene.

The third episode is about done.  When does it release?  And from it what can we expect?

The release date isn’t finalized but I’d say you’ll see “Man or Bat” within the next few months.  You can expect the most action from any of the episodes so stay tuned.

So, on this let’s wrap.  We have been talking with Damien Chinappi who has appeared in all three episodes of Jordon Foss’ “Knightmare” as Batman. Watch for the third episode to drop soon.

To connect with Damien Chinappi on FacebookDamien Chinappi on Facebook
Damien Chinappi IMDb page.

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