‘The Delivery’ Graphic Novel: Rob Gunnerson’s dream made into a reality

The creative process is fun and I remember when I first met Rob Gunnerson at a film festival, it was the start of a lot of fun that has slowly trickled in over the years. I was performing a firewhip demonstration for the World Stunt Association and he and Twilight actor Peter Facinelli were watching. A few years later they invited me to Los Angeles to help make a pitch trailer for an interesting story Gunnerson had been thinking about since he was a little kid. We were all kind of the same age, so we had grown up with a love of certain types of movies. We had a lot of fun putting Rob’s vision into a short two-minute trailer introducing the main objectives of the story. Peter was producing and using his considerable fame to draw studios to the project with Real D 3D as a partner. In the back ground was Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics supporting the project so it was exciting. We captured some wonderful images and had a lot of fun. But as I’m mentioned before, it is hard to get things off the ground in today’s Hollywood, even for seasoned veterans and popular pop culture personalities with millions of Facebook contacts. To get the money men to line up to fund projects now requires more than even Peter was able to assemble leaving Gunnerson to turn toward a new direction to get his project the attention that producers now require to put up the kind of money it takes nowadays to make a motion picture. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW. The three primaries on the project, Rob, Peter, and Dave Stewart turned toward a graphic novel version of their story which comes out in April of 2015 to tell their complicated, dynamic story about Angels, Demons and The Last Hour before both try to destroy Mankind. Listen to them talk about the project below.

I fell in love with Gunnerson’s vision because of the actions of his protagonist Brother U who was an Angel who uses a firewhip to perform combat. Facinelli played that character in the short and is the basis for the character in the upcoming graphic novel. I was brought in to do the firewhip work and act as a stand-in for Peter. It was a project that I have always had a lot of hope for, and still do. But it is very telling how difficult it has been for these talented guys to get their project off the ground. Needless to say, I am really looking forward to their graphic novel. Rob told me a good part of the story in my time with him, but I am really looking forward to the visual conception released in an actual printed edition. It has taken nearly 10 years since Rob and I first met at the film festival stunt show to get to this point which he talks about in the below interviews a little bit—and for the director some pieces of his puzzle fell into play during my performance which makes me happy, so I am looking forward to seeing his vision put onto a printed page finally.

The art for the graphic novel looks fantastic. We captured some really cool scenes during the trailer shoot which I’m sure Gunnerson has looked at over and over again, so there are wonderful visuals to provide a template for the artist to pull from. I have always viewed Rob’s story as a kind of modern Highlander project. If Gunnerson had been a director in Hollywood during the 1980s, The Delivery would have been made for about 10 million dollars by a major studio and would likely be a cult classic to this very day. But, in the Hollywood of today where studio executives are much more timid and the cost of a movie is much, much greater—you have to prove there’s a market for something like this before anybody will drop 50 million to 100 million into such a project for a studio release.

The journey is often an adventure in and of itself. Between shoots on the set, the producers and I had fun on Brand Blvd cracking bullwhips on the sidewalk in a part of town that was filming television shows on nearly every city block. My hotel was on the main strip down the road from the Americana shopping complex and a lot of those people had never seen a whip act in real life. Under the encouragement of the small entourage that accompanied me, I pulled out some of the big whips and cracked cigarettes out of the mouths of just casual passers-by, and curious spectators adding to the nightlife that was vibrant. Needless to say it left an impression. When I flew out of Los Angeles that time, I had the feeling I would be returning within a few months to shoot the actual movie. But the project sat around and soon months because years with still no movement. Finally, after quite a lot of time passed, Gunnerson turned toward the tools available these days—such as Kickstarter to produce the story into a graphic novel that would at least get the concept into some art that people could look at, and slowly build up a cult audience, which for something like this—is the best way to go.

I admire Rob for not giving up on his dream of bringing this story to life. He’s an accomplished director and has access to celebrity personalities, but even so, it’s a hard sell in modern Tinseltown and this idea could have died easily on the vine. But, these guys have stuck with it and are still fighting to bring this concept to an audience. If not through a movie, then through a graphic novel, which I personally will enjoy more—I love artwork like the type shown in this upcoming graphic novel and I hope it is successful for them. If they desired to step away from Hollywood there are options out there for them. But it is a tough decision. The business model of the movie business is changing before our eyes, so it’s a difficult moving target to hit. But making The Delivery into a graphic novel to bring this story to an audience more poised to enjoy it—is clearly the smart thing to do.

I am happy to have been a part of the creative process in showing in reality the kind of things that were in Rob’s mind before our meeting. Its one thing to think of something, it’s another to see it come to life. Seeing a firewhip in action obviously helped take Rob’s thought process to the next level. Now, with some footage shot to work from, artists were able to convey that over into a graphic novel with some fabulous artwork. It is the kind of artwork that I tend to treasure and know that I will enjoy immensely. It will always remind me of the time that we brought bullwhips to the streets of Hollywood and kept Burbank awake at night with fireballs and explosions that bounced off the Verdugo Mountains with the ease of unfettered sonic booms at 3 AM.

I’m looking forward to the graphic novel of The Delivery. Read more at the following link.


Rich Hoffman


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