Monarch-made mini-epic launches online this winter.
By Jazmine Sanchez, Staff Writer
The web series “Chosen” premieres later this year and is directed and adapted by 34-year-old theater major Jason Blanco. It started in the early 2000s when his partner, Garon Cockrell, who wrote a series of short fantasy stories called “Darkest Hours.” Garon shared the story about a character named Damian, a demonic half-breed locked in battle with his older brother.
After noticing the prevalence and growing popularity of web series, Blanco took on the job this summer to direct his vision of “Darkest Hours.” The first season spans nine episodes, giving a modern twist on the original work. His version will be titled “Chosen.”
“ ‘Chosen’ is about a group of characters who were selected by the universe in one form or another to be extraordinary and keep the balance against demons,” Blanco said. “I took Garon’s characters and put them more into a spiritual, magical, religious theme.”
In the series, Damian and Valentine are brothers and sons of the Devil. Not wanting to follow in their footsteps, Damian decides to go against their evil ways and protect humanity. While angels are never allowed to set foot on earth or interact with humans, “fallen angels” are. Because of these rules, the universe has created a group of chosen humans to counteract the demons who prey upon the defenseless. Damian allies himself with these humans blessed with special abilities, they are humanity’s last hope against the forces of Damian’s father.
Damian, the main character, is played by 27-year-old psychology and theater arts major Douglas Bruner. As the youngest child to the Devil, who abandoned him, Damian is also the brother of Valentine, who revels in torturing him. This has dealt a terrible blow to his marriage. He has lived a life made bittersweet by the taste of immortality.
Female lead Eve is played by 26-year-old Musical Theater major Katherine Arevalo, who enjoys playing an empowering female character.
“She really marches to her own drum and doesn’t take no for an answer,” Arevalo said. “She’s a character to look after because she can really surprise you.”
It’s a 13-member cast, not including extras. Rehearsals began the last week of August. Filming, which officially began in September, counted the actors’ homes and Valley’s own Campus Center among its many locations and lasted six weeks straight. The crew was made up of Valley film students, friends, and volunteers.
Blanco says the hardest part was scheduling.
“Everybody has a life, which is great,” he said. “People have to work and make money, so it was hard to get the cast and crew all to align and say that they were available to shoot.”
The budget for the series came from Blanco’s own funds. He compensates his actors by providing them with meals. The first episode is to be released in mid-to-late November. The series will be viewable on YouTube and a preview will be available on the show’s website. Blanco hopes that through social media it will one day garner the attention of film festivals.
Information on the show can be found on chosentheseries.com, their Facebook page under “Chosen: A Web Series,” Twitter under “Chosen the Series,” and Instagram under “Chosen the Series.” Follow-up seasons are in the works. The original text by Cockrell is currently being edited for digital publishing.