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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Erik Stoops, not to be Mythed!!!

Hello Erik! How are you? This is so exciting to talk with you! Okay, let's jump right in... Shall we? I can't wait to hear all about you and your new film The Legend of Secret Pass (2010).


ME: First, can you speak about how you got into writing for film and producing?

ERIK: I became a published author at the age of nineteen, with a field guide book under my birth name Erik Daniel Stoops called ‘Snakes and Reptiles of the Southwest' published by the Old Golden West publishers it was bestseller for its time and was printed five different times. From there I got into nonfiction children books with Sterling Publishers and then from there into animation story telling. I was fascinated with people like Dr Seuss and Walt Disney. My back ground is in zoology and I enjoy nature and animals. I see stories when watching animals and see them animated. 

ME: Wow! You're a real life Peter Pan! LOL! Can you speak The Legend of Secret Pass? What is it about? What inspired you to write this story?

ERIK: Rooted in Native American folklore tends to be overly earnest affairs, given to patronizing anyone outside the Indian nation with solemn eco-messages broadcast from the spiritual high ground. But while there's no shortage of mystical mumbo-jumbo in this tale based on the myth of the shape-shifting Thunderbirds, it's a refreshingly lively and contemporary affair. Even the chief villain wears jeans.

Manu (Muniz) is a headstrong teen who spends most of his time racing his truck around the roads and canyons surrounding the desert home he shares with his grandfather (Graham Greene, whose participation in any film involving American Indians is apparently mandatory), his distractingly foxy aunt (Curb Your Enthusiasm's Hines) and his sparkly cousin Nica. What the character Manu doesn't know is that he is the latest in a line of ‘guardians' who maintain the relationship between humankind and Mother Nature. Naturally, with great responsibility comes a smattering of power.

Manu discovers that not only can he talk to the animals, but he can influence the elements and transform himself into a bird. Yet while Manu's parents died for the cause, his evil uncle Calabar (Michael Chiklis) has returned from exile and intends to use his power to rule over the natural world. Grandpa has no choice but to reveal the boy's legacy. And as the next guardian, only he has the power to stop Calabar. Of course, no animated quest is complete without a little non- human assistance, and Manu is duly accompanied by a brash lizard (Joe Pantoliano), a giddy lamb, a wise old turtle, a fat pigeon and a hapless chameleon clearly descended from the same evolutionary tree as the acorn-chasing Scrat from Ice Age. On the side of darkness we have Ron ‘Hellboy' Pearlman as Parker, one of Calabar's hench-warthogs.


ME: Wow! Erik, you rock! Listening to you speak about your film could be a film on its own! You just go on a journey when you speak! LOL! I study mythology all the time so this story from the beginning has captured my interest. Can you tell us about the making of this story into animation?

ERIK:  The making of ‘Legend' was very cool. Despite various plot points being as clear as smoke signals on a windy day, director Steve Trenbirth strikes a nice balance between subtlety, slapstick and swoop. It doesn't completely let him off the hook for The Jungle Book 2, but if you like your stories told with color and energy, The Legend Of Secret Pass is an opportunity not to be ‘mythed'.

ME: LMAO!!! I'm dying! You are so funny! Hear that everyone??? The Legend of Secret Pass is not to be ‘mythed'!!! Erik, what would you like to say with this film? What would you like audiences to take away from it after seeing it and how do you hope it will be received on domestic and international level?

ERIK: There is a level of spirituality to this film similar to such films as the Lion King. The audience feels good and inspired after seeing this film, especially as the film is about family hopes and dreams.

ME: Can you tell us where it was filmed it and if you have any stories while filming, if you were on set?

ERIK: We set up a virtual studio so our crew could work around the clock in locations of Burbank Canada and Australia.

ME: What are your plans next? You have so many projects going on!!!

ERIK: I have a Christmas project called the ‘Forgotten Ornament' based on a new children's book I just published and changing gears I have a project and graphic novel we are currently starting to work on called Serpentauria (2011/12) which will be a very popular political thriller live action piece, once produced I am interested in commercial branding of projects.

ME: Yes, Serpentauria, the SSS!!! Erik, what would you say to new screenwriters worldwide?
Can you tell people about how you do it?

ERIK: Work as a team and write would you love and know.

ME: Awesome!!! Erik, you're the best. Love to get a peek inside that creative head of yours. It's such a pleasure. And now I'm off to read more by the prolific, not to be ‘mythed', writer Erik Stoops. Look out for this about to explode into cinema wonder writer/producer, all! He's a force to be reckoned myth!!! :-) lol! Big hug to you, Erik. Talk to you soon!

Visit this site for more about Legend of Secret Pass.


and more about Erik the author here:



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