Interview : Rachel Rhee

If you’ve been away from the Internet for six months, you may not have heard of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, an internet musical written by Joss Whedon, his brothers Jed and Zack and Maurissa Tancharoen. The 45 minute feature stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day, and was a smash hit from the moment it hit the internet on July 15, 2008. It crashed servers, hit the front page of websites including the LA Times, MSN, Google and Time Magazine, and jumped to the number one spot on iTunes within 24 hours of its release.

In September Rachel Rhee was appointed as the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Project Manager to help cope with the unexpected and overwhelming response from fans, businesses and the media. I spoke to her this week to find out how things have been going.

Question: Rachel, you were recently added to the Dr. Horrible team as Project Manager, how did you get involved?

Rachel Rhee: I happen to know Jed and Maurissa’s agent and he let me know that they were in need of someone to help manage all things Dr. Horrible. I’m sure after Comic Con, fan mail, press requests, etc. they felt a little overwhelmed! I went into interview with Jed and Maurissa and for some crazy reason they thought I could handle it. And here we are in the middle of an interview!

Question: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was released on iTunes in Australia and the UK recently, dcfare there any other international stores you’re working with?

Rhee: That is something we are definitely looking into. We’re always looking to expand into other markets, so nothing is ever ruled out.

Question: Can you tell us why it took so long for Dr. Horrible to become available outside the USA?

Rhee: There really isn’t any good answer to this question, other than these things take time. If it were up to me, it would have been up on the same day it came out in the US! What’s important now though is that a lot of the international fans can finally get a taste of just how horrible the Dr. really is.

Question: The soundtrack has been released via a number of services in addition to iTunes including Amazon and Napster, was this always planned or was it arranged in response to fan demand after the iTunes release?

Rhee: Nothing was ever planned. No one had any clue that Dr. Horrible would be the #1 show on iTunes for several consecutive weeks. So in response to the demand, we put ourselves on Amazon, Napster, and we are pending with Rhapsody, and several other music stores.

Question: Will the soundtrack be released on CD?

Rhee: Yes, it will! Like the DVD, it will definitely be out in time for the holidays.

Question: Will there be any additional content on the Soundtrack CD release?

Rhee: The CD booklet has some really cool graphics that include behind the scenes pictures. Hopefully the fans will enjoy it!

Question: Is there an estimated DVD release date yet?

Rhee: The DVD will definitely be released in time for the holidays. We’ll be taking pre orders for this very, very soon. Keep your eyes open for it…

Question:
Have you been pleased with the applications you’ve seen for the Evil League of Evil?

Rhee: Beyond pleased. Amazed, actually. The level of creativity that Dr. Horrible fans have is astounding. We’ve all been sifting through the hundreds of applications that were submitted and it is definitely tough trying to pick out the favorites.

I keep an eye out on the Whedonesque message board to see what fans are saying and I’ve read that a lot of people are feeling like their applications might not get selected because they are not getting written up about by some of the press the ELE has received. I just want to reassure everyone out there that every, single application is being reviewed. If you submitted to us before the deadline, it will definitely get seen by the Dr. Horrible Team.

Question: In addition to the best 10 Evil League of Evil entries, we know there will be a regular and a musical commentary track on the DVD, are there any other special features you can tell us about or will that be kept as a surprise until the release announcement? Will there be any Easter Eggs?

Rhee: The actual content on the DVD is going to be a surprise, so unfortunately I can’t reveal too much. We’re in the final stages of putting it all together and I definitely believe the fans will fall in love with Horrible all over again. The release date is coming up so we’re all very excited to see the response!

Question: A lot of people are interested in public performances of Dr. Horrible either in the form of screenings or live productions, is it going to be possible for people to be granted permission to do this? What will be involved in receiving permission?

Rhee: It is definitely going to be possible for people to hold screenings or live adaptations of Dr. Horrible. On Halloween, there is actually going to be a charity screening of it at the Fairfax Regency here in LA. We’re actively collecting requests and are reviewing them one by one. If you are interested in creating some sort of event involving Dr. Horrible, feel free to pass that information along to the DoctorHorrible.net webmaster, and she’ll make sure to get it through to us.

Question:
Initial response to Dr. Horrible was obviously overwhelming, how are things looking several months on?

Rhee: Still overwhelming. We’re constantly getting approached by companies wanting to help expand Dr. Horrible and we’re still getting a lot of fan mail via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. The buzz is still going, especially since we just went live on international iTunes not too long ago. Less than 24 hours after we went live, we were already the #1 TV program on iTunes in the UK and Australia. Insane!

Question: Is there anything else brewing that you’d like to tell us about?

Rhee: Not anything that I can share at the moment. Sorry to be so vague!

- ELLYSSA HARRIS