Vlad Yudin produced the highly-anticipated “Generation Iron”, a remake of ’70s classic “Pumping Iron”, which chronicles the exciting Mr Olympia competition that made Schwarzenegger famous.
Yudin, the CEO of The Vladar Company, has a number of projects in the works; Moviehole had a chance to chat to him about the past, present and future.
When and how did your interest in remaking “Pumping Iron” come about?
I had a meeting with the producer of the original film Jerome Gary and discussed the concept of making a new project focusing on the ‘new generation’ of bodybuilders competing in the modern world. That’s a simple way of putting it…Then came months of research, development and filming that lead to the creation of ‘Generation Iron.’
Now, obviously, the film won’t be a remake per se, because it’ll tell the stories of a group of new bodybuilders. Can you tell me who the new film concentrates on? Is there a ‘new’ Schwarzenegger, in there?
Yes exactly though it’s not quite a remake; It’s a new chapter. Of course there is only one Arnold Schwarzenegger and one Lou Ferrigno etc… But the new guys are just as colorful and exciting to watch as they put everything on the line to compete for the title of Mr. Olympia. Phil Heath, who is the new champion, reminded me of Arnold a bit, because of his work ethic, determination and his recent success (claiming the ‘Mr. Olympia’ for the 2nd time). We also have Kai Greene from Brooklyn NY (birthplace of Lou Ferrigno) who is a very colorful character trying to dethrone Phil at the Olympia.
How hard do these guys train? I take it you spent a lot of the time watching them work-out? Is most of their day preoccupied with training?
The training is very intense. I don’t know how these guys do it. I felt sore just looking at them. Everyone has a slightly different style of training in addition to their diet regimen. One guy that really stood out is Branch Warren from Dallas, Texas. His workouts are really brutal… you’d have to see it to understand; but it’s important to note that one’s diet and lifestyle are just as important as training.
Is there anyone’s story in “Generation Iron” that especially touches you more than others?
A very touching story in the film is that of Victor Martinez. When we started to develop the project Victor was in jail. Just a few months prior to that, Victor was a star bodybuilder and it was after winning the Arnold Classic Europe (a very prominent bodybuilding competition) that he was arrested and thrown into jail for months. When we started filming GI, Victor had just gotten out of jail and we immediately included him in the film. His story is very dramatic as he is trying to make up for months of not training in addition to dealing with his inner demons.
Was there any attempt to try and get Schwarzenegger to make an appearance in the film?
I can’t reveal that yet. Sorry…
Hmmm…Obviously, documentaries are only one of the areas you’re involved in film-wise. Can you tell me about “Police State” and “Head Smash”?
Yes. Police State is a sci-fi thriller we are filming in New York. It’s a very intense and adventurous film full of twists and turns. It starts off as the day begins and the city is hit with a massive explosion of a skyscraper. That’s starts massive panic, more explosions and a terrorist scare… However we quickly realize that the true plot is much more sinister… The film stars great young talent Chris Riggi, Neal Blesoe and the legendary Sean Young.
Head Smash is one of our key projects this year. It’s a graphic novel that will be released this summer with Arcana Studios. We are launching our promotional campaign this spring. It’s a really cool and twisted story of revenge that takes place in a mystical city of Ares, fueled by a lot of action. We have some amazing artists working on the imagery that will be groundbreaking.
Is it difficult adapting a comic for the big screen, I take it you have to try and serve the old fans but also make it appealing for those that have never read the comic?
Yes it is. It’s a challenge. But it really comes down to a story and how people react to it. Our goal is to make Head Smash into a feature film. But right now we are fully focused on the graphic novel. We are essentially introducing a new character of Smash to the world for the very first time. That’s why we started a grass roots campaign at the New York Comic Con and the reactions from the people were amazing. I’m very excited to go to Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, Philadelphia Wizardcon and San Diego Comic Con to promote it further and bring it to the fans worldwide.
“GENERATION IRON” will be released September 2013
Photo Credit : Bobby Quillard