A guy walks into the emergency room with a knife in his head – right behind his eye – and “Angel of Death” was born. Writer/creator Ed Brubaker was watching a PBS video of the real-life ER scene on YouTube, saw the doctors cut a piece of the man’s skull out to remove the knife, and immediately called up his wife’s cousin — a surgeon — to ask “Would most doctors know what to do in this situation?”
“Almost no one has ever dealt with this,” Brubaker said. “But you don’t leave a knife in somebody. It’s not brain surgery. Well, it is, but basically you put the person down and keep them stable and very slowly and hopefully smoothly pull it out. A handful of cases will be fine, they’ll be completely normal or just have the occasional seizure. But others bleed to death immediately. Pulling the knife out can kill them.”
Just watching that documentary – the visual image alone of somebody standing there with a hilt of a blade in their head, with blood trickling out – “screamed out for a crime story,” Brubaker said.
So Brubaker came up with “Angel of Death,” a new live action webisode series to premiere next year, starring actress/stuntwoman Zoe Bell (“Grindhouse”), in which an assassin named Eve suffers the same sort of head injury, only to have it affect her mind. “Before the injury, death had no impact on her,” Brubaker said. “She was a semi-sociopath. But she starts having these nightmares and she’s haunted by the things she’s done, and her whole history starts collapsing on top of her. And it drives her to the brink, so she turns on the people she’d been working for.” Depending on how you look at it, he said, “she starts growing a conscience, or losing her mind.”
Other characters to round out the story include the mob doctor she goes to for treatment, the organized crime-businessmen she works for (loosely based on the mob in Chicago), her supervisor, and the guy she’s supposed to be training when “everything goes off the rails.”
It won’t be quite as violent as, say, “Kill Bill,” but it’s a “pretty brutal story,” he said. “With ‘La Femme Nikita, you had a messed-up character turned into an assassin,” he said. “Most of the time you see the inverse of this story – a good person starts killing and they lose their moral standing. But what if you were used to doing horrible things and one day, it’s like someone flicked a switch, and your humanity got turned on. How would you react? And if your job is to be a paid killer, this isn’t a good thing. It’s a curse.”
The 10-episode story will play out in 8-10 minute installments, “so basically you’re getting a 90-100 minute movie,” he said. Once filming starts in September, they’ll film beyond what will be online so it can also play smoothly as a full-length movie, to be released later on DVD.
“We don’t even need to hire stunt doubles, because Zoe can make a brutal fight scene look cool on screen,” Brubaker said. “People are going to realize Zoe Bell is New Zealand’s answer to Michelle Yeoh.”
Are you intrigued by “Angel of Death”? Who would you like to see play the other characters? Will you watch it online or wait for the DVD?