Comic-Con 2011: Interview with Robert Meyer Burnett

by: Austin Welch

robert-meyer-burnettWe got the scoop on Free Enterprise 2: The Wrath Of Shatner!

So the better half and I decided to check out the Indyfans panel at Comic-Con this year, after I’d missed out on chances to see it the last couple of years.  It was fun, if not very informative (not much going on in Indiana Jones’ world right now), but we were pleasantly surprised to find a ringer among the panelists, one Robert Meyer Burnett.  In addition to a host of writing, directing, and editing credits, Burnett is perhaps best known as the co-writer and director of  the 1999 film Free Enterprise.  Anyone who listens to our podcast knows that we consider this cult classic to be required viewing for anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of sci-fi/fantasy, pop/geek culture, or just plain good film in general.

So I decided to put on my reporter hat and accost Mr. Burnett after the panel, and shake him down for information, and as it turns out, he’s a super cool, chill guy who was all too glad to rap with us for a few minutes about what he was up to at Comic-Con, what it’s like to grow up a sci-fi fan who also wanted to chat up the ladies, and his various current projects.  Those projects include his semi-regular guest directing gig on the Cinemax series Femme Fatales, (created by his good friend and Free Enterprise cohort Mark A. Altman) and his work on the upcoming indie chiller My Eleventh (produced by Bryan Singer),  and the long-gestating sequel to Free Enterprise, at this point subtitled The Wrath Of Shatner.

The last we’d heard, Free Enterprise 2 had been cast, and was due to begin shooting this past spring.  Then, for a long time, we heard nothing.  So what’s going on with the film?  Is it done?  Did they get Shatner to return?  Is the rumor of Nimoy’s involvement true?  The answers to all of these questions, as well as the beginning of many new questions, can be heard in the interview below, which runs almost fifteen minutes.

One last thing before I let you move on to the interview.  Every year for the past five or so years, I’d been hearing how much fun the Starship Smackdown is.  An annual panel at Comic-Con, the raucous “what-if” bracket battle between fictional starships is hosted by its creator Altman, and invariably features his buddy Burnett, as well as a revolving cast of their friends from the television and motion picture industries.  These in-the-know gentlemen debate the various qualities of vessels suggested by the audience, adhering to house rules that somehow feel both strict and malleable (i.e. said ship must have appeared in a live-action production; no animation allowed),  and at the end, only one starcraft can be truly crowned king.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first time, and if you’re ever at a Comic-Con, I urge you to attend – but get there early!  I almost didn’t make it in to this year’s 10th anniversary event.  Next year, I plan to show up early and cast my bid for the legendary Autobot command ship The Ark.  As of this year, it counts!



2 responses to “Comic-Con 2011: Interview with Robert Meyer Burnett

  1. Was curious about where this was sitting. Glad to hear that it’s not totally off the map yet.

  2. Horace Austin

    Great interview with Burnett! And, yeah, Starship Smackdown ruled even though the SDCC staff kicked everyone out of the room promptly at 4:30 p.m.