By now, you’ve probably already seen the trailer of The Umbrella Academy, Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of the comic book series of the same name.
Former My Chemical Romance lead vocalist Gerard Way and comic book artist Gabriel Bá developed The Umbrella Academy back in 2007, earning a following through the comic book’s familiar-yet-different premise. Think: the complexity of X-Men with the packaging of The Incredibles, written by the guy responsible for your mid-’00s emo phase.
At the Netflix See What’s Next event in Singapore last November, actors Robert Sheehan and David Castaneda, who play Klaus and Diego Hargreeves respectively, filled us in on what it was like bringing the series to life.
On Gerard Way’s involvement
David recalled how Gerard was there to watch the cast during production, saying that he was “very nice.” Robert adds, “[He was] delightfully enthusiastic during the read through as well. He said ‘Great! You’re doing really well,’ and that was like catnip to us.”
On the series staying true to the book
The story jumps off from a peculiar day in 1989, when 43 women give birth at the same time, though they showed no signs of pregnancy the day before. Eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves adopts seven of these children (who, in true superhero fashion, happen to have powers), creating The Umbrella Academy and training them to save the world.
This plan backfires, with the childrens’ divergent personalities causing them all to have a falling out. Of the seven, we meet Lucas (Tom Hopper), Diego (David Castaneda), Allison (Emmy Raver Lampman), Vanya (Ellen Page), Klaus (Robert Sheehan), and Number Five (Aidan Gallagher), who find themselves back together upon hearing the news of their father’s death.
According to Robert, the show of course had to somewhat deviate from the comic due to the difficulty of fitting all the source material into 10 hours of T.V. “Tonally, it’s really strong. It grabs you [from] page one and sort of declares itself, so the show is very faithful to the graphic novel in that respect.”