Albert Pyun Movie Collection

We locked a budget at $450,000 and schedule to shoot 11 days in Argentina in early May 2008. We wired funds down to Argentina and construction of sets, props and costumes began in earnest in late April.

Then we began to have issues crop up, one was their seem to be a lack of reasonably priced hotel rooms. We were told it was due to an incoming convention. So the budget began to balloon. I wanted to see pics of the make up effects progress, but these were difficult to get. So now I was getting nervous about the production and the budget continue to creep upward. I was frustrated that it was going to cost far more than the Left for Dead shoot just a year later which stunned me as the exchange rate was even more in our favor than when we shot LFD.

Finally, I lost a bit of confidence in shooting this in Argentina. I decided to pull the plug before we went any further. It was a tough decision because we had already sent funds to Argentina and Victoria Maurete was making good progress in her prep for the shoot. We had Christopher Lambert and Kevin Sorbo ready to travel. So it was a big deal to cancel the shoot in Argentina.

But it was really the best decision. I don’t regret it because you can’t shoot in a distant location with the issues I had. I know it was incredibly disappointing to the Argentine crew and cast, but there was really no alternative. In the end, my deepest regret was losing the opportunity to collaborate with Spanish Production Designer, Sergio Hernandez. He was designing a film with scope and artistry. SEE HIS PRODUCTION DESIGNS BELOW.

So we began a worldwide search for another shooting location and situation.


I outline for Cynthia the characters I envisioned and the broadstrokes of the story I wanted to tell. I had particular actors I wanted to work with in this so characters were shaped for Kevin Sorbo, Christopher Lambert, Yancy Butler, Leah Cairns and especially Victoria Maurette, my star from Left for Dead and Bulletface.

Cynthia begin writing in November 2007 and had a first draft by early January 2008. I sent that draft to Hernan in Argentina to see if we could still base the shoot there. He confirmed it was possible. I imagined a North African setting for the movie as I felt that lent itself to the imagery and feel of what I was seeing.

So I set about putting the stars and financing in place. I made my deal which was no monetary compensation in exchange for irrevocable final cut and total artistic control. All the movies I’ve done since 2004 have been this way. No longer about doing movies as a living but as creative statements. I found its too rough to receive pay and then see your work mangled.

We got enough raised to make offers to Kevin and Christopher and sent them the scripts. Both responded, to my joy, positively. At that point we began foreign sales to raise the bulk of the funds needed. It was tricky because we knew we could raise around $500,000 in pressales but the key was whether Argentina could fit within that number plus leave enough over for the star salaries. Victoria also reacted positively and she began training for the shoot. I can’t say enough positive things about Victoria. She is not only talented and beautiful but incredibly professional and as dedicated an artist as you’d ever find anywhere. A super high quality human.

I had hoped for 24 days of shooting but that quickly dropped to 20, then to 18, to 16 and finally 11 days. It was crushing to me. I wasn’t sure, at my age, whether I could get it all done in 11 days but that’s all we could afford even in Argentina. It was hugely ambitious.

About this time (February 2008) we began talking to distributors about coming aboard as a North American distributor and financier. I also spoke with Sony, Lions Gate and Magnolia Entertainment. All were interested. We got a firm prebuy offer from Starz/ Anchor Bay for North America. And we were championed at Starz by a very astute and wonderful Australian distributor named John Vale who ran Starz Australia. He had had success with my past films.

The package and script began going out. And everything seemed to be clicking. Funny how we can be fooled by our own optimism. This was just the only bright spot leading to 34 months of Hell.

Who could’ve seen it coming? Not me.



Tales of the making of TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE – The Genesis – 2007

November 18, 2010

Genesis – Fall 2007 Having finished Left for Dead and Bulletface, I was trying to figure out the next project. I knew I wanted to do something bigger with more mainstream chance of success. Cynthia was always pushing for a The Sword and the Sorcerer sequel. I thought that might be too big and elaborate, […]

Read the full article →

The Tale behind the making of Tales of an Ancient Empire

November 14, 2010

While I will cover all aspects in my commentary track, the making of Tales was certainly the most difficult and frustrating effort of my entire career. And that covers a great many strange and unorthodox situations. But Tales began life in November 2007 and here we are in November 2010 and its still not yet […]

Read the full article →

H. P. Lovecraft’s COOL AIR – First screen grabs

November 12, 2010

We’re preparing our adaptation of Lovecraft’s wonderfully creepy story Cool Air for release in the next few weeks so we now have some screen grabs from the movie to share with you. Albert

Read the full article →

CYBORG LEGACY storyline developing

November 10, 2010

The big issue never really addressed by Cyborg was the plague that destroyed the world. So we are delving into the backstory regarding the plague, that it creates a zombie of the infected, that Mary (Terrie Batson) was the first prophet series cyborg and she was the cyborg – “Tama Prophet”-  created to spread the […]

Read the full article →

CYBORG LEGACY Update – Nov 9

November 9, 2010

The project is developing quickly and I’ll shoot it back to back with the Tales sequel RED MOON. In the script discussions, I find I like the idea of exploring Mary’s back story. She was Van Damme’s love interest in Cyborg. I believe Terrie Batson has a ethereal quality that can support an origin story […]

Read the full article →


November 7, 2010

The movie is shaping up as an origins movie. We get to see how the whole slinger brotherhood comes about as well as their prime nemesis, the Flesh Pirates. We also delve deep into who Gibson Rickenbacker was before the world turned to shit and get to see how Fender Tremolo came to be – […]

Read the full article →

An Update…sorry to have been away!

November 6, 2010

Well, we did ship a foreign version of Tales to fulfill some contractual obligations. But Newmarket Films is acquiring the North American rights and we are finishing a different version for them which includes a completely different opening 5 minutes and a completely different final 10 minutes of the movie. At some point, I will […]

Read the full article →

TALES OF AN ANCIENT EMPIRE screening at Fright Night Film Fest

July 26, 2010

Tales is screening on Sat, July 31 at 9 p.m. The show will be followed by Q&A with director, Albert Pyun, writer, Cynthia Curnan and Director of Photography, Phillip Waters.  Please anyone in the nearby area come and join us.  We’d love to see you! We will be there on August 1 too.

Read the full article →