Today we’re speaking with Kevin Chamberlin and Sam Kite, the creators of the viral TikTok sensation, I Wanna Be In A Marvel Movie. In this interview, Kevin and Sam dive deep into the making of the TikTok and how they began working together.
Kevin Chamberlin is an American actor and singer known for his roles in The Prom, Die Hard With A Vengeance, and Road To Perdition. Using his musical theater composer skills, Kevin took to writing his own original songs for TikTok and has established a following of 5.3 million in seven months. He played Chef Gusteau in “Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical”, which was eligible for nine Emmys.
Sam Kite is a Los Angeles based writer, director, and producer. He has produced feature films, short films, and new media content that has been programmed in premiere film festivals such as Outfest, Newfest, and Frameline, and many more. Sam and Kevin’s latest project “I Wanna Be in a Marvel Movie” is a love letter to the superhero cinematic genre, as well as the classic musical theater “I want” song trope. We hope you enjoy this interview!
So, you want to be in a Marvel movie – what’s your ideal Marvel role and why?
Kevin: The song is a tribute to all of the great character actor roles in the Marvel Movie Universe. Marvel’s comic book characters are so beautifully written- it’s difficult to pick one.
I’ve touched on a few of them in the video – but one of my favorites is “Kingpin”. He is a complex supervillain with a dash of panache, – scary, seductive and volatile with a touching backstory, Kingpin is a formidable villain with a clever bag of tricks up his sleeve. And who doesn’t look good in a white tuxedo jacket? I also relate to The Thing. The Fantastic Four was one of my favorite comics when I was a kid.
You brought a unique approach to “I Wanna Be In A Marvel Movie.” Can you take us behind one or two of your favorite character moments in the video? Tell us more about your process and how you decide the right way to approach them.
Kevin: We worked very hard on the transitions between all of the characters, making each one as specific and recognizable as possible. I am a proud alumni of Rutgers where I got a BFA in Acting and studied Sandford Meisner’s acting technique. He defined acting as “being truthful under imaginary circumstances” and where else can you have a blast using your imagination than with the characters from the MCU. The song is a tribute to the unsung character roles as well as the lead villains and heroes – but the classic “tear your shirt off and become a mutant” bit is my favorite. And I definitely have a “cranky boss” just below the surface that’s very easy to tap into.
You played Chef Gusteau in Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical – what was your experience working on that?
Kevin: It was truly one of the most unique theatrical experiences that I’ve ever been a part of. The speed at which the whole thing came together just boggles the mind. I wrote the song “Anyone Can Cook,” in about 40 minutes, filmed it, posted it to TikTok and within a day – I was being interviewed by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and CBS This Morning. It was a testament to how hungry we all were for some musical theater during lockdown – not to mention that it was the first “crowd-sourced musical” ever written. Within two weeks, my song was orchestrated and I was filming it with my collaborator Sam Kite in his kitchen the night before Christmas Eve. And when it streamed on New Years Day – the thrill of raising over 2 million for The Actors Fund and how it was embraced by friends, family and colleagues around the world… It was a bright light at the end of a very dark year. It was a first in so many ways – for all of us. I’m proud of my song, I’m proud of my collaborators and I’m hoping that it gets a concert at The Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall! I’m just putting it out there!
How did you and Kevin get connected?
Sam: Kevin and I met while he was in The Addams Family on broadway. We had some mutual friends and ended up just really geling and had a similar sense of humor. We had been looking for a chance to collaborate on a project, and since I did a lot of strategy and creative conception for brands on social, I figured I could do the same for him, so I suggested he join TikTok and it just kind of blew up overnight.
This was shot entirely on a green screen – what were the challenges associated with that?
Sam: The green screen studio we used was pretty well set up. There were a ton of lights and sound playback. So honestly, the most challenging part was all of the costume changes, and syncing up his actions with the song. The breakaway where he rips his hair piece and shirt took us a lot of takes, so many we had basically destroyed that poor shirt, and luckily the absolute last take we could get was the perfect one.
You’re a huge Marvel fan – who is your favorite character included in the video?
Sam: I purposefully wanted to do a ton of references through our transitions, from the Ant Man shrinking to the Guardians of the Galaxy ship, but my personal fav will always be the X-Men, so Kevin’s mutant transform is my favorite reference we did in the piece.