In May, CBR debuted a teaser for the impressive Punisher fan-made film “The Dead Can’t Be Distracted,” based on Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s acclaimed run on Marvel Comics’ “Punisher.” Filmmaker Mike Pecci has updated fans about the status of the film on his personal website, and the news isn’t good for those expecting the film to see the light of day. Marvel has sent Pecci a cease-and-desist letter, demanding that Pecci “immediately stop [the] unauthorized use, advertising, sale and/or distribution of any production of The Punisher or any other Marvel character-based films.”
“According to Marvel it would ‘confuse the audience’ into believing that it’s an official Marvel production,” Pecci said of his fan film. “At first, I was flattered that the quality of our work might even compare to the millions they spend on production and advertising, but then the reality of it all set in. Marvel legal was demanding that I don”t release the film! Since when does Marvel go after fan films? Wasn”t there a recent and heavily promoted Punisher fan film with Thomas Jane? What could I do about this?”
In response to Marvel’s cease-and-desist, Pecci goes deep into his thought process and preparation for making “The Dead Can’t Be Distracted,” highlighting his love of the source material, his influences, goes into the process of shooting and promoting the film and explores the overarching question of whether fan films — a form of fan fiction — are actually “okay.”
The actions he took after receiving the cease-and-desist are perhaps one of the post’s most interesting aspects — after getting no response from Marvel’s legal representative for an offer to show the team at Marvel the film, he communicated with both Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto and got positive feedback from both. Now, he’s hoping the fans’ desire to see the film will help his love letter to Punisher get some kind of release. Moreover, he’d like the opportunity to pitch Marvel a Punisher-themed series of shorts.
“What would you do when staring at a letter from one of the biggest, wealthiest companies in the movie business? They can put me out of business with the snap of their fingers,” Pecci said. “Do I have a beef with Marvel? Absolutely not. I think they have become so huge and that my film is lost in the belly of the corporate beast. I want the right people at Marvel to see this film, to rescue our film, and to hopefully be inspired by my love for this character. … Write to Marvel. Tell them that you want to see this film. Tell them you want to see our Punisher on the small screen.”