LESLIE ANNE SHEVICK RAYMOND
(Official Web Site Producer)
- How did you end up producing the official web site for
THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- I was an employee at Disney Online and was directly responsible for
all Movie web sites for Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Walt
- How long did you work on this project?
- At least, a year and a half--we began working on it as soon as it was
given its first release date. Every time the name of the movie or the
release date changed, we'd change the teaser page on the site.
- The first title of the movie was EATERS OF THE DEAD. When hired, weren't
you surprised by the association of Disney with such a movie (and such
- Not really, as it wasn't released under the Disney Pictures label. Many
non-Disney-type movies were released by Disney under Touchstone Pictures
or Hollywood Pictures, like ARMAGEDDON, BURN HOLLYWOOD BURN, DEEP RISING,
- I know that, before Disney, Cinergi was the producer of the movie. Did
you have any contact with people from Cinergi?
- Did they consider alternate titles for the movie? I have heard about
THE VIKINGS and BATTLEGROUND...
- I only knew about the ones they asked me to register--EATERS OF THE
DEAD and THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR. Still, there was a title I remember,
that had the word "MIST" in it... like WARRIORS IN THE MIST,
or something like that.
- Do you know why they finally changed the title of the movie? Did they
decide (at one point) to focus more on Banderas?
- I believe the main reason the name changed was because they wanted the
film to be PG-13. They originally had a lot of violence in the movie,
and the first title was appropriate. I saw these early versions and there
was actually more focus on Banderas in the early versions than the final.
- Could you tell me more about these early versions?
- Sorry, this is one of those things I'm not allowed to talk about!
- Lee Anne Muldoon is credited at the end of the movie as "unit publicist"...
- The Unit Publicist works with folks from media outlets who want access
to talent on the film, and also releases info, headshots, etc, during
the actual production of the film. But I was not in contact with her.
- When exactly did the first site (www.eatersofthedead.com) officially
- I am not sure of this...
- Why was there a re-direction from www.eatersofthedead.com to
www.movies.go.com/eaters/index.html? Was there some kind of partnership
between Disney and Go Network?
- Actually, Disney owns (owned?) go.com, and they had a policy that all
Disney sites be hosted at the go.com URL, for some odd reason. Thus the
- Was there any fan-made site existing before the launch of the official
- I don't know this, sorry.
- How did the studio deal/feel with/about unauthorised photos, reports
from on-set spies and test-screenings reviews (put on Harry Knowles' Ain't-It-Cool-News
site, for example)?
- I can't answer this question. I can't speak for the studio...
- Tell me about the design of the first site itself. What was your degree
of freedom? Did you work in collaboration with other film marketing people
from Disney in setting up the way you would have to re-use or not existing
designs already created for the advertising campaign?
- We worked in a team with marketing and a few others to deploy the site.
There were several versions: each time the movie was recut, we had to
modify our files. In the end, the movie was so different from our web
site that we ended up not launching most of it!
- Did you propose concepts and designs that were not accepted?
- Were you influenced by designs produced for Michael Crichton's original
- No. I did read the book, though. I like Crichton.
- What ressources were available on the official site?
- It ended up being just a few pages, with storyline and a few photos.
- When was the first teaser put online?
- Again, I don't know this offhand.
- Was the teaser first put online on the official site or first shown
- I believe it was in theaters first.
- Who chose the video format of the teaser put online to download? According
to what criteria?
- We put the video up in several formats, standard at the time...
- There are rumors about the EATERS OF THE DEAD teaser being done by Jerry
Bruckheimer's staff at Touchstone. Can you confirm that?
- It wasn't. It was done internally, by Disney Marketing.
- I found this short synopsis on the net, allegedly taken from the first
official site: "A thrilling adventure based on Michael Crichton's
bestselling novel! When a royal emissary (Antonio Banderas) is abducted
by a band of rogue warriors, he is forced to help them repel a scourge
of mysterious invaders that consume every living thing in their path."
Does it sound familiar to you?
- That seems to be the text, yes.
- The site was redesigned around April 98. New title, new site, new URL
(www.the13thwarrior.com), new design, new ad campaign... Was Disney
encountering marketing problems with the film?
- Again, I can't speak for Disney... We updated with new release dates
or new titles, that's all. This movie was somewhat low on our priorities,
as we were working on several bigger movie web sites coming out at the
- Which were...?
- ARMAGEDDON was the biggest one.
- I have read somewhere that there was a short period when the first site
was still online, at the same time as the new site. Is this true?
- I hadn't heard that.
- Who was the (target) audience of the official site?
- We always tried to target the audience of the film.
- That is to say...?
- Essentially, teenage boys.
- Did you get some feedback from the visitors?
- Not that I recall.
- How much traffic did you get on the site, on a regular basis?
- A small amount, not much in comparison with other sites we had live
at the time.
- Did you find that there was a surge in traffic around the launch of
- There usually is an increase in traffic to the official movie sites
in the two weeks prior to and following a movie opening.
- What resources did you use to build the site?
- We used an outside company, that went bankrupt before the site was finished!
We used internal artists and html coders for the final site.
- What was your budget for the site? Do you know how much of the film's
marketing budget it was?
- I only know what it was in relation to my web site budget--and it was
reasonable, a medium sized web site in comparison to the others we were
- How many times has the website been updated?
- I have no idea--most likely, once for international web sites and once
when it went to video.
- Did the producers or the director have any input on the site?
- Yes, they approved different stages of the work on the web site.
- The official site seems to be down at this moment. But it has turned
into another (very similar and simple) official
site dedicated to the video and DVD...
- This is a rebuild of the original site for home video--once a movie
goes to home video, it is gone from the movies.com site for good.
- Did you produce this one too?
- No, I did not produce this one.
- Is this the average fate of an official site?
- Movie sites are not archived online. They are up for the run of the
film, then it goes over to the Home Video business unit and they do what
they want. It is too cost prohibitive to keep all movie sites up forever!
- Did you visit the French
official website of THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- No, but I'll take a look now!
- I have to ask, did you see the movie? How did you feel about it?
- I saw the movie several times--in each different phase of production.
The first one was hard to understand, long, and very dull in between brutal
killings. It was re-cut so many times that in the end, it didn't make
much sense! I think it suffered from being over-produced and overly changed
for a target market. Not the best that could have been produced, I'd say.
- Last but not least, have you heard anything about the professional dispute
between producer Michael Crichton and director John McTiernan?
- Anything you would want to add about your work on THE 13TH WARRIOR official
- I wish that you had seen the real official site! We worked on it for
a very long time. It had a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game, and lots of other
cool stuff that died along with the recuts of the film...
VERSION FRANCAISE :