'Street Fighter: Resurrection' Writer/Director Joey Ansah: "I Live For This Sh*t"

Street Fighter: Resurrection debuts exclusively on go90 this March 15.
Street Fighter: Resurrection debuts exclusively on go90 this March 15. (c) Capcom

Street Fighter fan and director/actor/writer Joey Ansah ( The Bourne Ultimatum, Snow White and the Huntsman) brought Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist to the eyes of over 17 million fans, so it’s no surprise that when Capcom expressed interest in a sequel and Machinima offered to fund it, Ansah leapt at the opportunity. It couldn’t be better timed, either: Street Fighter V just came out last month, giving Ansah plenty of fuel for his new sequel miniseries, Street Fighter: Resurrection.

Naturally, Ansah drew from the events leading up to Street Fighter V, centering around Charlie Nash in preparation for Street Fighter: Resurrection.

“Nash is a character who is back from the dead. He’s been absent from the Street Fighter game series for many many many years, and now he’s back,” Ansah told iDigitalTimes “But he’s not quite the same. He’s clearly had skin grafts, and those skin grafts look like they’re necrotic and dying, and he’s got this gem on his head which reeks of the Illuminati.”

Changed and driven, a walking dead man: instantly the Winter Soldier from the Captain America movies comes to mind.

“There’s a degree of brainwashing and conditioning Nash has gone under but he is still free-thinking,” Ansah said.

While parallels are there, Nash needs a certain level of free will and free thought in order for Street Fighter: Resurrection to really explore the idea of the antihero, something Ansah finds irresistibly compelling.

“We’ve all got a black dog in us,” Ansah said. “It’s been a society taboo to really present characters that are embracing their black dog as a hero.”

Like a Wild West outlaw, Nash is a force of nature, a man to root for and to fear at the same time. That unsanitized complexity is something Ansah strove to present.

“I don’t like spoon-feeding to the audience: here is your villain and I’m going to engineer you to not like him, and here is your good guy who I’m going to engineer you to like by shooting him in a glamorous way and only having him do nice, applaudable things,” said Ansah. “I would rather just show you characters, understand their motivations. And then you’re left to make your own decision on whether you get down with this person or not.”

The success of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist paved the way for Street Fighter: Resurrection , especially when it came to the money.

“I don’t think there would have been any other party that would have moved as quickly as Machinima did, so you have them to thank for this show coming about as quickly as it has,” Ansah said. “When they were aware that there was interest from Capcom and us doing something else and we needed to pull it together... they stepped up very quickly.”

Machinima’s full financing meant Ansah could concentrate on just “making the thing,” but that’s not to say that the process of creating Street Fighter: Resurrection was simple and stress-free. Ansah credits the overwhelming passion of a writer-director as the key.

“You need someone with a vision who’s belligerent and won’t quit to fight until it gets through. The system is not designed for the Ryan Reynolds and the Deadpool type stories, or me with Street Fighter to work. Believe me. There is every barrier possible,” said Ansah.

But if sheer willpower can leap over barriers, Street Fighter: Resurrection is a soaring effort.

“I directed it, I wrote it, I’m one of the producers on it, and I choreographed it, I designed all the action myself,” Ansah said. “And I’m hands-on training the actors as well, which is very time consuming. It’s not easy. You have to sacrifice.”

Filmmaking is like going to war, emphasizes Ansah: it’s all-consuming.

“This has been six months of my life, seven days a week. And that’s what it takes.” Ansah said, describing the process in terms of giving birth, from conception to delivery. “This is a singular vision: from the music to the cinematography to the action to the acting to the dialogue to the pacing of it.”.

As for the direction of Street Fighter: Resurrection , Ansah was eager to show a more “urban and contemporary” take on the Street Fighter mythos.

“Because Assassin's Fist is a period piece: you’re either in the 50s or you’re in the 80s and it’s all set largely in the Japanese wilderness. So I didn’t want to just give people more of the same, a short, doubling-up retelling of Assassins Fist ,” says Ansah.

For that reason, Resurrection promises to tackle some of the narrative questions thrown up by Street Fighter V , which came out just last month. And it’ll be in a clean, modern world, not the romantic wilderness of Assassin’s Fist. As an example, Ansah cites Ken: 10 years later, Ken’s back in America with a wife and business, the keys to his father’s empire, a martial arts studio and students of his own. How does that new world work?

“I think some people will take a little bit of adjustment,” said Ansah. “I guarantee once they watch it, they’re gonna say, ‘I didn’t know whether this would work, but fuck me, this is really compelling.’”

As for Street Fighter V , Ansah’s not had the time to play it amidst the brutal schedule for creating Resurrection. He did, however, get the opportunity to play it a bit at Capcom’s launch event.

“Every new incarnation takes a little getting used to. Street Fighter V feels like a cross between the original Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior and 4 , I guess,” Ansah said “It’s initially a bit slower than 4 , you can’t chain combos, so it’s different - so there is a teething process of recalibrating your playstyle to use the new mechanics. I had that same teething issue with 4 but then I fell in love with it.

“The gameplay of it is very solid and robust, so I just need to put in the hours to really get acquainted with it,” he continues. “But I like what I saw and I like the way it’ll continue to expand with free DLC as it goes on. It’s a game that’ll evolve as time goes on.”

Next on the plate for Ansah is Street Fighter: World Warrior , which he sees as “a fusion of urban set stuff -- intelligence agency set stuff -- and also the wilderness, more traditional martial arts film type stuff.” For this reason, experimenting with filmmaking techniques in both Assassin’s Fist and Resurrection is “important R&D for myself for the continuing cinematic development of Street Fighter, ” said Ansah.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Resurrection is a four-episode live-action miniseries and launches today, exclusively on go90. Watch a clip from the first episode below:

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