Greeks Gone West: Meet Vlas and Charley Parlapanides, the Greek brothers from New Jersey who wrote "Immortals"

17 January 2018

Vlassis and Charley Parlapanides are the screenwriters behind the 2011 film "Immortals," which tells the story of a mortal hero who enlists the Gods for help against a vicious tyrant. Based loosely on several Greek myths, the film was directed by Tarsem Singh, who also made The Cell and The Fall.

These days they are working on a military thriller with the writer/producer team who made "American Sniper."

The brothers have been in the film business for many years, and worked with Universal, Warner Brothers, Columbia and Paramount. They were raised in New Jersey but now live in California.

In their own words...

On art:
"El Greco said that art is the depiction of God so we can all see a piece of ourselves. If you succeed as an artist, writer or director to capture a piece of the human condition or a piece of God in a way we can all see it and take away a new understanding , that’s a beautiful thing."

On immigration:
"Both sides of our family were Greek immigrants who left Smyrna to go to Patras. Our father’s side of the family used to say that we can be poor immigrants in Greece or poor immigrants in America. Having the mentality of the immigrant, our parents gave great importance on education. They wanted us to become better."

On the idea behind "Immortals:"
"What we really wanted was to write was the script for a film on Greek mythology. Everyone said that this was crazy, because Warner was already preparing the “Clash of the Titans,” Universal had the “God of War,” but we said no, we will write it. We had the idea of someone trying to release the Titans from Mount Tartarus. It was a wonderful, vital idea. The idea was Charlie’s."

On how can Hollywood bring productions to Greece:
"What is important when Hollywood is looking locations is the rebate. "Immortals" was filmed in Canada, where there is a rebate. If a production spends $100 million in Canada, then the Canadian Government gives the studio $30 million back. So for the studio the cost is $70 million while the production value is $100 million. For Canada it’s an influx of money, therefore it is in their interest to attract productions. If Greece does not create such a production rebate, Hollywood will be resistant. And obviously now they do not have the cash, so it’s a very difficult situation."

On the nature of their work:
"Part of this work is that you must stay in the game. You cannot let the hits take you down. If you fall down, you must get up. If you get dropped off a cliff, you must hold on with your little finger and find a way to get back up."

Catch their interview here: 

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