If there’s one thing Adi Shankar loves, it’s sticking it to corporate overlords. The eccentric filmmaker has made a habit out of creating bootleg versions of properties owned by companies as massive as Marvel, and he hit viral paydirt with last week’s unsolicited, pitch-black revamp of Might Morphin Power Rangers. Now Shankar’s back already, hoisting a middle finger at MGM by using its marquee character, James Bond.
Unlike the Power Rangers short, which has racked up over 12 million views in under a week, James Bond: In Service Of Nothing is not a fully realized short. Instead, it is a “pre-visualization motion storyboard.” What that translates to is an animated adventure with a very Sean Connery-esque 007 in full car-gadget and Scottish brogue splendor. Well, at least until we catch up to him in retirement. That’s when things get really interesting.
Considering the blatant copyright violation, In Service Of Nothing will probably not last online very long. Last week’s Power Rangers short was yanked from YouTube by parent company Saban, but it’s back online already, following a deal with Shankar. Similarly, you can still find his 10-minute Punisher reprisal from 2012 online years later. Although the filmmaker has worked within the system before, notably as a producer for the film Dredd, his bootleg career is a testament to the power of reaching fans who will defend his infringing work’s right to exist.
“I got really, really pissed off when I dropped the Punisher thing and everyone was like, ‘Oh, this is a pitch to Marvel.’ No, fuck you. It’s not a pitch. I’m doing it to do it. I’m not doing it to get a reaction.” Shankar told Co.Create in a previous interview. “It’s always collaborative, but it’s kind of like a tree: you get to plant it exactly where you want to plant it, and then it’ll grow and become a tree. You can’t control the branches, but you’ll at least get to control where you’re planting it. I’m not a control freak, but the early nurturing phases don’t get muddled or watered down. I’m so not motivated by money—I don’t give a fuck. I got into this because this is an art form for me. That’s all it is.”