Rob Reger is a cool guy – good-natured and down-to-earth with a contagious laugh. He’s exactly what you would expect from a skateboard enthusiast sitting atop an ever-expanding empire. His creation, Emily the Strange, celebrates fifteen years of existence by branching out from t-shirts to comic books, novels, video games, a younger version for babies and toddlers (Emiwee) and an upcoming film. All this from the humble beginning of a no-nonsense, independent-minded girl and her four cats.
I got to speak with Rob Reger at San Diego Comic-Con and get his take on Emily, her movie future and her iconic status. Here’s part of the interview, and you can watch it on video down below.
NICO FROM COLLIDER: So tell me: what was the genesis for Emily the Strange?
ROB REGER: The absolute genesis was a skateboard design for
Collider: How much of yourself did you put into the character?
RR: About fifteen years of my life (laughs). Beyond that, all of the things I liked pretty much somehow filtered through into Emily as well as several genuis friends: Buzz Parker, Jessica Gruner, Brian Brooks, Nix Turner… all of these guys have had their decent hand in the development of Emily the Strange’s character as well.
Collider: Are you comfortable with the term counter-culture?
Collider: At some point when it becomes so popular is it still counter-culture?
Collider: How do you feel about giving people who are different an icon?
RR: Let’s see. The best way to put it I think is Emily as the icon helps people to celebrate the differences that they do have. The uniqueness, the things that make them different, Emily kind of, for the most part, says it’s okay to celebrate those things and bring that out. That’s what makes you unique, that’s what makes you different and that’s probably the best stuff about you. I don’t know if that answers that question or not.
Collider: Absolutely. How many cats do you own?
RR: I have two cats. Luca and Lupa.
Collider: What can you tell us about the movie?
RR: I can tell you that Mike Richardson has been attached to it. He’s the president and publisher of Dark Horse Comics and also producer of such great films as Hellboy, Hellboy 2, 30 Days of Night, The Mask, etcetera, etcetera. He is setting up a deal right now at Universal. We’ll see where that goes.
Collider: Who would be your ideal casting?
RR: I think Jack Black would be a perfect Emily. (laughs) I just want to work with Jack Black.
Collider: He could play one of the cats.
(Nico also laughs and has to cut for a moment to collect himself)
RR: And for those of you who want some of this stuff over here (indicates the Emily the Strange merch booth) We have plenty of things for everyone’s delight. Anything you want strange, to make your world a little stranger, you can get at www.emilystrange.com — home of all kinds of fun and games, our own personal Emily Society of Strange, MySpace style chat and friend room. Lots of games. Lots of freebies. Lots of cool stuff to buy. See you there.
Collider: Do you believe whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger?
RR: I do believe that. (laughs)