My son inspired the Bad Guys that took us to Hollywood
By Marnie Adams, Contributor @ Kids In Perth 27 Apr 2022
Who are The Bad Guys? What’s it about?
Think of all the coolest car chases, heists and action movies you’ve seen. Blend it together. Weave in a cast of lovable, flawed characters… That's just the start of the heart warming and ever evolving story behind The Bad Guys.
The Bad Guys is the “life’s work” of Australian author Aaron Blabey who not only penned this exciting book that’s getting reluctant readers reading… but also illustrated it as well!
Recently, we interviewed Aaron about his book which will feature in cinemas from 31 March as a Dreamworks Animation movie!
How does it feel seeing your creations come to life on the big screen?
It’s pretty cool! My most favourite thing in the universe really are movies, always since I was a little boy. Now the fact that the characters are part of that is the biggest possible thing that could’ve ever happened. It’s such a thrill!
What was the inspiration for The Bad Guys?
Bunch of things, the idea initially came about because I was reading with my youngest child, who was 6 at the time, bringing home reader “learning to read” books from school.
Some were so boring that they used to make him cry!
I thought, you know what…let’s do something cooler than that!
I thought about things I loved when I was a kid and, at the time, he was into scary animals.
And I also thought about the things I’m into now… So I’m thinking about heist movies, crime movies, action movies and kind of …stir them together?
Well… what if I took a bunch of scary looking guys, who are scary animals and put them in suits like some of my favourite movie characters. What if everybody thinks they’re villains and they want to prove they’re not. When that idea clicked, that just opened up this whole imaginative universe for me!
Asking for my friend, Tristan, out of all the children’s books out there… Why do you think The Bad Guys stand out from the rest? Why does it resonate with kids?
I don’t know for sure.
Because I play with images normally associated with things outside of their age group. Maybe something their older sibling or parents are into and they’ll ask if they can watch but be told they’re too young.
I’ve taken the imagery and iconography of that and hot wired it for kids!
I didn’t know whether it would work but I know with my kids they’ll say “Can’t I watch that?”
I’ll reply with “No that’s a bit full on and you can’t watch it” but I’ll notice how they would love getting their hands on certain things. I was like that as a kid.
Taking all of those cool elements of cool elements, inserting them into a territory that is kid friendly and isn’t going to upset anybody.
They’ll feel like part of something bigger, naughtier and all of that stuff that kids want to be part of.
So maybe that’s part of it… But who knows?
It’s hard and impossible for me to say.
Why did you pursue writing children’s books after acting?
I think, as I was saying, when I said I was looking for The Bad Guys forever.
When my first kid was born I wrote my first picture book.
Around that time, I did it because I wasn’t happy as an actor. I never felt like I was very good at it.
When I was in movies, I felt like I was doing the wrong job in them, so I started painting and storytelling again which I missed. Putting those two things together, I had that first book, it was warmly received but I still hadn’t found my voice yet I don’t think.
It wasn’t until my kids were older and had senses of humour.
When they had defined senses of humour, at around 6,7 or 8, I suddenly went… hang on a minute.
I know how to make them laugh.
Why don’t I just do that but with stuff that I love! I think that triggered all of it.
It was just this perfect storm of elements that had been floating around but then suddenly it all worked and had purpose.
And it just suddenly became this vehicle for you to influence so many kids?
That’s just spectacular, weird and mind melting!
When I sit to write a new episode or what I’m trying to picture… I’m aware.
I actually don’t feel any pressure, I just feel incredible gratitude, knowing what it feels like to write and draw a book coming from where nobody really knows or cares if it comes and goes to… Being in a situation where literally millions of children are waiting for the next bit is the coolest thing any writer could ever dream of.
Describe The Bad Guys in 3 words.
My Life’s Work. Haha.
The Bad Guys is published by Scholastic and available to purchase at all good bookstores or online.
In cinemas from 31 March 2022, learn more by visiting thebadguysmovie.com or following @TheBadGuysMovie on facebook.
Scroll down to read the full interview