Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to speak to Lucha Underground’s Executive Producer, Chris DeJoseph. For those not familiar with Lucha Underground, it’s a fusion of film noir, Lucha Libre style wrestling, and some mythological elements. Currently in its second season, the show, which airs on the El Rey Network, has a huge following, that it’s already been renewed for a third season.
A former writer for WWE, DeJoseph and I chatted about Lucha Underground, its stars, and what we should look forward to in Season Two of the hit show. You can follow Lucha Underground at @LuchaDeRey and Chris DeJoseph at @chrisdejoseph.
For people who are not familiar with Lucha Underground, tell everyone what it’s about.
Lucha Underground is basically a story of an underground fight club at Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. The luchadores have come to fight there and battle for lucha supremacy. There’s a little bit of a mythology aspect and deeper story lines at the roots. It’s about why they’re fighting. Basically, this battle with the luchadores has been happening since ancient Aztec times. It continues at the Boyle Heights temple that is run by an evil promoter, a Spanish promoter by the name Dario Cueto.
I have to ask you, where did the concept of Lucha Underground come from? It’s so original.
It started with an initial idea. A month later Robert Rodriguez got together with AAA in Mexico and they decided to bring Lucha Libre to America and to Robert’s channel, the El Rey Network. Basically, there were some initial thoughts and ideas about what they wanted the show to be, kind of a live action comic book in a way. Then a lot of people got together and we made decisions on what the show can be and what it is today. It was a long process to decide what exactly it was, but the initial concept and idea behind it came from AAA in Mexico with Robert and Mark.
Speaking of Mark (Burnett of ‘Survivor’) and Robert (Rodriquez) who are executive producers of the show, has their influence added to the show’s gritty film noir look?
Oh, 100%. When we started to make Lucha Underground, that was the main thing, what would Robert Rodriguez’s version of Lucha Libre or professional wrestling look like? We wanted his look. That had a lot to do with the amazing, talented production of our show. Burnett makes some of the most popular television shows in the world. A tag team of Robert Rodriguez and Mark Burnett is a winning combo. They’ll be TV champions for a long time.
It must be unreal to work with both of them.
Yeah, at first, I thought it would be very intimidating, but they’re both really awesome and empowering. Mark and Robert really trust the people they hire to work on their shows, and they’ve been really cool about it. They really like what we’re doing and that personal support has been amazing to for me.
I know you were with WWE…
How many writers do you have on this show?
Basically three of us and then we have an assistant. Everybody throws up story line ideas and stuff like that, too, and we just kind of craft them and make them what they are
The talent gets to have input too, right?
Well, yeah. I mean obviously they have input, that was one of the major things when we first started was to engage the talent. I always found in my experience in professional wrestling, when you engage the talent and let them have a say in it, it comes off a lot better. Then the talent believes in what they’re doing instead of just putting something on a piece of paper for them.
How long did filming season two take?
Well, gosh. We started with season two, in November, or October. It usually takes a couple of months. Sometimes less depending on how fast we have to get it out. We obviously have a lot more time to prepare the later shows, but we have to have a show prepared every week, so I mean they kind of line up one after the other.
How many episodes are there for season two?
Twenty-six, but twenty-seven hours because the last episode is a two-hour special.
Will season two be dealing with more supernatural elements?
We have supernatural characters, like Catrina, and Drago and Mil Muertes, so I think there will always be a bit of that. I think we’re just trying to stick to telling cool stories whether it be sci-fi, fantasy, crime drama, mob movie, etc. We try to pull from all areas of entertainment and story telling.
I agree 100% with that. I think one of my favorites plots from last season was Mundo and Cueto going back and forth.
Yeah, they have a fun little rivalry with one another. We even throw in a little love story every now and then, too.
Now last week, we saw Rey Mysterio. at the end of those vignettes.
Yes, you did.
How awesome was that? How much of a role is Rey going to be playing this season, when you’ve got players like Mundo and Pentagon and Prince Puma in the mix?
I mean, Rey plays a huge role in the season. He’s arguably the most famous luchador of all time. He’s really become the father of modern Lucha Libre, but yeah he will have a major role in season two.
I’ve got to ask you about the inter-gender match-ups because they’re really popular. Are we going to see more of Sexy Star and Ivelisse? Are we going to see more of those inter-genders?
Oh, definitely. You’ll also see women versus women, but yeah inter-gender matches are something that we’re totally cool with at Lucha Underground. We kind of modeled it after The Avengers. Fans see Scarlett Johansson’s throwing down with Captain America and the Hulk. Take a look at Robert’s movie. I think that our writers of Lucha Underground were kind of feminists so we’re all for an equal footing, everybody in Lucha Underground’s a superhero. They all battle it out. I think it’s cool because it also shows how talented and strong and powerful the women are on our show. They’re not just necessarily there to be a second thought, they’ll be in an opening match or a silly match, they’re not just there to look at even though they are beautiful. (laughs). They also show that they’re athletic and powerful and strong and smart.
I think that’s what I love about Lucha the most, to be honest. I’m so thrilled that it showcases really strong and powerful females. Look at Catrina, another one.
She’s the boss. She’s in complete control of Mil Muertes and now is in complete control of the Lucha Underground temple.
Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool. Will we get a DVD release of Lucha Underground?
Oh gosh, I hear that question every day and I think it will happen eventually, that’s not really something that I get to decide so … I’m sure one day that it will be out there. I think it will be. The show will become more available to people, hopefully in the near future.
That was another question I was going to ask you because it’s on El Rey now. El Rey is getting into more homes, but will you see it on Netflix, will we see it other places?
Yeah, I don’t know which of the platforms it will be on, but yeah it will become much more widely available for the general public to find. Hopefully, more people will learn about this cool little show that we do.
I know that there was talk about you guys doing some house shows in Texas during Wrestlemania weekend. Are you still considering that?
I think that live events are a possibility for the future for us. As of right now I think we’re pretty much focusing on making it a day television show and spreading the word about Lucha Underground, but I have hope and faith that that will eventually happen so people across the country will get to see an up close personal view of Lucha Underground. I want them to see the amazing athletes, luchadores, and spectacles, that is the show.
Do you see the series having a well-defined ending, like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos?
I mean we have some ideas about that, but I think if Lucha Underground can last for thirty years, we’d love it to last for thirty years, or longer, maybe forever. (laughs). You think of that kind of stuff when you’re writing and you have an idea of where it wants to go, but I think the idea is to expand this universe. I think there’re so many interesting characters. There’s some characters that can have their own little spin-off since it’s an amazing little universe that we’re creating. As you can see there are some comic books coming out …
We’re trying to explore all those kinds of things. We use the comic books to kind of bridge the seasons together, so it’s a little fun thing for the fans of the show to check out.
How many comics do you envision?
I think that they’re four comic books. I’ll let you get surprised.
Back in WWE, you were a character, you were Big Dick Johnson.
Oh god. I can never dodge that question. (laughs).
Chris, you’re never going to live this down, ever.
Has Lucha Underground made you actually compete?
I am more than happy letting the real professionals do their thing.
Congrats on Season Three!
Yeah, that’s big news.
It’s really great news! Would you consider The Great Muta for season three of Lucha Underground?
Well, I think Muta would be awesome especially with Muta’s connection to Vampiro. I think that would be pretty neat. I mean, we’ve considered all sorts of different things. We’ve got all sorts of surprises in store for everybody.
Who would you want to see in Lucha Underground if you could have anybody in Lucha Underground?
Oh gosh, we have so many awesome people already. Oh boy. I would probably say … I think probably CM Punk or Daniel Bryan. I think one of those two guys would be awesome to have in Lucha Underground. I think they would fit right in with the way we do things and the kind of show we’re doing, the style of the guys in the ring. I think those guys would be amazing.
Yeah. They would be really good. And finally, are the rumors about Robert Rodriguez making a movie about Pentagon Jr’s true?
(laughs). I did not know that that was a rumor. I’ll have to ask him.
Lucha Underground airs Wednesdays at 8 pm EST on the El Rey Network.