Paramount Plus’ Secret headquarters draws from many different superhero films of the past. Owen Wilson’s character, Jack Kincaid, is Secretly the Guardian, a superhero who uses alien technology to rise up as Earth’s guardian, à la Green Lantern, and wears a metal suit that closely resembles Iron Man’s. But most of the action takes place at the Guard’s secret headquarters. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman told Polygon that they looked to the Batcave from Tim Burton’s Batman film for inspiration for the set, as well as Lex Luthor’s lair in the first Superman film. But they also drew from some unlikely sources.
“A little bit of Dustin Hoffman in there Kramer vs. Kramer,Schulman says, citing the 1979 divorce drama about a workaholic father who loses custody of his young child.
“A little bit of Tom Hanks’ apartment inside Big‘ Joost adds.
The biggest part of Jack’s character isn’t that he’s a superhero, it’s that he is one father and a superhero. Much of the film focuses on his relationship with his son Charlie, who has no idea his father is a superhero and feels h is father left the family for “work reasons”. So the vibe for HQ was part Batcave and part man cave (“I’ve always hated it [that term] but it’s appropriate here because it’s literal is
While the superhero film sees the kids and guard pitted against villains, the main tension is between Jack and Charlie. Schulman and Joost wanted to focus on a different conflict than is typically seen in superhero films for a very specific reason.
“Because it Not a Marvel movie,” explains Schulman. “They are great and they are excellent at what they do. We’re trying to find another place in the genre. For us, that meant focusing on the family dynamic, on the father-son relationship. The superhero film from the child’s point of view. For us, that meant exploring the job itself and the stress parents feel trying to balance work and life, and then when you say it very, very specifically, you think: Oh, well, it’s actually kind of ironic when his job is to save the world but his son just wants him to save his family.”
Secret headquarters is now available on Paramount Plus.