This is such a great day since we are here to bring you an interview with one of our favorite cosplayers: Maul Cosplay! He is known by many for his famous Geralt cosplay but every single time the man comes out with a new costume, it is a smash hit. We’ve gotten the chance to meet him multiple occasions and he is always so kind-hearted and welcoming.
Please enjoy our interview with Maul Cosplay.
What is your origin story?
A long time ago, like 20 years ago, my sister would go to conventions and during a particular convention, all of her friends bailed on her. So, she asked me if I wanted to go instead and I said yes! But I said “Wait a minute…at these events everyone wears costumes so therefore I have to wear one as well!” So I improvised ‘The Crow’ costume. I already had the long hair so all I needed was the white and black makeup.
My sister wanted to compete in the cosplay contest but was afraid to go alone so I said “Okay! I’ll go with you!” and she went as Queen Amidala. She made it especially for this contest and I didn’t want her to not show her costume on stage so I went to a random stranger and asked if I could borrow their Jedi costume. He gave it to me for a few hours, I went on stage with my sister just to make her feel comfortable, and she ended up winning! That was my first stage experience with cosplay, I liked it, and that is what started it all.
At that same convention, I met Ray Park, the actor that played Darth Maul. We got to chat and he explained that he was a stunt man and then after that convention, I wanted to become a stunt man and immediately applied to a stunt school.
Out of all the years you have done cosplay, what has been one of your more favorite/proudest memories?
To be honest, there are many proud moments. It is always fun to work for big gaming companies and be a part of their first reveal of a character. We have a very close relationship with CD Projekt Red and we were a part of the whole Cyber Punk promotion. We actually saw the first character design for the game, which was about three years ago now. We could see the changes and the evolution of the characters and then finally one day stood in their booth at E3 for the big reveal. That is always a good moment.
This story is pretty interesting because all of the pictures that were published after E3 were of my wife and me. Even the big magazines, we were on the cover instead of the actual CGI characters from the game. Us in our costumes!
We do have another proud moment and that is when the Final Fantasy Fan Fest in Frankfurt when we built the samurai cosplay for the new big boss of FF14 at the time. Both he and the Samurai class were announced that year and everyone could see what it would look like thanks to us since the costume that we built was especially for him.
But there are a lot of tiny moments where I couldn’t really describe why they are special. Through our job, we work with big companies and names, we are just proud of what we have achieved and have worked so hard for about 10 years now. But only two years ago it actually took off. We worked so hard to get here that every single day we are proud of what we have accomplished.
Many people online will simply see one of your images, appreciate it for the moment and move on. However, I know that a lot of care and time goes into photoshoots. Could you describe your process for a cosplay photoshoot from the concept to when it hits your fans?
Usually, it is not very spectacular. It always starts with an idea and then we think about what would be best for the character. Then it depends if we have pay for the shoot or the company. For example, the photos for the last of us in Chernobyl when I was Joel, that was completely my idea and we paid for everything. We weren’t working for any companies, it was just for fun since I like the character. I was just sitting here, in the office with my wife and I was thinking about what would be the best location for Joel. You need some abandoned places, at least a building. Where could we go?
The biggest abandoned place that came to mind was Chernobyl and I asked my wife “What if we went to Chernobyl and she laughed and said “Yeah, right!” but I said “No seriously.” and she agreed that it would be the best place. She still couldn’t believe that I was serious. Like normal people, she was worried because it was dangerous but I explained that I knew a lot about history. I said, “No, no, it is not so dangerous. For example, there are still powerplants that are running and there are even 5000 people still living in the exclusion zone. Of course, they don’t live in the worst zone but hey do live there to work on the plant”.
So I told her that there are tours, guides, and it happened that I knew a guy from the Ukraine who had been there several times. So we paid him to organize everything, since you have to go through the government to ask for permission and fill out paperwork but he handled everything. So he was our guide and knew all of the places. We flew to Ukraine, and the plan was to shoot over two days. The first day was great but the second had horrible weather. We shot many many pictures, almost 2000. But then we had to decide which 20 pictures we would post.
The people loved the photos but of course, there were people who were frustrated that we went there. Most of the Ukrainian people, I would say, left the best messages. I got people who were thankful for what we did because we always write about where we shot it, and remembering that incident. We talked about how tragic the past was and yet the pictures we showcased were very beautiful. That was our message that you can always find beauty in even the most devastated parts of the world.
But that wasn’t your question! Usually, we just pick a place and go! But the Chernobyl one was the most complex shoot we have ever done. The next one is for Red Dead Redemption 2 where we are going to go on a big road trip to drive through several states in several locations. Sorry for the long answer! haha
Out of all the cosplays you have ever done which one was your personal favorite even if it was not super well received by fans?
I think my most favorite, which is hard to say because we build the costumes for weeks and always love them. It isn’t very often that we don’t like them, sometimes we will look at the final costume and be like “Well, I imagined it better but…” but even then, when you put it on for the first time it is better than expected because when you are working on it, you can only see the fine details. Then you step back and see its final form and it looks great.
My favorite cosplay is Arthur Morgan from Red Dead Redemption 2, Scorpion from Mortal Kombat, and of course the Witcher because of course, we have some history, the Witcher, and me. *Chuckles*. Those three are my favorite.
But there is one costume that I really liked which is Rico from Just Cause 3 which is one of my favorite games. It was beautifully made, the action is incredible, and I played it for many many hours. I wanted to do a stunt photoshoot because I myself am a stunt man. I could finally combine my stunt skill and cosplay. I wanted to do car driving, car crashing, and explosions. I tend to do a lot of fighting, that is what I did a lot in the YouTube video Dark More Apprentice. (I hope you all watch it!)
I also like car stunts but never do it so I wanted to combine it. I contacted Square Enix and asked if they wanted to help me since I was doing it just for fun. Then they said I could do it when they release Just Cause 4 and I could promote it with my cosplay. So we made the new costume for Just Cause 4 and I liked it very much, especially the make up my wife did. She did a very good job! I looked in the mirror and loved the way I looked since it was just like Rico, the main character.
We did some cool stuff, I was standing on top of a car, the car was driving, the car crashed into another car, I was flying over the other car, the original car exploded, and of course we took pictures while I was flying through the air. There was also a smaller photoshoot with a motorbike but only a small one since that wasn’t in the original plan.
Yeah! I loved that day and I liked the photos. I was so proud but almost no one was interested in the shoot! I usually get 20,000 likes on an Instagram picture, at least! Sometimes more and sometimes a little less but typically 20,000 but all of the Just Cause photos had around 8,000 likes which were pretty unusual. So, I then realized that no one was interested in the stunt style photoshoots which was disappointing because it brought together my two passions of stunt work and cosplay. I loved the day and the photos but it barely got any attention, meanwhile, I post a selfie and get 20,000 likes.
Now I know! And I won’t do it again, maybe just for fun without posting it.
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You feature a lot of awesome geeky content, what is your absolute favorite geeky medium? (Video games, anime, comics, film, etc.)
I think my favorite is video games. Most of the people I know spend more time playing video games rather than watching movies. While people might watch a lot of films, overall you play more hours of a video game than you do watch a film. I enjoy them because you get to actually be the character and experience the story rather than just watching it. For example, with Red Dead Redemption 2, I was so into it, I loved the whole world, and I even wanted to go there in real life since the game was so enjoyable!
However, in movies, it is not like that. I did enjoy Avatar and for those two hours it was beautiful but it was only two hours. Yet I spent so many hours in the wild west, so I will always say that my favorite medium are video games.
Subbed or Dubbed Anime?
I actually never watch anime, so I am sorry! But if I did, I would go for…dubbed! Because, of course, it is Japanese and it is cool to hear how the Japanese speak but it is so different from the way we talk. So it seems confusing to me. Right now is my very first time considering subbed and dubbed anime! haha There was one time that I watched an anime film in subs and it was very hard for me. I usually watch everything in its original language but for Anime, Japanese is so different, that I prefer watching English dubs.
It is apparent that you hustle to provide content for fans but when you actually have a day off, how do you spend it?
Oh, that is a good question! Usually, I am always looking forward to playing video games. Because I work in the industry, I almost have no time. Which is really sad because I am so close to it all! For example, I haven’t even played The Witcher. I’m sent everywhere as Geralt yet I don’t get to experience what happened to him. Of course since I work with CD Projekt Red, I know the story, but I don’t know all of the small moments that players get to enjoy because I just don’t have time. It is just too big.
For example, when I got to play Red Dead Redemption we went on Holiday in December to Denmark to a very isolated house in the dunes with our big TVs and PS4. Then I have time to play videos! Last December was Hitman. I put many, many hours into Hitman, and then Red Dead Redemption. That is what I always do when I have a day off.
You just radiate such confidence and the swagger of a champion. However, a lot of geeks often struggle with overwhelming self-doubt, anxiety, and depression. When you have those bad days and get down on yourself, what do you do to remind yourself that you are wonderful?
That is such a hard question! I don’t really have bad days. I mean sometimes, I have hard days. For example in school but even then it was only a few years then it got better. So this is hard for me to answer. I think it is important that you have people around you who enoy your company to remind yourself that there are people who like you. Even if there are people who hate you, there are still people who like you,.
We should focus more on the good things. Nowadays there is social media, the internet, and even in the cosplay community, there are so many people who are haters. Who make fun of people for no other reason than they are assholes. Many people only focus on the bad things. I think there is almost nobody who has no friends. 100 years ago if you surrounded yourself with good people then you never had to hear anything bad. Now with the internet, you can see the 10 people who commented on your post talking shit and you focus on that. But the people in your daily life, they like you! That is what everyone should focus on.
Especially in cosplay, everyone is complaining about something or someone and it is not important. It is hard to not think about it or say anything about it when someone says something negative to you. You always want to answer back but just don’t. It is always better when you don’t.
The most important thing in life is progress. Everyone in life is progressing somehow. You have to think about what you have learned and achieved in life and try to be better than yesterday. We all have bad days but there are a lot of good ones too. Just focus on that.
We want to thank Maul cosplay for taking the time to answer a few of our questions! The man is so humble and amazing, you’ll absolutely want to follow him!