Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Filming and V For Vendetta

In the past couple of days, we've been doing filming on the Ricky Frost movie. It's going really well. We've been a bit rushed, but we're getting enough footage, and more importantly, I feel like we're actually making a film rather than just a series of shots. There's actual character development, and acting, which is sort of a first for one of my projects. We've been working using the script as a guideline, but not neccessarily referring to it for every line, instead using a bunch of improv, which is awesome. I've written on him a bunch of times here, but Wong Kar-Wai has really changed my view of how to construct a film. Rather than writing a script and just filming it, it's much more interesting to actually construct the film during the filming, because then you're actually making a film rather than a script. While I'm not opposed to planning ahead, sometimes it's better to just let your actors mess with stuff, and go with how it feels on the spot. I could definitely see the appeal of working without a script, and just going with what feels right at the time. It would take a lot of time, but in an ideal world, that would be the way to make films.

Hitting up the internet, I saw some really cool news today, and that's that Natalie Portman is going to be playing one of the lead roles in the V For Vendetta movie. This brings together one of my favorite actresses and one of my favorite comics of all time. V is probably the most politically significant comic ever published, and surpasses even 1984 in its depiction of a dystopia. It's written by Alan Moore, and is part of what is generally known as his "holy trinity" of brilliant works: Watchmen, V For Vendetta and From Hell. The comic is incredibly relevant, and I hope there's no shying away from embracing a building destroying terrorist character as a hero. Natalie has been on a bit of a role lately, with great performances in Garden State and Closer, ad hopefully she'll pick it up a bit for Episode III. I think V could have a bit of a Leon dynamic, because she'll be playing the innocent girl being trained by older man whose an expert in violence. The story has a lot more scope than Leon, and if done well should be something on the level of Brazil.

However, considering the track record of Moore adaptations, combined with the quotes from the producers, and the fact that the director is basically a no name, I'm not getting my hopes up too high. From Hell wasn't an awful movie, but it lacked basically everything that made the book one of the greatest literary works of all time. From Hell is a history of civilization from the beginning of time to the present, a work full of magic and loss, all told in a really compelling way. The movie is a murder mystery, and if you've read the book, you already know the murderer. And, the less said about "LXG" the better.

The teaser poster looks pretty good, and is basically the cover of the graphic novel. What bothers me is this quote from producer Joel Silver: "With V for Vendetta, the Wachowski Brothers have created an uncompromising vision of the future driven by a totally original superhero."

First, the Wachowski brothers did not create the uncompromising vision, that would be Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Second, just because it's based on a comic book that doesn't make V a superhero. It's not that inaccurate, he does have a uniform and a mask and cape, but I really hope this isn't a movie that is just about V being a hero, because it's a lot more complex than that. V isn't even a character so much as an idea and I hope that's preserved in the film. Also, considering today's political climate, I hope that the creative team keeps the strong political content of the book, and doesn't turn it into an action movie. Natalie Portman signing on is a good sign, but I'm still not sure how this is going to turn out.

However, regardless of whether the film is good or not, the book will still be there. The good thing about From Hell and LXG is that they're so bad, I practically forget they're based on a book. Also, with comics, you'll always have the original visual intact. When you see a movie based on a prose book, the images of the movie will replace the images you had in your head when you were first reading the book, and you can never get those original images back. But, with V, I'll always have the book right there.

The other good thing about this is it indicates that people are moving beyond strict superhero stories in adapting comics to the screen. Sin City was a big step, and this is another one. Even if the movie's bad, this will provide the outside world with another reference point for comics, so when you say Alan Moore, you can say, the guy who made V For Vendetta and people will get it.

One thing that bothers me is the fact that more and more Alan Moore stuff is being adapted, but still no one's even attempted to make anything based on Grant Morrison's works. Grant is just as good as Alan, and I would kill to see a Flex Mentallo or Kill Your Boyfriend movie. I'd actually love to make a Flex Mentallo movie, it's one of the very few things I would rather make than an original story. Flex is in many ways the ultimate superhero story and it deserves to get wider exposure, as does Grant. Alan is getting there as a household name, but basically no one has heard of Grant Morrison. He's got a lot to choose from, hopefully once they run out of Alan, we'll start seeing Grant movies.

Related Posts
Creative Projects (8/28/2005)
Respect Films (1/10/2006)
V For Vendetta (3/17/2006)

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