21 July 2006

LINK: Comic Movie Tidbits

ITEM: Heath Ledger as the Joker? Hmm... not a terrible choice, but I don't know that he's got the required gravitas for the role. If that's the direction Nolan is going, though, I'd rather see Ryan Phillipe given a shot at it. Of course, my number one choice remains Terrence Howard.

ITEM: The Incredible Hulk's new director is Louis Leterrier -- of the action-heavy The Transporter movies -- confirming the expected 180 degree shift from Ang Lee's somber take on the Green Goliath. Screenwriter Zak Penn seems to be on the right track, talking about how the sequel/remake/reboot will be different from the first one:

What I didn't like was the father/son stuff. Honestly I didn't like the dogs.

I felt -- weirdly since I get so much shit for fucking with the continuity on X-Men 3, which not all of which was my doing but some of which is -- I feel like on the Hulk that was one which didn't need to be revamped. I didn't like that the Hulk was something his dad injected into him as opposed to him being a repressed guy with all this rage to unleash.

The other thing is that there's something about the tone of the TV show -- despite the fans' insistence on going with 'Hulk smash' and all that stuff -- there's something about the man on the run with a dark secret, Jekyll and Hyde, theme that we could do more with. There wasn't much of that in the Hulk movie. I can't think of one scene where he was trying to solve his problem while keeping it a secret from anyone. To me that's essential to the Hulk.
More than anything, it was the bad CGI that kept me from seeing The Hulk when it first came out, so hopefully they can figure out a way to do it Lou Ferrigno-style this time.

ITEM: Doom Patrol to come to the big screen. I'm only familiar with the latest iteration of the Doom Patrol appearing in Teen Titans, and the average moviegoer won't know them at all, so the smell of X-Men knockoff is going to be tough to overcome. While Akiva Goldsman has a marginally better track record as a producer (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Constantine) than a writer (Batman & Robin, Batman Forever), relatively speaking, Adam Turner doesn't have a track record at all, which could turn out to be a plus, all things considered.

ITEM: Deadman to come to the big screen. If Daredevil and Elektra are B-list properties, where exactly does Deadman land on the list? My guess is this will be a purely conceptual adaptation that will connect to the comic book character as loosely as possible, hopefully ditching the silly costume and going straight for the supernatural thriller angle. Be interesting to see what kind of budget it gets and whether they cast a big name, a la Ghost Rider, or go cheap and hope for a sleeper hit.

ITEM: The Ghost Rider movie's Web site is up and is rather light on content, but the trailer suggests the movie has two things that might potentially work in its favor: Eva Mendes and Donal Logue. Depending on how much screen time they have, and the final Johnny Blaze:Ghost Rider ratio, there's a chance it might actually be half-decent. SuperHeroHype has the lowdown on some footage that was shown in San Diego this week.

ITEM: It's official: the Silver Surfer will be appearing in next year's Fantastic Four sequel. I still haven't seen the first one, but some of the special effects looked pretty weak in the trailers I've seen, so unless they're increasing the budget, this doesn't sound like a good idea. Even worse would be Galactus, one of the more ridiculous concepts in comics that will have a hard time not seeming even more ridiculous on the big screen.

ITEM: Frank Miller is directing the adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit, and Rich Watson has some legitimate concerns about it regarding the character Ebony White:

Miller is a tremendous Eisner fan; that's a given. If he's going to direct this film, he's gonna want it to be as true to Eisner's vision as possible. But it should also be remembered that this is a man whose entire career in comics and film has been about shaking people up. Miller's in his element when he's tweaking the nose of convention, pushing the boundaries of propriety, tradition, and good taste. Being an agent provocateur is in his blood and he delights in creating images and dialogue that shock, titilate, anger, thrill, outrage, or confound readers... Simply put, the words "Frank Miller" and "politically correct" do not go together in any combination.

Given all of this, is it possible that the version of Ebony we will eventually see on the big screen will reflect the print version, or will the studio heads step in and demand something less offensive?

...He has to be aware of the fact that if he were to keep Ebony intact, he'd have Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Bill Cosby up his ass in five seconds screaming for a boycott.
I've heard of Ebony White before, but my copy of The Spirit Archives, Vol. 1 has yet to be cracked open, so I'm not yet personally familiar with how offensive the character is or isn't, but Watson's a smart guy and his thinking here seems quite rational.

3 comments:

Emperor Nerd said...

More on Ebony
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebony_White

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez said...

Oh, my...! That picture is pretty bad. Not feeling Eisner's rationalization, either --

In reference to his graphic novel Fagin the Jew, Eisner acknowledged parallels between Charles Dickens' use of racial stereotyping for that character (which Eisner criticized) and Eisner's own portrayal of White, but asserted that his own work had not "capitalized on" the stereotype.

-- especially not when he acknowledges he knew at the time that the character represented a negative racial stereotype. Kind of weak, IMO.

Johnny B said...

No way Miller brings 40's-era Ebony to the big screen. I'll be surprised if he brings him in at all...most of the best Spirit stories didn't even have him in them! That said, there were times when the character rose above the stereotype and was quite likeable (as the paragraph above the one you quoted in the Wiki entry notes). If Miller does put him in there, he'll probably get someone like Chris Tucker and go the "streetwise hustler" route, like the TV movie did.

As cynical, megative and offputting as Miller's been for over a decade now, personally I dread seeing what he's going to do to the Spirit. I was not cheered by the news that he'd been handed the job.

You need to read some Morrison Doom Patrol, Guy, stat!

Ironic that someone named Leterrier didn't like the Hulk dogs...and I totally agree with him about the father/son stuff. The Lee Hulk would have been 100% better without the mercilessly overacting Nolte and all the Oedipal bullshit. He almost loses me with expressing admiration for that unintentionally ludicrous TV show...