Frank Miller Defends ‘Spirit’ Film
If you watched the first full trailer for Frank Miller’s upcoming adaptation of The Spirit, you could be forgiven for thinking it had little more than the title in common with Will Eisner’s comic series.
Miller insists that’s not the case, though, in a story in the New York Times.
“The only ways they resemble each other are the ways that I learned from Will Eisner: the use of black and white, certainly the rapturous approach to women.” Mr. Miller spoke after an editing session in Culver City in June, wearing a straw hat, a gray shirt and a loose black jacket; his voice, faintly adenoidal, stems from a long relationship with Winston Lights.
Where “Sin City” was bleak, “The Spirit” seems playful, quirky. For someone who exalts Ayn Rand and has vigorously defended America’s military response to 9/11, Mr. Miller seems to have tempered his cynical machismo. As for the strip’s most nettlesome character — Ebony White, the black sidekick with the Stepin Fetchit patois— he has been jettisoned.
But, as is always the case, not everyone agrees:
But the current film-comic infatuation isn’t for everyone. “I think they once made a movie out of ‘Ulysses,’ the Joyce novel, and it can’t be done,” said Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novelist behind “Maus.” “I’m not saying that Eisner is Joyce, but the things that are great” about “The Spirit” “are likely to be lost in translation.”
Manymany years ago, Harlan Ellison and William Friedkin (i think) were working on a TV movie version of the Spirit – not the one that got made.According to Harlan, who i once heard talking about it, it fell through because they were adamant that it should be a 90-minute (including commercials) film – about 70 minutes actual running time (like Spielberg's original version of "Duel") – but the network wanted a two-hour slot, so that they could sell more commercials.As i recall, Harlan described their planned opening, involving a newpaper headline along the lines of "Spirit Missing", someone tearing up the paper and throwing the pieces off a bridge, the camera following the pieces fluttering down, till we see a body in a blue suit floating face down unde the bridge, as the bits of paper fall on the water and form the words "The Spirit"…
Hmm – something i forgot to mention "Rapturous approach to women"? Miller? Karen Paige, Selina Kyle (and her girlfriend, Holly), Elektra… "Rapturous"? I think they may have meant "raptorial".
When living, Homer begged his breadWhile seven cities claimed him dead
I can live with eliminating Ebony — he's a difficult character to get across today, to say the least. But despite my affection for Frank's work, everything I've seen promoting this movie, including the most recent trailer, makes me very, very trepidatious.I can understand the studio promoting it as Sin City The Masked Generation, but after a couple of trailers and lots of ads and convention stuff, as an Eisner fan I'm worried. I'm with Mike Weber: everything I've heard and read about Ellison's screenplay (including from Harlan's numerous mentions) makes me wish somebody with a similar approach made the movie.
Am I the only one who looks at that poster and thinks they got the lettering backwards? That "My city screams" should be in the red lettering across the top and "The Spirit" should be carved out of the buildings? That would evoke the source material.