Trailer Bulletin: Will Eisner's The Spirit (Plus New Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson Art!)

Frank Miller is at the helm. Yippee for guns and girls!

by | April 23, 2008 | Comments

What happens in Sin City, doesn’t stay in Sin City…at least, not when Frank Miller‘s at the helm. Watch the new teaser trailer from Miller’s presentation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit and take a peek at Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson in the first character shots from the 2009 flick.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit, set to open January 16, 2009, is gearing up to be the first big flick of the new year. The noirish crime fighter pic, adapted from Will Eisner’s landmark 1940s comic strip, boasts a tragic hero (Gabriel Macht), an evil villain (Samuel L. Jackson as The Octopus), and femme fatales left and right (Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes, Paz Vega, Jamie King, and Stana Katic).

The new one-sheet. Click for more images from The Spirit!

The newly unveiled teaser trailer (shown at last week’s New York Comicon) doesn’t show much, but it does give us the sense that the style and atmosphere of The Spirit will benefit from the same digital technology that made Miller’s Sin City jump from page to screen. This type of visual medium isn’t perfect for every kind of film, but it seems to fit well with the dark and noirish tone of the Spirit story, even if Miller updates the vintage look for a less period-specific feeling. View the teaser below.

In addition to the teaser, Lionsgate has delivered the above new one-sheet — oh yeah, and there’s this image of Eva Mendes as Sand Saref, “the jewel thief with dangerous curves” and “the love of [The Spirit’s] life turned bad.” Click for hi-res image.

We’re also impressed with this character shot of Scarlett Johansson as Silken Floss, “a punk secretary and frigid vixen” (though it seems in an earlier Eisner incarnation Floss was a doctor — here’s to creative license).

With The Spirit, Frank Miller will make his solitary writing and directing debut (after going halfsies with Robert Rodriguez on the 2005 adaptation of his Sin City graphic novels).

The full synopsis:

Adapted from the legendary comic strip, THE SPIRIT is a classic action-adventure-romance told by genre-twister FRANK MILLER (creator of 300 and SIN CITY). It is the story of a former rookie cop who returns mysteriously from the dead as the SPIRIT (Gabriel Macht) to fight crime from the shadows of Central City. His arch-enemy, the OCTOPUS (Samuel L. Jackson) has a different mission: he’s going to wipe out Spirit’s beloved city as he pursues his own version of immortality. The Spirit tracks this cold-hearted killer from Central City’s rundown warehouses, to the damp catacombs, to the windswept waterfront … all the while facing a bevy of beautiful women who either want to seduce, love or kill our masked crusader. Surrounding him at every turn are ELLEN DOLAN (Sarah Paulson), the whip-smart girl-next-door; SILKEN FLOSS (Scarlett Johansson), a punk secretary and frigid vixen; PLASTER OF PARIS (Paz Vega), a murderous French nightclub dancer; LORELEI (Jaime King), a phantom siren; and MORGENSTERN (Stana Katic), a sexy young cop. Then of course, there’s SAND SAREF (Eva Mendes), the jewel thief with dangerous curves. She’s the love of his life turned bad. Will he save her or will she kill him? In the vein of BATMAN BEGINS and SIN CITY, THE SPIRIT takes us on a sinister, gut-wrenching ride with a hero who is born, murdered and born again.

Check out more Spirit goodies (including the creatively named Spidget widget) at the official site, We recommend clicking around to the official production blog, where Frank Miller shares on-set stories like the one about how in adapting the script himself, he was committed to Eisner’s original vision…except where love interest Ellen Dolan was concerned:

“The only problem with Ms. Dolan is that she was, with all respect to my beloved mentor, a lousy character,” Miller writes. “Ellen Dolan made Donna Reed look like Angelina Jolie.”

After scrapping a scene where Ellen goes bonkers “with slashing, stabbing, hurling scalpels,” Miller says he ended up shooting “something truly grisly” with a “rotating bone saw” – but teases that the scene won’t make the final cut.

Are we already planning for DVD, Mr. Miller?