Since being confirmed as the writer and director for 2009’s live-action adaptation of the classic Will Eisner comic The Spirit, Frank Miller has resisted naming the actor who will be strapping on the domino mask, fedora, and gloves for the title role. Miller only has enough mojo to keep a secret for so long, however, and — as Variety reports — an announcement has finally been made.
It’s official: Gabriel Macht, most recently seen in Because I Said So and The Good Shepherd, will be protecting the residents of Center City from the nefarious Octopus (rumored to be played by Samuel L. Jackson).
Never heard of him? You’re not alone. But the article includes a cheerful vote of confidence from the studio:
“We think Gabriel has a devilishly charming quality, and the dry wit that embodies the Spirit, and we wanted to do this with someone who can embody this character for the next few years, because we anticipate we’ll be making more than one Spirit movie,” said Lionsgate prexy of film production Mike Paseornek.
Unless you’re a card-carrying member of the comic fan community, it’s possible you’ve never heard of The Spirit either, but he’s actually one of the medium’s oldest characters, and a creation of one of its most respected minds (they don’t call the comic-industry honors the Eisner Awards for nothing). Since debuting in 1940, The Spirit has been a more or less constant fixture on comic-shop racks, either via periodic reprints of Eisner’s strips or modern reinterpretations; in other words, there’s a lot of history here, and if you thought making Spider-Man was a high-pressure gig…well, let’s just say Macht can expect to become the subject of some intense speculation for the next little while.
It should go without saying that Miller’s involvement works decidedly in Macht’s favor — this is a guy who came to film from the comics, after all, and one who holds a deep reverence for the character. He’s gone on record as saying the film will be extremely faithful; he’ll be using the same digital background technology utilized for Sin City and 300, and as with Sin City, he’ll be using specific panels from the comics to create shots for the movie. And speaking of Sin City, the article notes that Miller will be completing work on Sin City 2 before he gets rolling on The Spirit.