Frank Miller is unmistakable in his famous black hat, particularly if you’re expecting him. While at the Cannes Film Festival last week our friends at MySpace invited us down to meet Miller and chat about his upcoming projects and it’s about time we let you know what he had to say, because we’ve been talking of little else around the office ever since.
"I’m out here mainly to introduce my new film, "The Spirit," to buyers and press and all kinds of people," he told Rotten Tomatoes UK, and we were keen to find out more about the project.
"It’s based on an old 1940’s comic by my mentor, Will Eisner, and it features a masked adventure up against all kinds of nasty people and all kinds of beautiful women," he said, "Lionsgate are negotiating with Samuel L. Jackson to play the main villain; The Octopus. As far as I know the negotiations are going fine, but I’m not a negotiator!"
Of course, by stroke of coincidence we learned just before we sat down with Miller that Robert Rodriguez had been signed onto a remake of the classic sixties sex flick "Barbarella." So what of "Sin City 2"? Rumours swirl that the project has been stalled by the breakdown of Rodriguez’ marriage. "Sin City 2 is still likely to happen," says Miller, "just not right away. The script is written and Robert and I are raring to go, but it looks like I’m going to be doing The Spirit first and Robert’s going to be doing Barbarella first."
Still, work proceeds at pace on Miller’s new graphic novel, rather controversially called "Batman vs. Al Qaeda." "It’s bound to offend just about everybody," Miller laughed, "I’m about 100 pages into it and I’ve got fifty more to go."
But, by far the most interesting revelation in our time with Miller was his passion for a certain filmmaking technology… "I saw U2 3D and I thought that the 3D effects were not just remarkable but historic. I think that’s going to be the way to go for a lot of features and I think people are going to get used to the funky glasses before long. It’s just astonishing, what they’ve developed, and I think they’ve ushered in a new era for 3D."
So could this be the biggest hint at what we have in store for "The Spirit?" Miller didn’t say for certain, but the notion has us excited. "Plans to do my own 3D film are forming in my head," he teased, "and they were within ten minutes of when the movie started; it’s that good.
"I think what we’re going to see with this new technology isn’t stuff that’s transformed so much, like they did with "Nightmare Before Christmas," but stuff that’s created for it. That’s really going to be when the breakthrough happens, because there’ll be movies you’ll look at that you won’t even think of as 2D movies. I’ve worked on several comics that I think this would translate brilliantly for and the wheels are spinning."
Miller is also optimistic that the technological revolution that’s enabling CGI and 3D movies is soon to reach maturity. "I love the technological revolution we’re undergoing and I love being a part of it. I’m not a Luddite about all of this, I love playing with all these new toys and, if anything, the biggest question I have, creatively, is when do you say when? Just because we can fill every inch of the screen with spaceships or whatever doesn’t mean that we have to do it. I think there’ll be a whole new aesthetic that arrives where we’re not trying to do traditional film or trying to do one better than they do, but where we’ll just be doing what we do. That pulls comics and movies that much closer together."
Colour us fascinated to see what comes next from the mind of Frank Miller. You’ll be able to catch a video of our chat with Miller on MySpace very soon.