Exclusive: Wanted's Mark Millar Settles the Score for Fans
by Alex Billington
June 24, 2008
After seeing Wanted last week and being blown away by the film, I was angered to find that many fans aren't even giving the film a chance. Their reason: they're concerned that it's too much of a deviation from the source material and doesn't stick with the violent, villains-win storyline that Mark Millar and J.G. Jones so brilliantly put to paper in the comic. To prove to all of them that Wanted is the perfect adaptation of the comic, I exclusively went to Wanted's creator, Mark Millar himself, and asked him a few brief questions to settle any disputes. His answers were exactly what I thought he'd say - Millar has been involved from the start and made sure Wanted was the proper adaptation of the comic.
Below you'll find Millar's answers to my five quick question regarding the film. To put it simply, Timur Bekmambetov kicks ass. If it wasn't for the constant collaboration with Mark and Timur's creative mind, Wanted wouldn't have been as awesome as it was. Even Millar says below that he had lots of faith in Timur and thought that the film was really on-track once he came on-board. Hopefully this puts to rest any concerns you have about Wanted - because you definitely don't want to miss it this weekend.
How involved were you in the production and the script? Did you ever visit the set?
Mark Millar: Oh God, yes. JG and I were producers on the picture. It's not like the old days where the creators get ripped off. We comic guys own these properties now and we're involved at various stages throughout the entire production. I met with the producers very soon after we did the deal and we agreed on lots of things before moving forward. Then I met with the director to see what he had in mind. Then we had notes on various drafts of the scripts from the very large team of writers working on the movie. Then they flew me out in February to watch over a final cut and make some dialogue tweaks. Comics are very autonomous, but a movie is a huge collaboration.
Were you ever concerned that the story would deviate too far from your own comic and become something else entirely?
Millar: I was when I saw an early draft of the script, before Timur came on board. The super-powers were removed and the whole thing was a very straight crime story. The producers felt we could have legal problems with the super-villain stuff in the book as so much was analogous of Marvel and DC characters and history, but Timur came up with an interesting way of giving the killers powers again. Once he was onboard I knew the property was safe. He just absolutely got it and kept about 70% of the book. There's a lot of new stuff he came up with for the middle act, but the first hour and the last half hour is the same as the book for the most part. And the changes make it better.
How much communication did you have with Timur?
Millar: We swap emails and phone calls semi-regularly. I love him to bits. Being Russian, he has no idea what I'm saying half the time because I have a thick Scottish accent and being Scottish, English is like a second language to me, too. But we get on very well, despite all this.
Although the film ended up with all of the blood and violence that's featured in the comic, was there ever a consideration to tone it down or did the production team always plan for it to be as violent as the comic?
Millar: No way. I would have walked. This was always going to be R rated. The guys always completely got that and Universal assured me this wouldn't be a problem. They've been terrific on this thing from day one.
Have you seen the film? What did you think of the final result?
Millar: Fucking Hell. I loved it. I could not love it more. As the writer of the original material, it's weird passing your wee baby over to someone else, but this was like putting someone up for adoption and seeing him come back as Einstein. It's the best comic adaptation I think I've ever seen and hopefully heralds a whole new type of superhero material. Suddenly, the old characters seem pretty old. Timur really raised the bar here. Batman better be really, really good to top this.
Thanks to Mark and Top Cow for setting this up. It's truly great to hear that Millar's involvement was so integral and that they didn't deviate too far from the original story. Most will find that Wanted kicks a lot more ass than they might be expecting this weekend. It definitely surpassed all my expectations. I hope you enjoy it!
Special thanks is owed to Dave from my favorite geek site Geeks of Doom for actually setting this interview up. Thanks for the help putting this together my friend!