Comic-Con 2010: Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren Paint Hall H RED
by Ethan Anderton
July 22, 2010
We got our first look at the Summit adaptation of DC Comics action-packed comic book RED when the first trailer popped up online last month. But today, the lucky thousands in Hall H at Comic-Con were treated to the world premiere of a brand new trailer featuring Bruce Willis kicking Karl Urban's ass, Helen Mirren nonchalantly mentioning to Mary-Louise Parker that she kills people, John Malkovich being, well, John Malkovich and even Richard Dreyfuss getting punched in the face. Having been somewhat underwhelmed by the first trailer for Red, this trailer had some magic to work on me. So how did that go?
At its core, Red looks like a geriatric version of The Losers. That's not to say Bruce Willis is too old for this shit (though Mirren, Freeman and Malkovich are certainly up there in age), but these are retired CIA agents who, as we know are extremely dangerous, and won't turn the other cheek. When Urban is given a BlackOps mission to take out these CIA retirees, they decide to get the band back together and take down the agency. And you know they mean business when they shoot a magnum at a propelled rocket. Interestingly enough though, Urban brought some realism to his villainous role as his character is one with a family to support. He's a guy just doing his job, he's not out for blood for no good reason. That sounds like serious business.
But there's plenty of room for fun with the thrill-seeking Parker providing plenty of comic-relief alongside the paranoid antics of Malkovich, and there's no doubt the entire cast had plenty of fun on set. Bruce Willis said, "Every week we got another big movie star that we were all excited about. It was like recess, it was so easy to do and so fun to work with all these actors." Meanwhile, the lovely Helen Mirren was glad to take a break from her usual dramatic work when she said, "It's great to have guns instead of words." Hell yes!
So obviously the actors had some good fun on the film, but what is the audience going to get out of it? More specifically, what can fans of Warren Ellis' comic book expect from the adaptation? Well for better or worse Ellis has said that he didn't intervene or interject much for the film as he told director Robert Schwentke, "I want to see what you make of the film. it's your job to make an adaptation, not a translation." In addition, he added with a little bit of snark: "You never write a graphic novel thinking about making it a movie. That way lies madness; or Mark Millar." Now that's how you kick-ass. Should we expect a rebuttal from Millar soon?
Count me on board as being much more interested in Red than I was after the first trailer, that's for damn sure! I was most intrigued by producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura's take on the characters, which is that they wanted to allow anyone to relate to them, no matter what age or profession. He describes it as a story about anyone who's ever been discarded or thrown away because of age and whatnot and how you just have to get right back on the horse. I'm looking forward to Bruce Willis getting back on a real action horse with Helen Mirren along for the ride after this panel and the new trailer (which you can see here). How about you?