Frank Miller Defends His Quirky Vision for The Spirit

November 3, 2008
Source: LA Times

Frank Miller Defends His Quirky Vision for The Spirit

Los Angeles Times columnist Geoff Boucher strikes again! This weekend he chats with Frank Miller, who we all know is going solo this December with The Spirit. Boucher talks with Miller about the ambitious film, which he is still finishing down in San Francisco, and focused heavily on how unique the whole thing is. In the end, Miller is just trying to defend his quirky vision, claiming that Will Eisner himself "always wanted to do something fresh and new, not some stodgy old thing that aspires to be revered." Whether or not I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the Comic-Con footage, I'm still very anxious to see The Spirit as soon as possible, just because I'm so curious to see Frank Miller's solo directorial effort in its entirety.

"I adored Will Eisner and took a real 'Don't tread on me' approach when I came to this movie. At the same time I was willing to tread all over it," Miller starts out saying. "I don't want anybody to bow to this movie. I want a ripping good yarn. It is not an antique." That is obviously evident based on the trailers alone, but even I can't fully get into a film so bizarre with fight scenes that are reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon and not the dark, painful violence we're used to see in comic book movies nowadays. Even Samuel Jackson, who plays the villain in the film, fully supports Miller's unique vision. "There are some great scenes where we just go at it," he says. "Frank knew what he wanted to do. You look at this movie and you can tell it's his. Nobody else would make this movie this way, which is why he's doing movies now."

The rest of the interview is definitely worth reading, with Miller talking about everything from women to violence and more. "The old Eisner comics were loaded with romance, beautiful and dangerous women, and that was a way to explain the sparks flying between the Spirit and every woman he meets," Miller adds. So with less than two months left until The Spirit hits theaters (on Christmas Day, December 25th), what does Miller leave us with to chew over? "I'm sure when this movie comes out it will stir up a fiery debate." Indeed it will, but that's not all. "People have been loving the way comic books have been reaching the screen, but I don't like when everybody drinks the Kool-Aid. I like to shake things up and tell the story the best way possible. And I can tell you firsthand, that's what Will Eisner liked too."

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This is called a pre-emptive strike against all the Hateraide to come from Eisner fan boys, such as myself.

William Mize on Nov 3, 2008


Sin City 2 looks alright I guess...

Kail on Nov 3, 2008


I still understand where Miller is coming from but he couldn't do this as a comic book? He's bringing the Spirit to the big screen for the mass audiences... I would think he would want to honor the tone that Eisner set up. Yes, it makes perfect sense to not repeat what someone else has already done... in comic books... but for the first major film adaptation of this character, I would much rather see "Will Eisner's The Spirit" as opposed "Frank Miller's Will Eisner's The Spirit."

BahHumbug on Nov 3, 2008


I think it looks pretty damn awesome. But I'm just gonna have to wait to see it for myself.

Movieraider321 on Nov 3, 2008


You know, Had Frank Miller done this as a comic book, most folks would be calling him visionary for reinventing an old classic. They said the same thing with Swamp thing and with his work on batman with year one and The dark knight returns and dare devil. I understand that film is different from comic books, but I am still willing to give him the same consideration when it comes to his vision so that I may enjoy or hate this movie on it's own merits, and not it's pedigree.

ERivas on Nov 3, 2008


that last trailer got me going. i really hope its great.

Darrin on Nov 3, 2008


agree with Darrin. the first trailer was ok, second blew, but the last one was incredible. i see the potential in this and i hope it lives up to its name.

Al on Nov 3, 2008


I agree with ERivas(5). Frank Miller's doing exactly what he always does, he's doing something completely different and strange and unusual. Except this time he's doing it on screen as opposed to the pages of a comic book. It's not the first time he's sparked up a whole lot of arguing and criticism over a new project of his (All Star Batman and Robin anyone?). It probably won't be revolutionary or anything, but I know it'll be something i haven't seen before.

Da Man on Nov 3, 2008


Unless of course he Sin Cities all over it. But i'm not too worried about that.

Da Man on Nov 3, 2008


I'm undecided about this movie, but I have a definite opinion on this quote: "...I can't fully get into a film so bizarre with fight scenes that are reminiscent of a Saturday morning cartoon and not the dark, painful violence we're used to see in comic book movies nowadays..." Well, that's your loss. Why does every movie have to mimic what's currently en vogue to be good? Why does it have to be naturalistic? What's so heinous about stylisation? Try and approach this with an open mind, Alex. It seems strange to criticise a film for what it ISN'T. Of course, The Spirit could be terrible when we finally get to see all of it - the early footage didn't knock my socks off - but I'll give this a chance.

Daaaave on Nov 3, 2008


Anyone who has read at least one issue of Miller's All Star Batman and Robin knows the man has lost his damn mind. I guess we'll see whether his taken his med or not come Christmas.

gogirlwonder on Nov 3, 2008


Frank Miller is well past the height of his powers. He was never a talented artist as his clunky, anatomically skewed style (back when you could call it a "style") proved from the first pages entrusted to him. His art was, at best, functional. What gave his artwork its true power was its composition, Noir, and its pacing. His strength, when he had it, was in his writing. This aside, the most infuriating thing about Frank Miller (back when I was naive enough to get angry over it) is his utterly unfettered, credibility-erasing hypocrisy. From his vitriol on religion, its pretty clear Mr. Miller has either been betrayed by his own beliefs, or molested by a representative of them, as no one is this hateful about faith without some scarring incident. Miller will ridicule, mock and lampoon any tenet of faith -- then, without so much as a wink of self-review, turn right around and address and aspect OF FAITH under a different name, then call it his own. With his many works -- 300 being the latest example -- Miller has showcased his perverse enthusiasm for warping history, re-writing characters and unhesitatingly deleting ANY viewpoint that does not agree with his on every point. Truth and history are meaningless to this guy. Given his past, when I see Miller taking the reins of The Spirit, I see a guy trying to strip Will Eisner's tone and texture from The Spirit so it can be remade in Miller's image. Of course, this is speculation on my part. When I watch the movie I'll know better Miller's motives, but I think the leopard cannot change his spots.

Accusamend on Nov 4, 2008


CORRECTION Third paragraph, last sentence should have read: "Miller will ridicule, mock and lampoon any tenet of faith — then, without so much as a wink of self-review, turn right around and re-brand every aspect of that faith under a different name, then call it his own." My bad.

Accusamend on Nov 4, 2008


Different, stange, whatever. I LOVE me some Frank Miller but this movie looks like poo. Corny, predictable, tiresome poo.

Voice Of Reason on Nov 5, 2008

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