Comic book legend and director Frank Miller was on hand to promote his newest Lionsgate film The Spirit, along with producer Deborah Del Prete, siren Jamie King (Lorelei), and the mysterious Gabriel Macht (The Spirit) during this afternoon's comic-con offerings. The room of 3000+ fanboys heaved a collective sign of disappointment when it was announced that neither Scarlett Johansson nor Eva Mendes would be attending the panel to show off their talents.
By Sara Castillo
Miller adapted The Spirit from his late friend and mentor Will Eisner's work of the same name. Frank is a master at weaving humor and violence and he said that Eisner's book made it easy, but was quick to assure the legions of fans that not a move was made during production without considering "what would Will do?" (If only more people thought that way.) When asked about the challenge of casting the film, Frank told the crowd that he wanted a fairly unknown actor to play Denny Colt and that in Hollywood a "man" is hard to come by. How does comic book legend Frank Miller define a man? Two words: Bruce. Willis. Thankfully, he decided to go with relative unknown Gabriel Macht and we've been spared from seeing Bruce in a mask anytime soon.
But, Miller's biggest casting challenge had to be putting a face on a character with no, well, face. Who could possibly fill the famous gloves of The Octopus, not to mention scare the pants off the audience? Enter Comic-Con favorite, Samuel L. Jackson. (I swear the fans in the audience were way more excited about him than Jamie King) Jackson said he was "honored to put flesh and bone to a character that has until now has only been a pair of hands" and that working with Frank was unusual because he was constantly open to suggestions, including Jackson's many costuming suggestions for The Octopus. Hence, the black Hitler costume. And then there was the problem with the big gun, or lack thereof. According to Frank, Samuel tried guns so large that they made him look like a transformer, but the quest continues to find a gun big enough to suite the actor's taste.
So, what does the movie look like? From the three clips and the trailer that I saw, it sort of looks like Zoro meets Sin City. But, I am holding out hope, because there is a pretty great scene where The Octopus overpowers The Spirit by slamming a muddied, discarded commode over his head. And in the words of The Octopus "toilets are always funny." Keep a lookout for The Spirit visiting theaters on Christmas day.