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Frank Miller's '300'

Category: 300 News
Article Date: September 27, 2006 | Publication: Comics2Film | Author: Rob M. Worley

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It has been a long, tough road for Frank Miller and Hollywood. He once vowed never to work in Hollywood again, and now that he's taking the film world by storm with adaptations of his comic work, he hasn't wavered on that one bit. With the wildly successful take on Sin City, it was only a matter of time before it became obvious to studios that graphic novels have already done half of a film production's work in storyboarding the whole idea. And now the idea of making films directly from their source material is more of a reality. I had a chance to sit down with Frank Miller to talk about the upcoming Warner release of 300.

Q: So, at last you've made your peace with Hollywood?

FM: I don't know, I haven't been spending much time in Hollywood, I've spent a lot of time in Austin, Texas and Montreal, Canada.

Q: How much of the graphic novel makes it into the movie?

FM: All of it. There might be some subtle things withdrawn, for the adaptation, but it's my book, plus some other material that was brought in.

Q: What was the difference in approach with this from what was done in Sin City?

FM: They were close. The screens were green on Sin City and Blue on 300, but it was still a matter of using the live actors and creating the world around them.

Q: When Zach came to you with his additions for 300, what was your initial reaction?

FM: Additions?

Q: There are some new scenes?

FM: Oh yeah, well, we talked them over. I had some suggestions, and he's a very good collaborator, but one thing I learned from directing was that it really was in his hands, So, ultimately, I had to defer. If he was doing anything that I thought was outrageously wrong, I would have raised a stink as the rights holder, but, um, it seemed to be in very good shape and I didn't want to be an impediment to another director.

Q: Have you seen any of these new scenes?

FM: Yeah, well, what I saw was a rough cut. More of it has to do with the Queen and that's the main change. It's mostly from the treatment that Zach is so good at. As you might have seen on the trailer, the combat scenes are unbelievable.

Q: Is the giant stuff intact?

FM: There's a lot of that stuff and just weirder and weirder Persians.

Q: So much is shot in a sound studio, were you involved much in that to see them pull that off?

FM: No. I realized that there's only room for one director and that was Zach. I visited the set, just to check it out and I got to see the combat scenes and got to know some of the cast, but this was Zach's movie.

Q: You say you've enjoyed making movies in Austin, Texas, what was the thing that swayed your support for more of a Hollywood production?

FM: It was the determination of three people that did it. Gianni Nunnari; who really spearheaded the whole thing and pushed to make it happen; Mark Canton who believed in it and also pushed it and pushed it; and Zach Snyder who really got it and made it ready to go.

Q: Any other major departures from the graphic novel?

FM: All of it. (Everyone laughs). No, not really.

Q: So, it's all pretty consistent

FM: Well, it's consistent with the storylines, but a lot of my shots are used. But, you know, when you make the adaptation there is a lot of creating that has to be done. They had terrific storyboards, based on the book, but the book was just key art. And Zach's a real comparer, so when they started shooting they really had to take their time on it.

Q: Of the footage you've seen what was the most satisfying thing that you created and got to see come to life?

FM: It's really hard to tell. The darker part of me would be when they start to push the dead soldiers on the immortals. It's so perfectly realized, but the combat stuff is pretty stunning. There are hundreds of images that I just looked at and, if I have to pick an ultimate favorite it's the shot of the boy stabbing the spear and seeing the shadow of the wolf with the spear going through his mouth. That was one of my favorite panels that I drew and he captured it to perfection.

Q: Is it essential to use green screens to properly bring a comic book movie to the screen?

FM: As a cartoonist it certainly appeals to me more, but I'm not saying this is the only way. It's a look at the very first Superman movie, there's very little blue screen used and it's certainly a successful movie. It's just a more expensive and slower way to do it and I happen to love the visual style of comics and I tend to veer toward things that are a bit sillier.

Q: Can I ask you about timing. Can you talk about 300 and why is now a good time?

FM: In terms of 300, 300 Special ops against forces from the middle east, I mean, do the math. But it's mainly just a timeless tale. Some stories don't exist in real time and they don't get made in real time, and if it hasn't gotten changed since 480 B.C. I think it's holding up just fine.


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