Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gaiman On "MirrorMask" and "Beowulf" ...

Comic book author Neil Gaiman, basking in the current Henson film adaptation of his "MirrorMask" and the recent casting announcement of Paramount's big screen treatment of "Stardust", recently revealed his thoughts to the UK's Guardian Unlimited, regarding the comic book-to-film process :

"Comics and movies have always been a two-way street," said Gaiman.

"Will Eisner's seminal "The Spirit", back in the 1940s, took from Orson Welles and the films noirs as much as it borrowed from radio or Broadway, and there have been movies made from comics pretty much as long as either medium has existed."

"I was writing a script for "Beowulf" last year, and, worried that a climactic airborne dragon battle was going a little over the top, I called the director, Robert Zemeckis, to warn him.

"Don't worry," (Zemeckis) said. "There is nothing you could write that will cost me more than a million dollars a minute to film."

"The comic is, joyfully, a bastard medium that has borrowed its vocabulary and ideas from literature, science fiction, poetry, fine art, diaries, film and illustration. It would be nice to think that comics, and those of us who come from a comics background, bring something special to film."

"I expect that the next subject of films will be breakfast-cereal mascots - a film that chronicles how 'Snap', 'Crackle' and 'Pop' met...Or the 'Tony the Tiger' movie."

"But I remain optimistic. While Frank Miller's film of "Sin City" isn't as powerful as his comics, it was still his vision up there on the screen in the film he made with Robert Rodriguez, uncompromised by the change from one medium to another.

"Nearly 20 years after the first "Batman" film, I realise that film doesn't confer legitimacy on comics...

"But it's still an awful lot of fun."