Friday, August 22, 2014

  1. Frank Miller hates Hollywood

Back in the early 1990s, Frank Miller was done with Hollywood. Only Hollywood wasn’t quite done with him.
The influential graphic novelist put aside cartooning in the late 1980s to work on the two “Robocop” sequels. It didn’t go well.
“I learned that writing a screenplay is much like making a very pretty fire hydrant with a lot of dogs waiting for it,” Miller says, sitting in his Hell’s Kitchen studio. “I left the process not wanting to work in Hollywood ever again.”
Instead, he focused on creating a comic series he thought no one could possibly adapt into a film. The black-and-white “Sin City” serial first appeared in 1991 and told noirish tales of gun-toting lugs and pretty broads.
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Miller (left) with “Sin City” director Robert RodriguezPhoto: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
“It was just going to be a comic book, and then this crazy Texan, [director] Robert Rodriguez, approached me and showed me how it could be a movie,” Miller says. “He dragged me back into the movie business.”
“Sin City,” released in 2005, ably translated Miller’s stylish comic to the screen. Its sequel, “A Dame to Kill For,” hits theaters Thursday. Miller, 57, again serves as writer and co-director.
Although the artist has had an uneasy relationship with Hollywood, the irony is that his work is being used as the basis for much of what’s going on in entertainment today.
“I don’t think about it,” Miller says of his influence. “I avoid [adaptations], because I learned early on that if I watch other people’s interpretations of my characters, that I would disagree with them so vehemently that I would hate them.”
Let’s start with Batman. Miller is probably more responsible than anyone for changing the perception of the Caped Crusader from the “Biff! Pow!” camp hero to the grim Dark Knight that’s popular now.
His two 1980s comic-book series, “Batman: Year One” and “The Dark Knight Returns,” were used as inspiration for the 1989 movie by Tim Burton, as well as Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. And it appears 2016’s “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” will also strip-mine “The Dark Knight Returns”: Early footage shows a red-eyed Superman hovering menacingly above an armor-wearing Batman. (The concept of a grizzled, older Batman — played by 42-year-old Ben Affleck — is also owed to Miller.)
“I didn’t see [the footage],” Miller says. “I don’t want to see the movie, and unless they invite me, I’m not gonna see it.”
Next year’s Netflix series “Daredevil,” about a blind superhero who fights crime in Hell’s Kitchen, is expected to lean heavily on Miller’s early-’80s run on the comic book. Even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, currently sitting atop the box office, were created in 1984 as an homage to Miller.
The artist says he doesn’t “live in the past,” and is currently working on adapting more of his comics to the screen (without Rodriguez), including 1990’s “Hard Boiled” and “Give Me Liberty.” “I’m suspicious to talk about them until their names appear on a marquee,” he says. He’s learned some lessons.

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