Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. While running around like mad at the San Diego Comic-Con I was able to carve out about 10 minutes to talk with one of the biggest names in comic books. Frank Miller was in town promoting the Sin City sequel which gave me all the excuse I needed to sit down with him for a little bit.
I had met him a couple of times before, but it has been a long time since I've seen him. I don't know if he's getting over an illness or something, but he seemed a little weak and I was worried he might not be in the mood to talk. That concern was unfounded as he was just as excitable and sharp as ever when discussing his work on the two Sin City films.
We didn't have a whole lot of time, but I think the chat turned out pretty well. Hope you guys enjoy it!
Quint: I visited you guys on the set of the first Sin City... I was there when Elijah Wood was... well, “feeding the dog,” I guess you could say. But I didn't get a chance to come by while you were making the sequel. Was the tone on set any different or did it just feel like the family getting back together?
Frank Miller: It was a mixed bag. It was the family getting together because just about every surviving member of the original cast is in the sequel, but there's a whole new influx of talent. Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and many other people are really outstanding in it. You won't forget their roles.
We also have a new Miho, Jamie Chung, who is... She walked onto the set and owned that part completely. She had the attitude and she can swing a sword like nobody's business.
Quint: Nice! That's kind of crucial for that character! I know that you guys have been trying to get the movie going forever. I remember when Angelina Jolie was supposed to be the dame to kill for and thinking that was cool, but I have to say I'm more excited you guys got Eva Green.
Frank Miller: She's spectacular. I wasn't really familiar with Eva's work before, but when I saw her and Josh do my personal favorite scene from A Dame to Kill For, which is a scene where they first meet in a bar and she kind of tries to romance him... They gave such a nuanced and skillful performance that I took them both aside, separately, and told them what they did was perfect.
I would say everybody threw themselves into the parts that had been created. Nobody was coming in and saying “I've got a completely different take on this character.” Sin City is the world it is. Believe me, Marv is still Marv and Mickey is better than ever.
Quint: It's weird... When I try to picture Mickey Rourke in my head I always see Marv first. I don't know if he's aging into the character or my brain just think that's his perfect role...
Frank Miller: (laughs) Yeah, but he's still got a bridge to his nose, which we have to fix.
Quint: When I saw you and Robert work together on the first one he seemed to be doing a lot of the camera stuff and you were always talking about motivation and giving direction to the actors. Is that how you guys worked together again on this one?
Frank Miller: There's that plus I did a lot more drawing on this one because we had two new stories and because I was much more comfortable in the role. I was ready to direct the actors by showing them what I wanted rather than just trying to talk them through it.
Quint: I guess you also kind of work with the camera, too, you just do it before you're on the set since Robert uses so much of your framing from your art. And he also copies your lighting, so I guess you could take a DP credit, too!
Frank Miller: We bounce things back and forth. Robert is also a cartoonist. I remember one of my favorite moments was when I looked at Jessica Alba when she was striking a pose with a crossbow. I said, “Don't change anything. That's perfect.” And she said, “It's what you drew.” She was right. It was exactly what I'd drawn! And it was impossible. I'm a cartoonist. I don't draw realistically, but somehow she was able to bend and turn in the exact pose I was looking for.
Quint: It must be nice that the actors wanted to be as true as possible to your source. I think that's one of the great successes of the first Sin City is that it's probably the most comic booky comic book movie ever made. It felt like a moving comic book.
Frank Miller: Yeah. Also, the actors came in having seen the first one, or having been in the first one, and so they knew the world and were comfortable within it. Sin City at first is a bit of a tough chew. You've got to get used to a completely different sort of reality. For Rosario Dawson and whip on an executioner's mask without a moment's pause and for Mickey to play Marv with both nuance and humor in the midst of general carnage is wonderful and part of the reason why is because they knew the world better. This one, if anything, is truer than the first.
Quint: It's great when you make something cool and people just want to come and play in your sandbox.
Frank Miller: And we did play. We had a lot of fun!
Quint: Is there a particular sequence that you're excited for the audience to see? Perhaps something in one of the new stories that people aren't expecting?
Frank Miller: This movie doesn't let up. It's hard for me to isolate any individual sequence. I can flit around and tell you the whole movie and completely confuse your audience, but I will say that Jessica Alba carries around one mean crossbow and she fires it through a chain link fence very well.
Quint: And she poses perfectly with it!
Frank Miller: Yes!
That was my short time with Mr. Miller at the Con. I still haven't seen Sin City: A Dame To Kill For yet, but luckily for me the film is out in theaters this weekend, so I'll get to fix that in the very, very near future.