The 2005 film adaptation of Frank Miller’s Sin City seems very odd in retrospect – a star-studded, ultraviolent, mostly black-and-white crime film that hewed so close to its source material that the comics were often cited as its storyboards. Director Robert Rodriguez’s efforts to make a sequel have only recently gotten off the ground – as of this month, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For has officially begun production.
For all the excitement this might engender, the announcement of the Sin City sequel’s filming was tinged with melancholy. Previously set to reprise his role as sociopathic Mob enforcer Manute, actor Michael Clarke Duncan died in September. After a pitched search, the movie’s production has announced Duncan’s replacement: veteran actor Dennis Haysbert (Wreck-It Ralph).
In a casting report published by The Hollywood Reporter, it was announced that Dennis Haysbert will step into the distinctive cap and uniform of Manute in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Known largely for portraying commanding authority figures such as President David Palmer in 24 and Jonas Blane in The Unit, this is one of most notable instances of Haysbert taking on an outright villainous role.
If Sin City: A Dame to Kill For remains as slavishly faithful to its source material as the original film, it should be noted that the Manute played by Haysbert will be different for reasons other than just a simple actor switch. For one, the hulking gangster will not sport the distinctive golden eye that stood out against the first film’s stark black-and-white palette. The graphic novel A Dame to Kill For takes place before the previous film’s adaptation of The Big Fat Kill, wherein Manute ended up on the wrong end of a considerable number of firearms. Though still a hardcase with a penchant for creative violence, the Manute of A Dame to Kill For is younger, less connected, and has yet to meet with the incident that leads to the adoption of his unnerving false eyeball.
At first glance, Dennis Haysbert may seem like an unusual choice to fill the role so completely embodied by Michael Clarke Duncan. After all, he doesn’t have the reputation for overpowering physicality that Duncan brought to most of his roles (especially in the case of Manute).
In all actuality, Haysbert is less than an inch shorter than Duncan (he’s 6’4″, compared to Duncan’s 6’5″). Not only does he have the height to make Manute a towering figure, Haysbert definitely has the dramatic chops to match Duncan’s previous portrayal of quiet menace. Though he’s popularly known as David Palmer and the voice of Allstate Insurance, Haysbert can achieve some serious dramatic intensity when push comes to shove. The real question is whether he can use a career’s worth of experience to match the performance already made memorable by another noted actor.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For will break down the doors of theaters on October 4th, 2013.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter