Nicolas Winding Refn Working on Film Adaptation of ‘The Incal’ Comic

Published 2 years ago by , Updated June 13th, 2013 at 6:37 pm,

John DiFool in The Incal Nicolas Winding Refn Working on Film Adaptation of The Incal Comic

Nicolas Winding Refn recently followed up his Drive success by collaborating with leading man Ryan Gosling once more on Only God Forgives, an action thriller set in the world of Thai boxing. The film premiered at Cannes this year, and while it may not have walked away with the Palme d’Or it certainly made waves, leaving critics sharply divided in their assessment of it. Some described it as a masterpiece, others vehemently dismissed it as offensive trash, but there was almost unanimous agreement on the fact that Only God Forgives is superlatively violent, to the point that a significant number of audience members walked out in disgust before the end.

Since one of the other common criticisms of Only God Forgives was that it was too similar to Drive, perhaps it’s for the best that Refn has elected to take a very different direction with his next film project. He was originally planning to direct an adaptation of William F. Nolan’s science fiction novel Logan’s Run, which was originally adapted for the screen in 1976, but since Ryan Gosling has dropped out of playing the lead role the entire project seems to be on hold.

Whether Logan’s Run will remain in hiatus indefinitely, or whether Refn is still attached to the project at all, remains unclear, but the writer-director is now turning his attention to another sci-fi adaptation. In an interview with France Inter, Refn revealed that his next project would be an adaptation of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ comic book series The Incal.

Excerpt from Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius The Incal Nicolas Winding Refn Working on Film Adaptation of The Incal Comic

Originally released in the ’80s and ’90s as a 12-issue series (which were recently collected for publication in a single volume), The Incal is similar to other dystopian cyberpunk comics like Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. It follows the life of private investigator John DiFool, an anti-hero born in the lower levels of the City Shaft, upon whom it is widely conjectured (to the point that Jodorowsky once attempted to sue Luc Besson for plagiarism) that Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element is based. The comic book series is unashamedly weird and often brutal, making it a good fit for Refn’s directing style.

This isn’t the first time that Refn has planned to adapt a sci-fi comic book series. He’s currently attached to executive produce and direct a TV show based on Barbarella, and recently explained that the series is still at the writing stage (Neal Purvis and James Wade (Skyfall) are scripting).

The Incal has received much praise from critics, but is little-known to North American comic book fans. For those who have read it, do you approve of this directing choice, or are you just hoping that a film adaptation will bring more attention to Jodorowsky and Moebius’ original work?


Source: France Inter [via CBR]

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  1. He could make it work. It’s just mental enough to suit his style and as you said, it can be pretty brutal and Refn has admitted that violence is sort of his “thing”.

    I could see him making it with the design style of The Fifth Element, the grit of Blade Runner and the violence of A Clockwork Orange if we’re gonna use popular and well known movies to possibly compare this to. Who knows though until he actually starts shooting.

    • I don’t know. Incal gets pretty weird and unsatisfying towards the end. Jodorowsky sued the makers of 5th element and Moebius joined him in solidarity, though not in heart (he worked on the production). But a 5th element style movie would be the way to go.

  2. Tin-Tin was relatively unknown to most NA audiences, too, and that did fairly well. I imagine, if done well, this would fair the same. I’d never heard of it before, but I’ll be checking it out now (which of course, is always a boost for exposure).

    • Was it?

      Wow. See, I grew up with Tintin cartoons in the UK (still never finished that creepy Egyptian arc though, not sure if they ever aired that third episode) so that’s a surprise to hear.

  3. Alejandro Jodorowsky is one of the greatest movie director who have ever stepped behind the camera … His name should be whispered in the same breath with Ozu, Kieślowski, Kubrick, etc…

    • This!

    • Jodorowsky has a unique voice as a writer but the guy couldn’t direct his way out of a paper bag.

  4. I think any fan of Moebius should be excited about this! Based on the preview, it looks like they’re using the art and storyline directly from the series/book so I don’t really have any worries. The Incal is very bizarre, violent, and wonderful… I don’t see how this could be a bad thing even if the voice acting is awful. I’d love to see Moebius’s art come to life either way! This is by far my favorite comic by one of my favorite artists.. and Fifth Element just happens to be my favorite movie. Funny..

  5. I’m thinking maybe I was looking at the wrong preview… is this going to be live action??

  6. This jumped straight onto my “must see” list.

  7. Jodorowsky has a unique voice as a writer but the guy couldn’t direct his way out of a paper bag.

  8. Adrien Brody for John DiFool!