Comic-Con '08: The Spirit

Here's Screen Rant's live coverage of Lionsgate's panel for "The Spirit." It will be starting in about 10 minutes and I'll be live-blogging it. It'll be interesting to see if they have any new footage that will look better than the awful trailer that was released a while ago.

This will be the last "live coverage" item that I'll be doing today but there will be further Comic-Con updates later on today. I apologize in advance if I make any errors so feel free to make corrections in the comments and I'll update the post accordingly. It's a bit difficult to pay attention to what's going on, take it all in and try to get it typed up simultaenously, but I'm doing my best to cover this for you!

Writer/Director Frank Miller and producer Deborah Del Prete were introduced. Frank talked about his relationship to Will Eisner and he became visibly emotional while talking about how Jim Shooter introduced Miller's work to Eisner, where Eisner criticized his work and that started a 25 year (friendly) argument.

Much like Zack Snyder said in the Watchmen panel, one of the reason's Miller wanted to do the movie is because he was afraid someone else might screw it up.

Deborah said she's always been a huge comic book fan and has been attending Comic-Con for many years. She stated this was a dream project for her. She them went on to thank many people in what seemed to be an Oscar speech (just kidding).

Deborah said that she wanted Frank Miller's vision for the movie because she wanted to see his the artist's vision on the big screen.

There was a new trailer for the film which showed more footage than in the previous one. For the most part it had the same footage but actually added some action scenes. Overall it still just strikes me as an odd film - which I suppose may be the point.

The audience reacted well to the trailer, however.

Miller addressed the issue that some fans have complained about regarding the fact that the character of The Octopus is only shown as a pair of gloves in the comic. He said that youcan get away with that in a 7 page comic but in a movie you need more and for the audience to be able to see the character, relate to him and fear him.

They talked about how Sam kept wanting bigger guns during production, and constantly saying "where's the next one?" Miller tried like crazy to come up with bigger and crazier guns for him. Eventually Miller came up with an idea to wire together multiple guns.

Jackson said that eventually the guns got so big that Jackson couldn't even hold the weight of them.

He also said that Frank Miller was completely without ego which was very different from most directors. He would make suggestions to Miller about camera positions and such and he would be open to trying it.

Then  it went off into a non-sequiter discussion about Sam Jackson's favorite action figure (Mace Windu). He also joked about Nick Fury being a black man and how evolved from being a white man years ago (pretty funny stuff and the audience enjoyed it).

Jackson discussed the background of the Octopus character and how he was encouraged to wear whatever he wanted (I'm not familiar with the source material or how it relates to all the different looks for Jackson in the film).

Deborah talked about how there all these different types of women in the film, "enough to satisfy every man's fantasy."

Eva Mendes couldn't make it due to other commitments.

Jamie King joined the panel. She plays Lorelei Rox, and Miller told her that she represents the angel of death. She is a mystery character that is woven throughout the film.

Miller says that one of the ways you know The Spirit is a noble hero is that he is able to give up being with someone like Lorelei. [Although to me the trailer makes him look like a guy that is basically a gigolo - Vic].

Miller introduced the next clip by saying that San Serif is a fan of jewelry, and she gets a lead on an enormous cache of jewelry. He also said that the technical term for filming underwater is "a f***ing nightmare" and that the clip was supposed to be Eva underwater, but it was filmed dry.

The clip showed Eva diving underwater to get to a couple of trunks full of jewelry and stylistically it looked very cool.

Miller said it's very difficult to find a man in Hollywood to play a hero, and that's why we keep seeing Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and Clive Owen showing up in those roles. He wanted to find someone relatively unknown to play the role: Gabriel Macht.

Macht said the character can be funny, deadly and he falls in love with every woman he meets. The Spirit also has some sort of pheromone that attracts women so they tend to fall in love with him.

Another clip was shown that actually shows a bit of acting between two characters - The Spirit and the woman he really loves (sorry, don't recall the name). It drew me in more than what I've seen before, but I still don't think this movie is going to "play in Peoria." As a matter of fact, this is the first major movie panel I attended where I saw people starting to leave before it was open.

That could be because aside from Sam Jackson, the rest of the panel wasn't terribly charismatic, and Frank Miller seems kind of like a fanboy whose made it big (and good for him on that point).

Surprisingly, there was one final clip that highlighted the relationship between The Spirit and The Octopus. It showed a battle in a muddy mess between the two and highlights their nigh-invulnerability and was actually probably the best thing I've seen from the movie so far.

Who knows? Maybe this is one of those movies that works much better as a whole than seen in small snippets.

The Spirit opens on Christmas Day 2008.

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