Thursday, January 18, 2007

Comic fanboys rejoice and recoil

Well I have a curious mixture of joy and fear going on right now.

Browsing the trade sites, I just learned (yes I know, I'm late to the party), that Iron Man, is being made into a movie by John Favreau; and "Preacher is being made into a series by HBO..


Ok first, Iron man. Tony Stark Frikken Rocks OK? Now here's where the fear comes in... They cast Robert Downey jr. as Stark.

Ok, Ok, I get the fact that as a rich and brilliant addict, Downey will have a a greater insight into the character. I also know for a fact that both Favreau and Downey are fans of the book... but, but, Robert Downey Jr. is... wimpy I guess is the word. Tony stark is very much not wimpy. I can believe Downey as maybe Starman, or some other wry sardonic type... or hell he'd have made a better foggy then Favreau did, but Tony Stark? It just doesn't seem right.

If he had the acting ability, I'd suggest Oded Fehr for Stark, but really it's just the look and the strength that he's got. Maybe Eric Bana could pull it off. I know Hugh Jackman could, but he's already got one rubbersuit, and besides, his personality is wrong for stark. Hell, Russell Crowe could be great, or maybe Guy Pierce... and yes I know I just mentioned four ANZACs for the same role.

Ok, so Downey IS an incredible actor when he isn't too junked up; so for now I'm cautiously optimistic.

But it gets worse... the supporting cast... Pepper Potts is played by Gwenyth Paltrow... oh god no. Just no, wrong, uh uh. Drew Barrymore maybe, but very definitely not some brittified stick girl with no sense of humor. For anyone who thinks Paltrow wont suck here I have two words for you: Sky Captain.

Rhodey Rhoads (War Machine) is going to be Terrence Howard, which may work out because he's pretty good.

The Mandarin? Mike or Kevin O'Brien (The Guardsman), Obadiah Stain? All of them have been announced as being in the film, but no official casting announcements have been made.

Oh and the screenplay? Two writers who used to be sound guys and between them have only done one unknown movie. Then they fired them, and hired the guys who wrote "Children of Men".

The final straw? This quote from the wikipedia entry on the movie:
"Director Jon Favreau said that the film's plot would not deal with Tony Stark's personal problems, such as alcoholsim. Favreau noted that if there were sequels, Tony Stark's personal problems would be explored.[4]"
Tonys personal problems are what makes Iron man a great book, and not just some supersuit.

Yeah, the fear is winning here guys.

Now, Preacher on HBO... wow.. just wow.

If you are not familiar with Preacher; let me just say it is, I believe, the best book to come out of the 90s. Garth Ennis, though he's from Belfast, captured that western movie feel, American spirit, and Irish fatalism all in one; with punk cynicism and alienation dripping from every panel.

Ennis was the second writer for Judge Dredd (in 2000ad), and also co-created the Vertigo character Hitman (another great one by the by); and he's guested and contributed on so much I couldn't list them all.

I think an HBO series is just about the perfect vehicle for preacher. They know how to do gritty dirty stuff, and not pull any punches; and they don't shy from the supernatural in stories, without letting it ruing the story.

The only problem is, the vision... They're tapping different directors for every episode, as is typical for episodic television; the producers are a committee, and I cant seem to find who's starring (The crucial roles are Jesse Custer, the eponymous preacher; Tulip, and Cassidy, Jesses "friends"; God, and The Saint of Killers.).

I just don't see how different directors can maintain a consistent vision for the series. The plotting, the visuals, the feel; it's all just too critical. They approached Kevin Smith to direct an episode, and he actually said about the same thing, he didn't think he could do it. Reportedly Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarrantino have also been approached.

Again, the fear is winning here guys.

I need to start trolling AICN for updates, but meanwhile, let's hear your "perfect" casts for Iron Man and Preacher.

UPDATE: In between the time I wrote this this morning, and 1:11 pm, the wikipedia entry was updated with this.
Other media adaptations

For several years, a film adaptation by View Askew Productions was in the works, with James Marsden attached to play the lead. The project never materialized, although production got so far as to begin make up tests for the Arseface character, gruesome pictures of which can be found online [1]. At one point, Samuel L. Jackson, a comic book fan, expressed interest in playing the Saint of Killers.

In May of 2006, rumors began circulating that the cable TV network HBO might produce an adaptation of Preacher. In late November, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed this, reporting that the network was developing a one-hour series with executive producers Mark Steven Johnson and Howard Deutch, the writing-directing team that brought us Grumpier Old Men. Johnson will also write the pilot.

Mark Steven Johnson told SCI FI Wire that he plans to turn each issue of the comic into a single episode, which will be as close to the original source material as possible. "I gave [HBO] the comics, and I said, 'Every issue is an hour,'" Johnson said at a preview of his upcoming film Ghost Rider in Hollywood, Calif., on Nov. 30. "And it's exactly the book. ... I had my meeting yesterday, and Garth Ennis is on the phone, and we're all in the room, and Garth is like, 'You don't have to be so beholden to the comic.' And I'm like, 'No, no, no. It's got to be like the comic.' So that's what's so brilliant about it. It's just like, HBO, who else would do it but them? Nobody. ... HBO is just like, 'Bring it on.'" Johnson has also confirmed that this will include the various one-shots and mini-series.