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Graphic Arts As Literature
Is he right for the role
Casting is vital. The second pair of "Batman" movies stunk because the roles were regarded as dress-up exercises. Christopher Reeve's bemused humanity made Superman seem even more lonesome and alien, a key part of the hero's personality.
Can we forget Arnold Schwarzenegger as "Conan"? There's another Conan movie in pre-production but can we handle it if Arnold isn't aboard?
A fine actress and visual stunner like Halle Berry was a good-looking Catwoman, but the movie reeked. In exactly the same part, Michelle Pfeiffer created one of the most memorable roles of the last couple of decades, but she had the aid of a very talented director and excellent writing.
Actors are just putty in movie roles. No wonder many talk about going back to the stage, where they are masters of their own talent.
Although there are too many things that can go wrong with a film, from the initial pitch meeting to the premiere, it generally boils down to writing. Add to that the cultural investment fans have made into well-loved characters, and making movies out of comic books gets sticky.
Here's some of the casting for comic-book movies now in production: In "Fantastic Four," it's Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/ The Thing, Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm/ Human Torch, Jessica Alba as Susan Storm/Invisible Woman and Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom; Wesley Snipes will continue in a third "Blade" movie; Nicholas Cage is "Ghost Rider"; Ben Affleck returns as "Daredevil" and Jennifer Garner returns as "Elektra": the whole cast of "X-Men" return for a third film; Drew Barrymore is "Barbarella"; Vincent Cassel is Lt. Mike "Blueberry"; Ray Park as "Iron Fist"; and Brandon Routh (who?) as Superman, after Nicholas Cage (what?) took a pass.
Going into production, apparently quite soon, is a film based on the "Hawaiian Dick" three-volume comic book. Cast in the lead role of Byrd, a down-on-his-luck private eye, is jokester Johnny Knoxville, not really an actor but certainly comfortable before the camera. He also looks the part.
For a comic book, "Hawaiian Dick" is fairly modest, an atmospheric comic-noir based on equal parts hard-boiled B-movie, "Hawaiian Eye" and retro-'50s kitsch. The creators for Image Comics were Steven Griffin and B. Clay Moore. The production company is New Line, and the filmmaker are Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, who previously did "Jason vs. Freddy."
It will probably do OK. Lucky for the filmmakers, there won't be any expectations. Few people have any preconceptions about the hero, whoever he is.
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