That actually isn’t news. He’s been attached to make the movie for years - - since before 300 even opened. But not too much has been said about the movie in those three years. That is, until Superhero Hype finally trapped Mr. White into a corner and asked him, “ARE YOU STILL MAKING RONIN?!?!” in a movie Batman-style growl (actually, probably very calmly and politely).
To which he replied…
"Yeah absolutely… That's something I had to let go of for a period of time while I was directing THE LOSERS but I'm back here in Los Angeles and as I'm finishing post-production on THE LOSERS, I will be diving back into the development of RONIN. I'm just working along with the studio executives developing the story elements and they're attaching a writer in the spring to do a new pass on it."
“BUT HOW WILL YOU HANDLE THE COMICS’ INTRICACY?!?!,” they questioned.
To which, he answered…
"It's a very complex graphic novel and it needs very careful attention. Of course to make a movie of that scale, you need a lot of money to pay it justice, especially with the incredible visuals that Frank Miller has in it, but at the same time, in order to get a lot of money to make the movie, it has to have enough commercial appeal, so I'm trying to balance those two things together to make the movie accessible but still smart and throw with all the great ideas and grand ideas that it has. Conceptually, it's such an amazing property, so I think it's strong appeal in that sense, and even for people, I think visually in the trailer, people will be gravitating towards that kind of subject matter and that kind of character, it's amazing… I'm taking my time with it… If I'm able to stay on it and develop it the way I want, I just want it to be done right. I don't want to rush it or anything like that. I want the right writer on it and it to be done carefully. So that is one of the projects I have in development."
“WHAT ABOUT FRANK MILLER? HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM?!?!” they demanded.
To which, he explained…
"We have been in contact… The producers, which is Gianni Nunnari and Hollywood Gang, have been very collaborative and obviously have worked with because they did 300, so the link is there. We're just sort of at an early stage where we're trying to structure the story and balance. It’s a whole process to get it right. Some people rush and do it quickly and you end up with bad adaptations, which happens all the time. If they give me the time to do it, I will take it to do it right. There have been drafts that were ready to go supposedly but I want to take my time to make sure that it's just good. The fanbase out there for this particularly iconic graphic (novel) is scrutinizing the project and I also don't want to let them down."
I pointed this loose end out when I shared the LOSERS trailer with you all a couple weeks ago. I’m still a little dubious as to how the comic - - which is one of my all-time favorites - - can make the cinematic transition and still keep what I like about it. These quotes definitely show that the director’s got the right enthusiasm and respect for the material, while also being realistic about how he can do it.
The funny thing is, there’s already been about two motion-picture adaptations to the comic, though they’ve been largely unofficial. The cartoon SAMURAI JACK, which is also about a time-displaced ronin with a magic katana battling a shape-shifting demon in a cyberpunk future city, is basically a kid’s friendly version of RONIN. More interestingly, I suspect that Darren Aronofosky’s movie THE FOUNTAIN was initially inspired by RONIN. Aronofosky had been attached to direct an adapation at one point, as well, and the film he eventually made also concerns storylines from radically-different timelines intertwining, with some of them being archetypal dreams rich with Freudian symbolism. The themes are completely different, obviously, but swap conquistadors in historical Spain for samurai in historical Japan and it seems a lot more believable.
-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.