Return to the Continuum home page
Thursday, June 20, 2002
DAREDEVIL MOVIE PRESS CONFERENCE
By Rob Allstetter/The Comics Continuum
LOS ANGELES -- A press conference for the Daredevil movie was held on Wednesday by 20th Century Fox, with cast members Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Joe Pantoliano and Jon Favreau, writer/director Mark Steven Johnson and producers Avi Arad and Gary Foster attending.
Below now is a complete, edited transcript of the press conference, starting with introductory comments:
* Avi Arad: I've very happy to be here. We're finally making our first super-human movie. Daredevil, as you know, is a regular man. He tries to make things right and uses his humanity really to win. We've been waiting to make this movie for a long time; it's just been getting the right team.
I'll tell you a little anecdote. We were just in Japan, celebrating another movie about a guy in a costume. And Sam Raimi was asked by the press, what would be the next Marvel movie you would want to see the most. Without hesitation, he said, "Daredevil."
I'm very happy to be here and we have an amazing team, as you can tell. It's going to be an amazing experience.
* Gary Foster: Six years ago, Mark Steven Johnson came into my office and said that there's a property that's going to be available called Daredevil and it's my dream to make this movie. I had never heard of it and he threw a bunch of comic books on my desk. And I read them and I immediately got attracted to this character. Here's a guy who's got this moral dilemma, is struggling with himself and has this handicap. He's a real person in a world that's spectacular. And I think that's a unique aspect that this genre has not done yet, and that's why I think Daredevil is unique.
Mark's been driving for this for whole life, for the last six years, trying to get the deals done, And finally got them done, and he's truly the creative force behind this as the director and writer. Here he is.
* Mark Steven Johnson: This is something that I've wanted to do since I was about 12 years old. I've been reading the comic since then. It's something I've become more of an obsession with. I started tracking down Avi at Marvel, as Gary said, many years ago. He pretty much had a restraining order during that period (laughs).
It wasn't that bad. But Avi saw that pretty much that this was something that I wanted, more than anybody else. It's been something that I've been writing the last couple of years and have been pursuing for the last six years. For me, my dream was to get all of these people involved and get the movie made that I've seen in my head for such a long time.
I'm just thankful to Marvel and Fox and New Regency and everybody for giving me the opportunity. I was not the obvious choice for something like this. What we're hoping to do is make something different and to make something a movie that will a really, really great super-hero movie that will kick ass and at the same time have some emotions and heart to it, characters that you actually care about. That's been our goal, and hopefully we'll achieve it.
* Question: Ben, you had a history with the character before signing on to it?
* Ben Affleck: Yeah, Daredevil, it was my favorite comic book as a kid, not as a little kid, but maybe early adolescence, 13 or 14. And that was an enthusiasm I shared with Kevin Smith. And what I got to know while we're doing Mallrats and Chasing Amy was that Kevin was like an avid collector of comics, so he was impressed with my knowledge of the Daredevil storyline. As compared to my knowledge of other comics' storylines, which was seriously lacking.
So he told me he was writing a series of the comic books. So when they were compiling them into what they call a graphic novel, he called me and said, "Do you want to write a foreword to this?" And I thought that would be a really, cool fun thing, particularly since in the comic book because he had somebody talking about Matt Murdock having tickets to the Good Will Hunting premiere. So I thought that was very sweet that tangentially my name appeared in the Daredevil comics, and it was pretty exciting.
Anyway I wrote the foreword and talked about how much I loved the comic and I guess how that's how some of these guys came to me. It was sort of a no-brainer to me. Everybody has their one thing from their childhood that they remember, and this was that thing for me. It was really a no-brainer.
And it's such an incredible cast to work with. And Mark has some really exciting and interesting ideas about how to shoot the movie and how they want it to look and how they want it to feel and how they want it to be different. And I've very glad to be here. I thought it was black-tie event (laughs). I'm feeling a little sheepish now.
* Question: How is the fight choreography working?
* Ben Affleck: One of the influences that Mark wanted was anime, which is Japanese animation, kind of look. And to make that live-action is a very interesting idea. That has a very distinct feel to it.
There are a bunch of fight scenes that are important, as you can see by the trailer, the teaser. There is combat. I'm not sure, but I have the feeling that's the direction we're going with the marketing (laughs).
We had one of these masters and I don't know exactly how to pronounce his name, he's one of these guys from Hong Kong with all the wire stuff, and we've have another master of a similar but different kind of style and we're mixing smash-mouth street fighting with kung-fu and karate. So hopefully there will be fight scenes you really haven't seen.
Jennifer and I were here a couple of hours last night after the shoot rehearsing a fight scene, so it takes a lot more time than a normal movie, but when you see it all put together, it will be cool and spectacular visually.
Jennifer, she has had so much training from the Alias thing and she's a dancer, so she shames me everyday. That's not being self-deprecating. That's true.
* Jennifer Garner: The hardest part for me is that it's so much more specific. On Alias, I basically learn it on Sunday and shooting it in one or two days. Ben and I worked on this fight we're shooting later this week for six weeks now, often three hours of the day, every day of the week. There's a big difference between this and Alias, I think it's safe to say.
We're taking a lot of care to make sure things are true and specific and really fun.
* Ben Affleck: It's always better when the actors are involved than stuntmen. We're working hard to do as much as we possibly can.
* Jennifer Garner: This is it. We've been preparing as we've gone along. Some of the fights, even with weapons, we've been learning on the spot and shot them on the spot.
* Ben Affleck: We're both been dealing with things. She's been doing her TV show. And after, I'd work with the billy club.
* Jennifer Garner: That's true. I'd be on the Disney lot, spinning my sais.
* Ben Affleck: Part of the movie, until the choreography is finished we can't learn specifically, but we've been putting in time probably from the start of the movie on, working on the very first elements.
* Question: What preparation did Ben go through to play someone who is blind?
* Ben Affleck: That's a good question. Because, it's kind of deceiving. In a way, he is blind, yes, but because he's able to cobble together a mosaic impression because of his heightened other senses, he is able to navigate in the world. Through smell, through hearing, through a kind of evolved sort of sonar - which will be represented in the movie with this really cool series of effects that Mark came up with, this kind of a shadow world - he sees where things are, but he really can't see texture. He knows where things are, but he still has to fold his bills the way a regular blind man folds his bills, so he can tell the difference between a one and five. He still has to read Braille text.
So one of the things that Mark came up with his ways to show the nature of the vulnerability of the handicap with kind of the extra abilities.
But the hard part really is Matt because everyone else thinks he's blind. So playing it is sort of tricky because he really can get around and he has to sort of look like an actual blind person.
And in doing that, I worked with Tom Sullivan. He's blind and he's an extraordinary over-achiever. He's blind, but he's a great skier and jumps out of planes and does all of that kind of stuff. He was very helpful just in terms of stuff like how do you cane-walk.
I have the contacts that I wear and they're deep blue, so when I wear them, I am, in fact, blind. So the challenge is actually not to walk into furniture.
* Question: Did you focus on a specific era in the comics?
* Mark Steven Johnson: This is heavily influenced. Obviously from the first from Stan Lee and Bill Everett, and a lot of that certainly carries in through the story.
There's a ton of Frank Miller in here. Big Frank Miller fan. We pretty much have the introduction of Elektra, a lot of the dealings of how the Kingpin works, all that stuff from the early 80's era, I guess.
There's also a lot of Kevin Smith in there. Kevin's kind of like our fifth wheel. He shows up a lot and we hang out. I thought it was great to get his blessing. While I'm a life-long fan, I dropped out for a few years, and Kevin brought me back in.
Those are the three eras that I would say, it's a combination of those. It's set in modern day; it's not a period piece. It's set in current day, and the feeling is really heavily Stan Lee and Frank Miller, a combination of the two.
You'll see a lot of Man Without Fear, a great novel by Frank Miller. That's probably the most heavy influence.
* Question: What's it like making a comic character come to life?
* Jennifer Garner: It's tricky. Elektra still has to be a real person. She can't be in such a bold direction the way the comic has been. Elektra was specifically written with more subtlety than you see a lot times.
I just read anything I could get my hands on. Then dropped it - and tried not to think about it too much.
* Ben Affleck: For me, being a fan of it my whole life and basically read everything that's been written, I knew what that side of it was.
You sort of run up in things in the real world that when you're saying it seem silly, that don't seem silly when they're in a comic book. You have to try and find that balance. In terms of the genre of comic books, this one is definitely leaning toward a character-driven kind of story, so there are certain challenges in making it honest and believable.
One of things in the comic books is that he's kind of brooding and sulky and full of rage, and you have to modulate to a degree which way you do that. But the last thing I want to do is betray the spirit of the book. At the end of the day, my barometer is if this fits in the Daredevil I read as a kid.
* Question: Did the actors have any connections to Daredevil before the movie?
* Michael Clarke Duncan: Well, I was very familiar with Kingpin. I read the comic books, and the only person I read it for was the Kingpin. So when they came to me and said I could be Kingpin and I'd have Ben to fight, I said, "Yeah." It was like a dream come true.
* Question: Was there any special fight training?
* Michael Clarke Duncan: (Looking at Affleck) For him? No. (laughs) I didn't need no fight training for Ben.
* Jon Favreau: I was in high school about the time when the Elektra Saga - or whatever you want to call it - the Frank Miller period, where Daredevil was in his heyday and breaking new ground. So I was very familiar with it.
I had met Mark Steven Johnson on a movie called The Replacements. And he had told me he had this pet project. Finally, I run into him at a social event and he said, "It's going to happen." And it wasn't what I thought. This isn't exactly Simon Burch 2. So it was a big surprise for me that this was his pet project. It's like finding out your friend is into S&M when you thought he was just a normal banker.
He was into the extremism of the nuance of the book. And when I saw the script, I was extremely impressed. And I thought, "What super-hero does he want me to play?" And he says, "You know what, Jon? Start eating a bit more. We want you to play Foggy Nelson." I'm like, in The Mask, Richard Jeni, that guy.
So, on one hand I'm so excited to be part of this great production with a wonderful cast. But on the other hand, I feel like the butt of all jokes. But the cast is great, we're having a great time. This is my last day and it's been a really, really fun ride.
All these people are so gracious and nice. And the most exciting part has been watching Mark's dreams come true. Because it's so rare with a director on this level. Usually it's a hired gun that wants to dance about the material. But this has been his from a seedling and to see it comes to a fruition the way it has, is really inspiring. And I don't know if you can tell from a press conference, but if you were on the set, you could tell the way everyone was inspired by Mark's leadership and by how gracious Ben and Jennifer and he have been with their time.
* Joe Pantoliano: I had no idea about the Daredevil comic strip. The first time we talked about it, I ran to Mark in a coffee shop in Venice and he starting talking about it. And I said, "It sounds fascinating. After this, am I going to read the script?"
It's always a pleasure to see the enthusiasm from all of the actors and Mark especially. To echo what Jon just said, I've had a lot of fun working on this. And it's exciting to see how it's all coming together, so I feel blessed to be a part of this.
* Question: For Jennifer, when you got into acting, did you think you'd be doing all of these action roles.
* Jennifer Garner: I really thought about doing Shakespeare festivals for the rest of my life, ,aybe a little Ibsen and Strindberg, so, no, this is from the furthest thing.
It's amazing how what you do when you're young circles around and haunts you for the rest of your life. In my case, it was ballet. And I was never a wonderful dancer, but I was a very hard-working dancer. And it's come back in the strangest ways.
I love the action aspect of this job. I love this kind of inner daredevil of my own working out. I would never even bungee jump and now it means nothing to be on a wire a hundred feet up. So it makes me really happy to rehearse a fight and and I'm not sure why.
I do hope that women continue to play action roles. It's incredibly empowering to do and I hope it's incredibly empowering to watch. As long as there's a character behind them the way I've been lucky in both of my action things are rooted in story and in character. As long as that's there, I hope for any woman that she gets to kick ass for a couple of weeks. It's pretty rewarding. Especially his.
* Ben Affleck: It's a big draw. Come kick Ben Affleck's ass.
* Question: What do you think of Elektra's costume? How does it look and how does it feel?
* Jennifer Garner: Actually, Elektra has two different costumes in the comic. The one that's more well-known is the red (one) with the sashes and apparently nothing underneath. I have to say, I had nothing to do with changing the look. She also does wear a black leather costume throughout some of the comics.
The costume is not something I would choose to wear in life, but you kind of just have to go for it. And Ben's in tights, pretty much, so it's fun! The costume designer, Jim Acheson, has done an incredible job of taking something that could be so embarrassing and making it as cool as possible. All of the super-hero looks have a real hip element to them and they are not your average kind of man in tights. Mine is no exception to that. It's not average. It's fun.
* Question: Do you have any difficulties, after the shoot, in detaching yourself from a role as a superhero?
* Ben Affleck: I don't have any illusions about being a superhero when I go home. I'm acutely aware of how not a superhero I am.
I'm decidedly not a Daredevil kind of guy, which is what makes it fun because I get to do the kind of stuff I would never really do in life. Sometimes I feel like I can fight after the rehearsals, I feel like kind of a tough guy, but I'm quickly disabused of that illusion when I run across Mike.
* Question: What do you think of your costume?
* Ben Affleck: I think it looks really good, actually. I think it looks good.
* Question: Are you developing DVD content?
* Mark Steven Johnson: Yeah, we have a ton actually. Every day, I have behind-the-scenes stuff and I have an assistant who will follow around and get everything. I'm a huge DVD fan so I want to get everything. From the minute Ben showed up, you know, to get the plaster cast of his face to the first costume fitting to training to everything. We have hundreds of hours of stuff. It's also a dream of mine that hopefully we'll have a couple of different DVD versions out. We can have an R version and a PG-13 version so people will have a choice on that for the ratings.
* Question: What makes Daredevil different for other comics?
* Avi Arad: What makes Daredevil so unique and exciting and different than movies until now and most of them to come, Daredevil, unlike most of our characters, is totally human. Vulnerable, has to use what nature has given to him. He doesn't have powers, but you're going to see in this movie that our guy gets hit, our guy is always in jeopardy because he has a true handicap. That makes it very different because he's not going to do the kind of things that you'll expect from a super-creature. What we call superheroes have these unique abilities that make do something that humans cannot do. Matt Murdock is a man who is a blind lawyer. He is doing the kinds of things that take amazing human spirit, not sort a super-spirit and that's what makes him so different. * Mark Steven Johnson: And for myself, to answer that, I agree with Avi. Most important for me, because he is the only handicapped superhero, that's something I think is fantastic. What I usually feel in the movies like Blade and a lot of the other movies that I really enjoy, I know you don't have to worry about them. You never think, "Gee, will Blade come out of it okay?" For that reason, on page one when I wrote "Fade In" for the first time, I wrote that Daredevil is really banged up, that's he's bleeding to death. The rest of the movie is told in flashbacks.
I love the idea from the very beginning that you have to care about this guy. It forces you to be involved. That's something that I haven't seen before and baseically with all these comic book movies coming out now, you just have to find what makes it different, what makes it unique and what makes it worth watching. For me, that was always it. He's the only handicapped superhero. He somebody who needs your help. You have to care about this guy and also, of course, the idea of a lawyer who is also a vigilante. I think it's a fantastic concept, something that stands by itself.
* Question: What are you shooting right now?
* Mark Steven Johnson: We're shooting a big ballroom scene. This is also, onec again, from Frank Miller – something similar to that with her father there. This is a scene where Matt and Elektra meet. It's very romantic, old New York-type of scene, which is interrupted by violence when The Kingpin comes down on her father, Nikolaos Natchios.
* Question: Is Matt Murdock's dad going to play a role in the film?
* Mark: Oh, sure. We tell the whole origin story. The scene I just told you about where you meet him and you find him in bad shape, we actually do this cool push-in to his eye and we slowly come out of his eye and now he's 12 years old – and then you're in a Man Without Fear/Frank Miller-type story. Because we didn't have enough time to do his father as a wrestler turned boxer, I have his father as a boxer already and he's a washed-up boxer who's working for our version of The Fixer and how he gets one shot back. That's our origin story. David Keith is playing the story and he's truly terrific. He's a dead-ringer for Jack Murdock.
* Question: Where are you in the shoot?
* Gary Foster: We're in the home stretch. We've been shooting since the end of March and we'll finish this movie in the middle of July. The shoot is going to end up being somewhere around 70-some-odd days, so we'll finish mid-July and we'll release in February.
Jon mentioned this earlier, but we are, as a group – and Ben was very helpful in this – we're all really happy to keep this movie here in Los Angeles. You can imagine that there was a tremendous amount of pressure to take it to Canada or Australia, but for creative, financial and personal issues, we all worked really hard to keep it here and it paid off. I personally know Avi feels the same way, but I want to thank the City of Los Angeles as they've been so helpful. And the labor unions in the city have been really helpful in making it possible for us.
* Question: Are there plans for this as a franchise?
* Avi Arad: The good thing with a Marvel property is that they are franchise-builders – they're franchises to begin with. Yes, we are already working on Elektra. Obviously, when you see this movie, you'll see a Daredevil 2 and possibly 3. It's a young cast and they won't be with us forever, but yes, it's absolutely the plan so for every movie we made, there are sequels. There are 40 years of stories. It's really easy to do.
* Question: For Joe, do you like being in heavy special-effects films?
* Joe Pantoliano: It's more because there's so few films that I get to make that my children are able to see. Ninety percent of the work that I do, they'll have to wait until they're 18 before they can watch it. So it's great for me to be able to do these kinds of movies – excluding The Matrix, because it's too much for them to see yet, too.
But, I just always like bending the rules and attacking genres and having the ability to be part of a film that has to re-invent the wheel. You do a Matrix and you want to do the next film, where Daredevil is going to be showing new and important and exciting special effects and storylines. And I like take the chance and being a part of these kinds of films.
* Question: With so many supporting characters in the film, how did you make sure to make your character develop?
* Joe Pantoliano: We kiss the director's ass.
* Jon Favreau: In my case, the film is very, in keeping with the Daredevil comics, you have a central character who is very conflicted and even brooding at times. Because I get to be pretty much the only funny character, I know that if I do my job, it might be a nice counter-point to what's going on the rest of the movie and a welcome reprieve from the high stakes and tension that are a part of the Daredevil series. So, just being funny is probably my best insurance of staying in.
* Michael Clarke Duncan: In my case, The Kingpin – all this is happening because of the Kingpin. He's running everything from the stripclubs to the casinos, and to me that's very exciting. When I get in my Kingpin suit, I become the Kingpin and I really am rich and famous and illegal and all of that, so for me, it's a thrill. I think that Mark has put me in there in such a way that I'm there just enough that you want to see more.
* Question: For Avi, you've talked about the legal ramifications of why Spider-Man took so long to be made. This was created in 1964, so why was Daredevil so long to get made?
* Avi Arad: We almost made this movie seven years ago. This movie had some legal issues, too. Marvel has been around a long time and over the years I think some of us had a low opinion of films, so we made bad deals. We didn't have the right people involved in it. Basically, we were waiting patiently to be able to get control over it. Our formula is to find someone who cares about these charactesr as much as we do. That was the story between Mark and Gary. He wasn't kidding about the restraining order. I actually got one. But the idea was right. You have to want to do it. We had previous deals with other studios, but it just wasn't ready. That was the major reason.
Once we were able to take it in the open, it happened very, very quickly. Once we had the director and producer on board, we went from there.
* Question: How are you dealing with the Internet on Daredevil?
* Avi Arad: Well, we just started. Yesterday was the first time that Daredevil became officially Internet – the Fox Internet. Like all Internet, it's a curse and a blessing. It started with 50-50 of pro and con, which basically means tremendous passion. These people are watching these characters like they're living characters. They care about them.
We only start with suspicion. We've been through it with X-Men and Blade and Spider-Man. We read it carefully because the lines are usually coming from people who care, so even if they give us a hard time about something, we give them time to digest it. Sometimes it's a tough leap of faith to go from the comic-book pages to the big screen, and questions about the costumes and so on. Yes, you've been into the books forever and you see something change – black versus red – there are issues that have to do with production design, with cinematography, that make decisions and we try to make an homage to the books.
The most important thing to do is keep the characters accurate, the same people you care for. And that's what happens with the Internet. As they get to know the characters and get deeper into it, they hear stories about the script – there's no way to stop these leaks – then they fall in love, because they feel safe again that the story that they've loved for so many years is being told correctly.
* Question: How do you feel about The Kingpin as the character in the movie isn't exactly the same as the character in the comic?
* Jon Favreau: I think you could say that about all our parts. The interesting thing about the Internet is that every time somebody new is announced, you sort of get the other shoe to fall immediately - the ability to overhear a million conversations. I'm on the Internet every day checking in with certain sites, keeping track of what's going on and as soon as I became involved with this or knew that I was going to be, it was interesting to see what rumors came out and where the first rumblings were. Once each character was announced, and how everybody reacted to each character.
Of course, I'm most concerned with myself – whether they're going to accept me or not. I think overwhelmingly that people understand that you can't go right down the middle. You don't want to cast on-the-nose anyway. I know when Michael was cast, everybody seemed to be surprised and at the same time thought it was totally cool.
I know I didn't know for sure until I worked with him yesterday what to think, but I think the most important part of the character of Kingpin is the presence and believing that he could be in this position. And remember, you don't want to just hire some big fat guy, because the whole thing about Kingpin is that he's a powerful, strong presence – not just intellectually, not just politically, but also physically, because he actually fights hand-to-hand. Looking up at Michael on those apple boxes yesterday, he looked pretty intimidating. I can't imagine Dom DeLuise playing this role.
* Avi Arad: I just want to add to this, that the reaction to the announcement of Michael was excitement. It was a kind of a thing where you look at it say, we are continuing with putting real actors in these roles. It's not about physical appearance, it's about character, it's about a guy who is an Academy Award nominee that is just a great actor. That's what plays out here.
* Question: Michael, any thoughts on your character and the reaction to your casting? Do you follow the internet and what people are saying?
* Michael Clarke Duncan: Well, I don't own a computer, so I'm pretty far behind. But, when they told me they were going to cast me as the Kingpin, I was very shocked, because I know the character is white in the books and I knew that would be the major disagreement from fans that followed these comic books religiously that they may have wanted him that character, but I guarantee you, when this movie comes out – everyone will be satisfied that I was cast as the Kingpin. I guarantee it.
* Question: Will there be a Thor movie or not?
* Avi Arad: The first studio that will give us $400 million and we'll be very happy to do it. Right just now, we are probably a few years away.
* Question: Will we see a Fantastic Four movie next after this?
* Avi Arad: I don't know if it's next year, because these things take time, but maybe the year after. We are getting there. We now have a director. Obviously, it's hard to make that kind of movie, so everybody has to be ready, willing and able, but hopefully for the year after, yes.
* Question: In the comics, the Kingpin is a Spider-Man villain and a Daredevil villain and Joe's character works at The Daily Bugle and talks to Peter Parker. Will there be crossovers between the movies?
Avi Arad: Technically, it's very difficult because different movies are made by different studios. It's tough to make a studio with what they have, much less what someone else has.
Even more important, I think that Kingpin was an issue with us with Spider-Man eight years ago and a very, very talented man was involved in this debate – actually, Jim Cameron – we debated it for awhile and he agreed that Kingpin is a central character that totally affected the life and the destiny of Daredevil and Elektra. Therefore, it was the right thing and he generously agreed to this argument that it was far more important for us to put Kingpin in Daredevil than in Spider-Man or other universes. So, we intend to keep it just as it is.
* Question: Michael, so many of your characters are larger than life. What do you do to bring out the humanity and shadings of this character?
* Michael Clarke Duncan: Well, the character is very close to me because as a child, I was beaten up by so-called bullies until I got a certain size. In the comic book, if you read them, Kingpin starts off where kids are picking on him because he's so fat. After awhile, they see that this guy's not only fat, but he's very agile and he starts to fight back and he starts to read kung fu books and he gets himself together and that's what happened with me. To me, the characters are so close, that it's eerie to be this guy after fantasizing for so many years.
* Question: Joe, as you're the reporter who's on the trail of this story? What did you see about Ben?
* Joe Pantoliano: I think the interesting through-line for all of these characters is Foggy's ambition – that his company should be one of the most important law firms in town. And The Kingpin's ambition is to success. And Daredevil's is truth and Ben's is wanting to find out what the truth is. That's a singular character trait in terms of the storyline. For me, it's fun to play a role like this. Usually, I'm the guy being chased by Daredevil, so that's what made me so happy – and my kids can see me play a nice guy in a movie that costs more than four dollars.
* Question: For the actors, how do you approach such a heightened reality?
* Jon Favreau: This is a much more forgiving medium. Because it's such a broad canvas, you have a lot of room to have fun with it. Different styles of acting give you a little more freedom to go beyond what you normally word. I've done voiceover for cartoons and that's completely freeing with no responsibility to do anything but bring energy to it.
Something like this is closer to regular acting, but it is still a comic book, so you want to stay justified in what you're doing, but you could really go out on a limb, because a lot of the humor in the comic books is a little bit – I wouldn't say broad, but definitely not as subtle as you find in some independent films that are comedies with more subtle form. So, it is very freeing because it's expected of you. They want to see something that's bigger than life in a movie like this and that's why we were all cast, that's why it's written the way it is, and that's the experience that audiences around the world are expecting, so we would be doing a disservice to the material if we didn't step up to that challenge.
* Question: Could you talk about what Colin Farrell brings to Bullseye?
* Gary Foster: Colin is quite a force. He's obviously a tremendous actor. He has this joie de vivre to say the least. He lives life to the fullest and he's brought that to Bullseye.
> I think he's had a great experience freeing himself from playing a character with an American accent. He plays it with his Irish brogue. It's like Jon was talking about, there's a little bit of a freedom for him to go big and have fun.
We just completed, over the last three weeks, a fight sequence with him and Jennifer Garner on the rooftops of downtown L.A. and he was on wires flying. He did a 40-foot jump off one roof to another and he was just the happiest guy in the world. He's been a great extra added piece of energy to this movie.
In fact, he's got two big sequences coming up. He and Ben have a showdown and there's another big set piece that we'll be shooting in the next few weeks, but I think Colin has really embraced this. He had never heard of the characters before, never read the comic book and after meeting with Mark and also being taken in by his passion, he's embraced it wholly and he's just been terrific.
* Question: Who are you working with on the special effects?
* Gary Foster: Rhythm and Hues is the company we contracted with to do the majority of the visual effects on the film. Rich Thorne is our visual effects supervisor, and we have hundreds of (effects). The whole shadow-world/hyper-world – as Mark talked about the inner-vision of how Matt Murdock and Daredevil see, is mostly done with visual effects. Some of it is computer, some of it is green screen. We have a lot of work to do. When the movie wraps in four weeks, we're still going to have a tremendous amount of work to do before January.
* Queston: As with X-Men and even with Spider-Man, once again the studios have gone with a more eclectic choice for a director.
* Gary Foster: I have an answer for that and I think Avi has an answer for that.
When we started this, Marvel was in a different form. In fact, Mark's passion was embraced by them at that time, but the process of making the deal was a very difficult process. In the middle of that process, it became very evident that Marvel was evolving and changing.
I remember vividly being in New York and getting a phone call from another studio telling us that we weren't going to be able to make the deal and it was very clear that Avi Arad was going to be involved with Marvel going into the future. So, I went and saw Avi in his office in New York and he was like, "Who is this guy? I don't know him." I said, "I understand. I have a partner who's very involved in this."
Long story short, it's truly, if not for this guy believing that Mark had a passion and had the right sensibilities to do this movie, I don't think it would've come to fruition. There's no question – it's not a knock on the studios or a knock on Mark – faced with making a big-budget movie, you have a list of people who are the go-to people and every studio does this.
And the truth is, there was one day where Mark had to go and make it happen. He stood outside an executive's office for two hours waiting for that door to open and go inside to pitch his case, because if he didn't, it may not have happened. And he did it and he waited and the executive was like, "He's standing outside my office? What am I supposed to do?" And finally let him in. And Mark did his thing, so as I said, a lot of credit goes to Avi for sticking with it and being a supporter and a lot of credit goes to Mark for not giving up, because there were plenty of opportunities for him to just fold it up and go and say, "Oh, well. I hope it turns out to be a good movie."
* Question: Who does Michael think of the Kingpin's costume?
* Michael Duncan Clark: Well, coming from being in three-and-a-half hours of make-up in Planet of the Apes and another hour in Scorpion King, this is just like a breath of fresh air. I am so happy to have these suits on and can just have as little make-up as possible on. You just don't know. It's very refreshing to come to set and get dressed up in the nice suits that they had made for me and then to be able to have to fight in these suits is really like the coolest thing on earth at this point. I love it.
* Question: How Daredevil will see? How much is CGI and how much is sound design?
* Gary Foster: It's a combination of three things. It's the way we shot the movie, the visual effects that we put into the film and without question, for a man who doesn't see, sound design on this picture is going to be extremely important.
We're working with one of the top sound designers from Lucasfilm. He's going to be taking a hiatus from them to come work for us.
I think all those three things combined are going to be essential elements to the final product. The research and development has been ongoing for months on the visual effects part of it. We meet every other week on making corrections and trying new things. What if this happens? What if we try that? So, it will be a process that we continue working on up until we have to deliver.
From the sound point of view, we had every sound designer in Hollywood trying to get on this movie because it truly is a sound designer's dream. Again, Mike Bodecker is going to be doing it and I think he's got a huge challenge ahead of him and I think we have an opportunity to use the speakers and the channels of sound to really create an environment in the theater that no one will have ever heard before.
E-mail the Continuum at email@example.com
Copyright © 2002, The Comics Continuum