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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2007

THE SPIRIT SET VISIT: GABRIEL MACHT

Continuing a series of reports from The Continuum's visit to the set of The Spirit

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico -- The Spirit is throwing down.

And his nemesis The Octopus -- fully shown for the first time and played by Samuel L. Jackson -- is on the receiving end.

It's a climatic battle scene in The Spirit movie and masked actor Gabriel Macht is being guided through a punch by writer/director Frank Miller. Surrounded by green screens with backgrounds to be added later, the scene looks barren, and Miller is focused on a big follow-through from Macht. The wildly garbed and made up Jackson turns his head into Macht's right-handed haymaker and reels to maximum effect, like a comic panel sprung to life.

Although he is in the title role, Macht is not as well known as some of his Spirit cast mates -- Jackson, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes. It was a deliberate decision on the part of the filmmakers -- and one with which they say they're very happy.

Following a take where his fist nearly envelops the shot, Macht broke away and was encircled by a group of reporters circled for a quick question-and-answer session:

Below is an edited transcription of the interview.

Question: Can you describe the Spirit in your own words?

Macht: Denny Colt is a former cop that dies in the line of duty. He comes back to the living in a mysterious way. He doesn't quite know how. He is a man trying to figure it out for himself. I don't think he quite knows what he is other than he fights crime. And he loves the ladies. He believes in truth and justice.

Question: How has it been working with this new green screen technology?

Macht: I have had a brilliant time making this film. Everyone that I am working with is at the top of their game. Everyone is just excited about making the best film possible. Everybody is so passionate. I've been having a wonderful time.

Question: Have you read the comic books?

Macht: Oh, yeah. I'm a fan now. And to have Frank Miller as a director has been an incredible experience. For me, it's a great opportnity as an actor. It's mind-boggling.

Question: What sort of training have you done?

Macht: I am on one of those serious diets. I'm weight training, and getting into shape. I want to get a look that is a modern day Spirit. We had a week of stunt training out here before production. I learned how to work the cables.

Question: What sort of fighting are you doing?

Macht: It is a combination of martial arts and regular street fighting.

Question: How do you feel about wearing that mask?

Macht: I was really hesitant about having to wear the mask everyday, just because of the process. But it hasn't been a problem at all. I can't smile or it will all fall off.

Question: Have you gotten to see any of the backgrounds at all?

Macht: I haven't. I've gotten to see some of the animatics, which Frank took to the animators. They are visual manipulated. There are a lot of things you can do in terms of this film.

Question: Why do you think they chose you for this role?

Macht: I don't know. I'm blonde and brown-eyed and now I'm black hair and blue eyes in this one. I think that there might be some element of absurdity that I brought along in the audtion, and that lends to the sense of humor of the film. I think it might fall into the same line as Frank's.



E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com



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