“The character of Steeplejack is not in the movie by name anymore,” director Jonathan Mostow told MTV News of the conspicuous absence (to comics fans, at least) of the main antagonist from Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele’s original graphic novel.
In the book, a mysterious figure called Steeplejack catches the eye of a police detective (played by Bruce Willis in the film) when he begins violently deactivating the robotic “surrogates” used by the city’s population. The detective and Steeplejack begin a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse that forces both individuals to confront the nature of humanity and social interaction in the digital age.
“I can’t give away too much about the movie, but it’s sort of an amalgamation of a couple of things,” said Mostow of the new antagonist created for the film. “It was inspired by the Steeplejack character.”
According to the filmmaker, the absence of the book’s primary antagonist isn’t the only significant difference from the film’s source material. Mostow said the big-screen “Surrogates” will also explore different themes than the graphic novel.
“We tapped into certain themes more deeply in the movie than the comic book did,” he explained. “We put a lot of emphasis on another big theme—which is this idea of human physical perfection. We all want to look great all the time, to an unrealistic extent.”
“The comic book had this simple, original idea that was very compelling and led to these interesting questions,” he said.
Mostow confessed that one of the benefits to working on this particular adaptation was the book’s relatively low profile prior to being optioned.
“The great thing about the graphic novel was that it was an original idea, but at the time we decided to make the movie, it wasn’t this huge, well-known graphic novel,” exaplined. “So we didn’t have this giant audience that’s like a judge and jury. … I know that’s happened recently with some of the other graphic novel properties that have turned into movies.”
“Surrogates” hits theaters September 25.
What do you think of Mostow’s changes from the source material? Sound off in the comment section or on Twitter!
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