‘The Losers’ Director On Creator Collaboration, Scheduling, And His Favorite Scenes

The Losers” hits theaters next month, bringing Andy Diggle and Jock’s long-running comic book series to life in a live-action (emphasis on action) adaptation by director Sylvain White.

We’ve seen posters and an explosive trailer for the film thus far, but some of the most prolific marketing for the film thus far has come from the book’s creators, who have been tirelessly informing fans about anything and everything “Losers”-related around the ’Net. The pair also made a well-documented trip to the film’s set, and Jock provided the artistic inspiration for the latest poster.

When I managed to snag some time with White to chat about the film, I asked him about the uncommonly high level of collaboration he’s had with the “Losers” co-creators, as well as those recent changes in the film’s premiere date and some of his favorite scenes from the film.

MTV NEWS: Between “The Losers” and your upcoming adaptation of “Ronin,” you’re spending a lot of time in the comics world these days. How did you originally come across “The Losers” comic? Are you a regular reader?

SYLVAIN WHITE: Well, to tell you the truth, I grew up in Paris reading a lot of graphic novels — mostly European material, but some American stuff, too. So when I was looking for projects, I always looked into the graphic novel arena. What appealed to me about “The Losers” was that it wasn’t the typical superhero-with-superpowers thing. It was based on real characters — realistic characters — and based in reality, like a lot of the European graphic novels that I had grown up reading.

Secondly, I loved the unique tone that Jock and Andy Diggle brought to the comic, which is this sort of great combination of light humor and fun with this really bad-ass action. And I thought, especially in recent years, there’s been a lot of really cool, pretty realistic action, but at the same time it’s usually paired with a dry, realistic tone. It’s never necessarily combined with light, fun characters. So I thought, just like in the comic, that this is the opportunity to create something like that. That sort of fun tone in action movies seems to be coming back around, but I think we’re going to be the first ones out there to really break ground with it.

MTV: Well, it seems liek you also kept Andy Diggle and Jock pretty involved with the process. Between what we’ve seen on Twitter and the poster and such, they seem to be very active with the film…

WHITE: Yeah, absolutely. From the beginning, even when I was working on the screenplay, I had a really tight dialogue with them — even in trying to visualize some of the scenes. I would talk to Jock often, because he’s obviously got an amazing eye, and they came down during production. I’m actually talking to them almost every day right now, talking to Jock in terms of design. We included some of his design work into the design of the movie. I’m not going to give it away, but it’s certain little design elements that we use to introduce the characters or transition from one location to the next. It’s really cool stuff.

MTV: There was some movement recently in the scheduling for the film. It was moved to June, then back to April a short time later. Was it a marketing thing? Reshoots?

WHITE: I have to say, as a filmmaker, I’m really proud because this is basically my fifth movie that I’ve done and I’ve never had to do reshoots. I’ve always come in on schedule and on budget, so I like to advertise that — because it’s pretty rare. This movie, it’s a big action movie, and typically there are reshoots and you have to pick up inserts and tires screeching or whatever — little things that sometimes you don’t get to in production — but we haven’t had to reshoot anything. So I’m very happy about that.

The change of dates was basically due to a shift in some releases between the studios. They moved “Clash of the Titans,” and then they had to move another release date in June. So I think the marketing department decided, “Let’s maybe move to the June date,” but then the April date opened up again and they went back to it. I’m not quite sure how the science of these things work, that’s not really my department and I trust the marketing at Warner Bros. to make the best decision for the movie. I’m just excited it’s coming out in April. I think the date is great. I think it’s a great spring movie.

The other great thing is, as a filmmaker, you get to make your movie, and as soon as it’s done it comes out. You don’t have to wait for it to hang on the shelf before the release. It’s cool.

MTV: Well, there are so many memorable scenes in the book, and from what we’ve seen in the trailer, a few of them are definitely making it into the movie. Do you have some favorite scenes that you can’t wait for the audience to check out? Any imports from the book that you’re especially proud of?

WHITE: There’ are a few scenes that I really love. There’s a great fight between Aisha and Clay which is pretty amazing, and I think it’s going to be quite a bit of benchmark for boy-girl fights. There’s a great scene with Jensen, played by Chris Evans, which is really funny and cool. We see a little bit of it in the trailer that is lifted from the comic, in which he infiltrates a building in Houston.

MTV: Ah, the finger-gun sniper scene…

WHITE: … Yeah, and it plays so well in the movie. That was one of the scenes I really carefully designed with Jock. I really wanted to wink at the comic right there in those specific boards. That’s a really fun scene. There’s also a great shootout with Aisha in a hotel room that’s pretty fantastic because it’s really exciting. I shot it like those old gangster movies from the ’70s. It’s pretty bad-ass.

But that scene with Jensen was always so funny in the pages of the comic, and you really want the humor to translate. Chris Evans really is a great Jensen. All the humor that the character had in the comic, he’s really able to bring to life — and he’s really a fun character to watch in this movie. That’s why it’s one of my favorite scenes.

“The Losers” hits theaters April 23, 2010.

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