We have a few months to go before the premiere of “Red,” director Robert Schwentke’s live-action film based on Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s comic book, but that doesn’t mean the project is far from our minds these days.
When I had a chance to sit down with Ellis and Hamner during Comic-Con, I asked them about the adaptation process for their 2003 Wildstorm comic, which featured a small cast of characters in a fast-moving, violent narrative. With the live-action film expanding the core story, adding some humor, and casting an impressive ensemble of Hollywood’s biggest names, I asked Ellis and Hamner how much of their original book is actually in the film.
“The tone is very different, but there is a fair amount from our book that is in the movie,” Hamner told MTV News. “The setup is pretty close, I would say.”
“They go off in their own direction, but you know how if you read ’Jaws’ and see the movie ’Jaws,’ they’re two completely different things?” he explained. “They’re both valid, they’re both great. I don’t know if I would want to give up the film version of ’Jaws’ to make something that’s note-for-note exactly the same as the book.”
And according to the pair, the comic book “Red” still lies at “the core” of director Robert Schwentke’s live-action film starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban, Richard Dreyfuss, Brian Cox, and Mary Louise-Parker, among others.
“I think we both love the comic,” said Hamner. “The movie is its own thing. They took our basic recipe and did something completely different with it. I think it’s great.”
However, Ellis added that a very specific portion of the book was lifted directly from the page and adapted for the film.
“The first 10 minutes of the film are very much like the first 12 pages of the book, including the fight scene in Moses’ house with the strike team,” said Ellis. “That could have come right off the pages.”
“I was gratified to see that when I was on the set, there were copies of the graphic novel around, [and] there were copies of the graphic novel in the editing room,” he added.
“… Even the chairs on the set had our logo and artwork I had done for the book on it,” said Hamner.
“They were keeping the books around for reference,” said Ellis.
“Red” hits theaters October 15.