So this came up last night — a sudden request from The Hollywood Reporter’s photo editor for a headshot (god knows if it’ll be used in the print edition or not, all I had to hand was a camphone shot from a couple of years ago) was the first I knew of the story. Obviously, I was aware we were selling RED to Summit, but things moved very quickly all of a sudden.
First off, I should address the plot synopses in the news story. At this stage, these things are like Chinese whispers, and the versions of the graphic novel and mooted film storylines that hit the newsprint are not necessarily the ones people started off with.
For another, RED is more of a graphic novella, a short and tight book, and a novella doesn’t fill out a film’s running time all on its own. This is an adaptation, not a direct transfer/translation from page to print. What the screenwriters will do is take the core concept of RED — a troubled old man still having nightmares of his role as his government’s monster suffering an attempted murder at the remote hands of a terrified political appointee, and bringing the world of covert assassination back to the agency who wanted to drop him and his body down an Orwellian memory-hole — and expand upon it. The book is, if you like, a folded shape that can unpack into a film.
And I’m fine with that. Summit bought the right to build upon the story. My only niggle, frankly, is that the news story calls it a Wildstorm/DC book first, and not a Warren Ellis/Cully Hamner book, which is what it is. We went with Summit because they make films like INSOMNIA and MEMENTO with people like Christopher Nolan (and they produced FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, too).
So, no, I’m fine with the fact that RED, the potential film, will not be exactly the same as RED the graphic novel. That’s understood and expected going into the process. But don’t put too much stock in the synopsis being circulated. It’s unlikely to represent the screenwriters’ exact approach to the material. Give the Hoebers the space to write their film.
And that’s two of my graphic novels that have attached screenwriters in two weeks. That’s a weird thing to think about. Within the same two-week period in which I turned in my final draft of the CASTLEVANIA; DRACULA’S CURSE screenplay myself. Strange days indeed.