Mark Millar Holding Out for a "Quality" Director to Adapt His Nemesis Comic Book
03.06.10 by BrentJS
Writer Mark Millar, the creator of the "Millarworld" line of comic books that inspired the movies Wanted and the upcoming Kick-Ass, recently announced that he would be directing his next comic book adaptation himself, and shooting it in his native Scotland.
With that as-yet-untitled project planned for a June/July production start and Wanted 2 in active development, you'd think that Millar would have enough to occupy him at the moment. But, Millar recently told STV that he is already hard at work on his nextnext project, a concept that takes the superhero paradigm and flips it on end.
Nemesis, Millar's "killer" concept — though he couldn't legally describe it in these words without incurring the wrath of DC Comics and Warner Bros. — is basically: What if Batman were evil?
The idea of Nemesis is a reversal of the superhero movie. I just think there's been all these superhero pictures but no films about supervillains yet, and I love cinema about crime, cinema about the bad guys. Like Goodfellas, Godfather, all these things, The Departed, it's always about the bad guys and it's really interesting, so I thought to flip superhero cinema around on its head.
I think we hopefully reinvented superheroes with Kick-Ass, but now to do a complete inversion of it with Nemesis will be interesting, where the lead character in the thing is a bad guy. It's the trappings of a regular superhero: he's a billionaire by day, a glamorous socialite kind of guy who has an amazing plane, cars, all this sort of stuff, but at night-time he's the ultimate anarchist. He wears a mask and cape and he's the only super character in the city and the cops are all that stand between us and him.
I think it could be quite terrifying, a superhero up against the city, so if you can imagine Se7en with superpowers it's something like that. It's definitely an [R-rated idea], you know.
Claiming to have "reinvented superheroes" is a pretty bold statement, but with the possible exceptions of Frank Miller (300, Sin City) and Alan Moore (Watchmen, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), no other contemporary comic book writer has had as much success in both the comic book medium and in Hollywood as Millar. Millar said that his goal is to have the kind of impact that creators like Stan "The Man" Lee had back in the '60s, but for a modern audience.
Stan Lee created all these amazing characters in the 1960s. Nobody gives him credit for this, but Stan is the cornerstone of modern Hollywood: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, the two artists that he worked with.
These guys created Spider-Man, The Hulk, X-Men, Avengers, all these things that are making billions, each franchise is making billions. He's like J.K. Rowling, Ian Fleming, and Robert Ludlum all rolled into one person, and nobody gives him the credit. It's pretty bizarre, he's bigger than Walt Disney to me, and has made more money now, probably, with those movies too, for the studios.
I just think it's weird nobody's done it for the modern day, so I'm trying to create a little wave: there's Wanted, Kick-Ass and the next one coming out. I've got about five or six on the go at the moment, and the next one coming out is Nemesis.
Millar said that he has already been approached by several directors who want to adapt Nemesis, but after working with such acclaimed directors as Timur Bekmambetov on Wanted and Matthew Vaughn on Kick-Ass, he plans to hold out until after Kick-Ass is released so that he can be sure to get the kind of quality director that he feels Nemesis warrants.
I want it in the right hands, I'm less concerned about the cash, and I want it to be a director as good as the first two directors I've worked with, so that the quality is there.
In addition to the STV interview, Millar also recently sat down with IGN to hype Nemesis. In the video interview below, Millar explains Nemesis' motivations and the basic plot of the comic book. The video also contains a few of the earliest pieces of Nemesis artwork from Millar's frequent collaborator, Steve McNiven.