Garth Ennis' Crossed Comic Book Headed to the Big Screen
04.21.10 by BJSprecher
It's taken some time, but Hollywood has finally started to take notice of the works of Garth Ennis, the prolific Eisner Award–winning comic book scribe from Northern Ireland. Ennis' work on Marvel Comics' Punisher MAX inspired Punisher: War Zone, and a live-action movie based on the Preacher series he co-created for DC Comics could begin shooting as early as next year. His creator-owned series The Boys is in development as a feature, and now Variety has reported that his creator-owned Crossed series is being primed for the silver screen, as well.
Published by Avatar Press, Crossed revolves around a group of survivors in a world where most people have succumbed to a disease that turns them into deranged killers, as well as forms a cross-shaped rash on their faces. Ken F. Levin is spearheading the independently financed project, and he has enlisted Michael de Luca, Jason Netter of Kickstart Productions, and Dana Brunetti of Kevin Spacey's Trigger Street Productions to produce.
Ennis is writing the Crossed screenplay himself, and Netter said that the producers couldn't be more pleased with the job he is doing.
It turns out Garth writes as well for film as he does for comics, which is saying a great deal indeed. Garth's screenplay has just knocked all of out.
In an interview with MTV shortly after the Variety announcement, Ennis said that he's on his second draft of the screenplay and that the movie should be faithful to the comic book. However, he conceded that some adjustments might have to be made because of the extremely graphic nature of the subject matter.
It's hard to say [if it will be changed]. On one hand, it's an incredibly simple story. You look at it and think it would be hard to make a mess of it. In terms of content, yes, it's possible they might want to tone something down. This is one of those total unknowns when it comes to the film industry — you never know what they're going to do.
Ennis went on to say that he is "very encouraged" by the people at Kickstart.
They like Crossed for what it is. No one has ever given me the impression they just want an image they can stick on a T-shirt, or a title without a story. They like the characters, they like the villains, and they like the notion of The Crossed. So that's encouraging.
As far as the process of translating the comic book into a screenplay goes, Ennis said that the most important thing to do was downsize.
The first thing I had to do was effectively chop that story in half, because it's a 240-page comic. You want a screenplay to be 110-150 pages, so I had to slice the story in half. What I did was, essentially, concentrate on the more serious, darker, tragic elements of the story and edit out some of the comedy.
So I had to decide: Is this a horror-comedy or a straight horror? And I decided to go with a straight horror story.