Producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura Talks About Assembling the Oscar-Winning Cast of Red
07.13.10 by Ryan
Director Robert Schwentke's upcoming Red may surprise audiences when they discover that the movie is based on a comic book. The story follows an ex-CIA black ops agent (Bruce Willis) who is being hunted down by assassins while protecting the woman he loves (Mary-Louise Parker). The movie, however, boasts a variety of Oscar-nominated talent including Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, and Richard Dreyfuss, and Ernest Borgnine. Assembling such a cast, for what is essentially a comic book movie, wasn't as difficult as it might seem, according to producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura, who told SuperHeroHype that once Willis was on board, the rest of the cast followed.
It started with Bruce obviously and I think Morgan was in second and then Helen Mirren... Usually you're out there trying to shake the trees and get them in any way or form to read your script and come on board, you know? And this time it was the exact opposite.
According to Di Bonaventura, Helen Mirren in particular was drawn to the movie because of Willis' involvement. She thinks of Willis as a largely under-appreciated character actor.
She said, "Well first of all what a great role, but I've always wanted to be in a Bruce Willis movie." I was like really? And she goes, "Yeah, he's a very under-appreciated actor." She said, "You know he's really more of a character actor than a movie star and I always thought it would be really fun to be in one of his movies."
As evidenced in the recently released teaser trailer, the movie adds plenty of humor to go along with the guns and fight sequences, mainly because the original comic book only ran for three issues. The short length of the source material left screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber to invent more characters and comedy and fill out a much longer story. Di Bonaventura says that the work they've done has the approval of co-creator Ellis.
Its evolution has been a really interesting one to follow and it's been interesting to talk to Warren about it too because he's been onboard for it and he recognizes how far it's gone from the original and also appreciates where it's gone, which is nice to keep the original creator onboard as it takes on a new life.