In the past, comic book artists were not regarded very highly in Hollywood. When a director needed to have certain scenes "pre-visualized," it was often a storyboard artist that was tapped for the job. However, with the recent popularity of comic book movies and the sky-rocketing costs of developing feature-length action films, directors have increasingly turned to comic book or "sequential" artists to help flesh out their ideas.
James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) is one such director. For his latest film, Ninja Assassin, McTeigue hired comic book artist Steve Skroce to help him bring the script to life, he told ComingSoon.net.
What I usually do with Steve is that we start off with concept pieces — we call them key frames. We talk about the key frames and how they come together and then I'll say to him, "Look, I felt like this should be a cross between anime and gameplay," so then he starts sketching out the boards and I go, "Maybe look at Ninja Scroll" and then he'll go and do that and he'll draw some key frames, and then once we flesh out the aesthetic of the film, then we start getting into the action sequences. He pretty much draws a lot of them. And then after he does that, once you get the aesthetic down, you get the action choreographers —in this case, it was Chad Stahelski and David Leitch — and then we start working out the choreography exactly, like all the mechanics of how that will work. The way I do that is that we work out the basic choreography, then they get with their fight teams, and they video tape it, and then we edit it down and go, "Oh, that's good, that's not so good, let's put a bit more of that in, do a bit more of that, let's use this weapon ... the katana or the shuriken you see." So it's sort of a slowly evolving process.
Skroce has worked on The Matrix trilogy and is the artist and co-creator of Doc Frankenstein, which is published by the Wachowski Brothers' Burlyman Entertainment.