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. Posted 11.25.09 by BrentJS
While out promoting Ninja Assassin, director James McTeigue lauded the "incredible discipline" of his movie's star, Ji-Hoon (Rain) Jung. McTeigue said that Rain trained to get into fighting shape "for five or six months."
In a recent interview with Latino Review, Rain corrected McTeigue's statement, saying that his training was even more intense, lasting "eight months, five days a week, eight hours a day."
There is no wire, no camera tricks. I had to make my body fit like Bruce Lee.
Rain said that he does not have formal martial arts training — except for studying tae kwon do when he was 10 — but that he learned "a lot of martial arts" to star in the movie, including "tai chi, ninja techniques, karate ... a lot."
As for learning how to play the role of a ninja, Rain said that inspiration wasn't hard to find.
From when I was young I loved martial arts films so I love ninja, ninja techniques ... you know, in Asia, there's so many ninja films so I saw a lot of ninja films. Posted 11.23.09 by BrentJS
Producer Joel Silver has an incredible resume, including many of Hollywood's top properties — the Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Predator, and Matrix franchises. His latest film, Ninja Assassin, opens this week and Silver is in various stages of production on eight other movies, with another dozen or more in development.
With so many different projects, it's hard to keep track of the status of all of them. Thankfully, Latino Review caught up with Silver and probed him about several of the fan-favorite films he is working on. While Silver didn't mention anything about the 3-D adaptation of DC Comics' Swamp Thing that he teased back in August, he did say that he is working on Lobo, another DC adaptation.
We're working really close on that. It's close, yeah. There is a good shot we can make that happen.
While many fans have been clamoring to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen) in the lead role of "The Last Czarnian," Silver stated back in August that his intention for Lobo was to go full CGI with the super-ripped alien bounty hunger, a la Avatar. When asked about the possibility of Morgan playing Lobo, Silver said that he is "very talented" and mentioned that Morgan was already tapped for yet another DC Comics adaptation, The Losers, and that they're still trying to figure out what will work best for Lobo.
There's been some interesting tests. It's pretty spectacular. So that's gonna come about soon I think.
After Ninja Assassin, Silver has the Guy Ritchie-directed Sherlock Holmes hitting theaters, which Silver would "love" to see turn into a franchise.
There are plenty of Sherlock Holmes stories. But let's get the movie open, let's see how it goes and we'lll see what happens.
Silver will no longer be teaming with Ritchie on an adaptation of Sgt. Rock after Sherlock Holmes, but he said that Ritchie is "involved" with Gamekeeper, which is "in development." He is also re-teaming with his Ninja Assassin writer, J. Michael Straczynski, an another project.
[Straczynski's] writing Forbidden Planet now. We'll see a script before the end of the year and that's exciting too.
Silver also mentioned that the reason he let Sony have He-Man was because it was a "weird one" that they couldn't figure out how to adapt. And, no, there will be no sequel to Speed Racer, not that too many people will shed a tear over that news. Posted 11.22.09 by BrentJS
Digital effects have become a mainstay of Hollywood action movies these days and director James McTeigue's (V for Vendetta) latest movie, Ninja Assassin, is no exception. However, in a recent interview with Coming Soon, McTeigue said that many ofthe weapons were real and that the movie's lead, Korean pop star Rain, trained "for five or six months," and that he had "incredible discipline."
Rain in the movie uses this blade and chain weapon, but when we're training him, it's with an actual martial arts weapon called the rope dart, so he trained with that so he knew how to swing it around, because then ultimately when you get into it, you need something for him to physically use. He'll use that, and the visual FX guys will put tracking markers on it, so that way, it gives the stunt guys something to react to and then we'll replace it later. But with swords and katanas and other things, sometimes we'll use bamboo painted silver for example, they're actually real sometimes.
Many critics have commented on how violent and bloody the movie is, but McTeigue said that he didn't have any problem with the MPAA ratings board.
When we submitted the movie, we said, "Look, it's really stylized." In no way is this Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer or one of those movies that's so extreme it's meant to make you feel sick. This is like a game, it is like anime, it is like a comic book. I think they saw it as that, so henceforth, they gave me an R-rating and if you look at the ratings card, it goes "For stylized violence and blood." I think they got it. Posted 11.21.09 by BrentJS
Director James McTeigue's new movie, Ninja Assassin, opens this month, but during a recent interview with MTV, Superman was one of the topics of the conversation.
McTeigue first teased his interest in the Superman franchise back in August, when he said that he would "do a complete reboot" if he were to take the helm. McTeigue reiterated this sentiment in recent comments to MTV, but said that the studio doesn't know what they want to do with the franchise.
It's in a weird place at the moment. They're trying to work out what they're doing. Warner Brothers is trying to figure out their next move on it. There's some things you can do with the Superman franchise, there's other things you can't do. So it hasn't gone anywhere.
I think it's ripe for a retooling. I would love to — if it happened, I would at least start a conversation about it.
Next up for McTeigue will be The Raven, a fictionalized account of the last days of writer Edgar Allen Poe. Posted 11.17.09 by BrentJS
Six new video clips have emerged for Ninja Assassin, the latest action spectacle from producer Joel Silver and his V for Vendetta and Speed Racer partners, Andy and Larry Wachowski (the creators of The Matrix trilogy). The trio of producers brought V for Vendetta's director, James McTeigue, in to helm the feature, which was shot in Berlin, Germany.
Starring Korean pop star Rain in his first featured role, Ninja Assassin tells the story of Raizo, a boy trained to kill in an orphanage that serves as an assassin factory for the Ozunu Clan, a secret society thought only to exist in myth and legend. When Raizo attempts to escape from the clan and start a new life, they track him down to exact their revenge. Posted 11.12.09 by BrentJS
Believe it or not, winter is almost here, and along with it comes the studios' typical slate of prestige pictures hoping to garner Awards Season success — but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of surprises. The Box, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and Ninja Assassin promise some fun thrills for the season. Nine, The Road, and Sherlock Holmes look to duke it out for critical accolades. Above all, though, may be the fight between The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Avatar to break box-office records.
Want to know get the full rundown? Check out ReelzChannel's Winter Movie Preview for trailers and info on the movies we'll be talking about for months to come. Posted 10.08.09 by reelz
While director James McTeigue won't admit he's directing the next Superman, he is working on Ninja Assassin, an upcoming bloody and violent action movie starring Korean pop star Rain. The movie follows a rogue assassin who joins an Interpol agent to bring down a clan of, well, ninja assassins. The latest clip shows off the movie's fight choreography and stunt work. Check it out below: Posted 09.10.09 by Ryan
Last week, IESB reported that Warner Bros. had closed the door on Bryan Singer's involvement with Superman and were looking to reboot the franchise, possibly with James McTeigue as director and Andy and Larry Wachowski producing.
Warner was supposedly hoping for a more action-oriented director, which McTeigue may prove to be with his upcoming Ninja Assassin. However, when SlashFilm asked McTeigue about the possibility of directing Superman, his answer was decidely vague:
You know ... I ... I would say. .. I'll keep you guessing, actually. It's good not to dispel every rumor, right?
McTeigue's answer was surprising considering he was the one to announce Warner's interest in having the Wachowskis take over the Superman franchise in February. At the time, McTeigue thought the Wachowskis may be too busy should their pet project Plastic Man get off the ground, though McTeigue says the movie, at this point, is dead:
Obviously, Larry and Andy, did a script for Plastic Man back in the day. I'll be very surprised if that movie gets made. We haven't ever really talked about it. But I know it's still a Joel [Silver] property or a Warner property...
After directing V For Vendetta, McTeigue has been no stranger to comic book adaptation speculation. At one point he was in talks to direct X-Men Origins: Magneto, though he dismissed those rumors:
[Magneto] was just one of those rumors that started out and I don't know where it came from or how it came up. I think that David Goyer would be surprised about that actually.
I mean, you know, it's not a bad idea.
So no Plastic Man, Magneto's "not a bad idea," and maybe to Superman? McTeigue could potentially have a full slate is any of these rumors become substantiated. Until then, fanboys will have to wait on Ninja Assassin's November 25 release to see if McTeigue's got the goods. Posted 08.07.09 by Ryan