Moviemakers have repeatedly insisted that The Book of Eli, despite its setting, is not a Western. Sure it's all about a showdown in a small Western town between a mysterious stranger and the the local powers that be. But, as they pointed out in a recent group interview with SCI FI Wire, there are some significant departures from the genre classics.
First of all it's set in a bleak, post-apocalyptic future. And then there's the religious angle that has been highlighted in the movie's recent poster campaign. Eli is on a quest to deliver a book with a key to the salvation of what's left of humanity to its rightful place. As Denzel Washington, who plays Eli, puts it, the movie is essentially
a classic battle between God and the devil, or even more specifically for the character of [Eli], I mean, he's five days' walk from the Promised Land, if you will, for taking this book where it belongs, and literally all hell breaks loose.
The specifics of how hell breaks loose contain an interesting twist, as well. In what seems to be a nod to the samurai origins of the spaghetti Western, they've put Eli's mad sword-fighting skills at the center of the action. One of the most impressive sequences from the trailer has Eli fighting off a hoard of thugs just with his machete. And as a recent behind-the-scenes video reveals, Washington took a hands-on approach to these scenes and actually did the stunts himself. Posted 01.04.10 by reelz
Action and atmosphere remain high on the menu in the new trailer for the Hughes brothers' post-apocalyptic spaghetti western The Book of Eli.
Eli (Denzel Washington) lays out the story with the voice of a prophet, sure of his destiny as the only one who can save the world 30 winters after "the sun tore a whole in the sky." He carries the book with all the answers and will not give it up lightly, as those who mess with him along the way soon discover.
All this sets up a major conflict with Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who runs the desolate desert town Eli has wandered into. Here we get a glimpse of the beginnings of what looks to be a pretty explosive showdown. Posted 09.25.09 by reelz
Gary Oldman dropped a bomb on the crowd in attendance at SDCC during a panel discussing for the upcoming Book of Eli. According to IGN Oldman announced that a third Batman is in the works and will start filming next year. He said the movie will be released in two years.
"But you didn't hear that from me," said Oldman some guy. Posted 07.24.09 by Ryan
The first trailer for the post-apocalyptic saga The Book of Eli has arrived in advance of today's panel discussion of the movie at Comic-Con. Very gritty and atmospheric, it opens with a panoramic introduction to what's left of life after war "tore a hole in the sky." For the most part it's pretty empty, with dead trees, broken abandoned freeways, and endlses desert.
Enter Denzel Washington — a lone wanderer protecting a book that holds the key to humanity's salvation. He's a total badass, putting down those who would stand in his way with a verbal style modeled after Clint Eastwood and a way with the machete reminiscent of Wesley Snipes in Blade. Check it out below: Posted 07.24.09 by reelz
Although it admittedly has a lot of the trappings of a classic western set in a sci-fi future -- a small western town, a saloon, gunfights, etc. -- filmmakers say that The Book of Eli is no cowboy flick. Co-Director Albert Hughes was quite emphatic about this point during a recent set visit by the crew at Sci-Fi Wire:
[It's] the thing that the studio has been scared of and Warner Brothers, even, like, "It's not a western, it's not a western, it's not a western," And it's not a western, because ... it is set in the West, but it's not from ... that time period.
Fair enough, but setting a western in the future is hardly unprecedented (think Firefly), and not necessarily a bad thing either. Even Hughes admits that in this project he was strongly influenced by Sergio Leone and had originally considered filming in Almeria, Spain, where the the Italian director shot his legendary spaghetti westerns. So what will it turn out to be then? A sci-fi apocalypse with a spaghetti-western accent perhaps? Posted 05.29.09 by reelz
Even after the apocalypse, you've gotta have your priorities. Wandering across the dry and desolate landscape and protecting a book that could be the key to humanity's survival, Eli (Denzel Washington) comes to a fork in the road and decides to venture into a town run by Carnegie (Gary Oldman) to fill up his canteen and ... to recharge his iPod. And thus his troubles begin in earnest in the futuristic Western The Book of Eli.
To go along with this plot tidbit, USA Today has some stills from the movie, including a picture of Denzel at that portentous fork in the road, and some interesting details about the conditions under which the filming took place.
With its freezing temperatures, and unpredictable storms of snow and dust, the location in the New Mexico desert where the film is shot feels almost too apocalyptic, the paper suggests. But when you really are shooting the end of the world, it might be just right, adds co-director Albert Hughes. At one point, he says, the harsh terrain even seemed to come to the aid of filmmakers:
We had one scene where Denzel had to kill off one of his enemies.... Right after he kills the guy, a little dust storm picks up and blows right over them. It was eerie. We're going to have people thinking an effect was computer-generated, when really it was just from shooting out here. Posted 05.27.09 by reelz
Insider sources on the Iron Man 2 set recently reported a visit by Garry Shandling, the hilarious actor and comedian of It's Garry Shandling's Show and the satirical late night talk show spoof, The Larry Sanders Show. It has been rumored that Shandling will appear as Senator Stern, the character in the X-Men mythos who uses his political power to champion the Mutant Registration Act.
Now, according to IESB, Gary Oldman, the chameleonic actor who became famous playing gruesome villains in True Romance, The Professional and The Fifth Element, and who recently portrayed Commissioner Gordon in The Dark Knight, has been spotted on the set. There was no speculation about what character (if any) Oldman will portray or how long he will be on set, especially considering the fact that he is currently filming The Book of Eli.
This wouldn't be the first time that an actor appearing in a major motion picture based upon a character from one of the "big two" comic book companies made the leap to a film based on a character from the competition. James Marsden portrayed Marvel Comics' Cyclops in all three X-Men films and then appeared in DC Comics' Superman Returns as Lois Lane's love interest. Posted 04.08.09 by BrentJS
New hints about the plot of The Book of Eli, a post-apocalyptic Western currently filming in the New Mexico desert, are starting to make it sound like some kind of curious cross between The Postman and Sunshine. Early word had the film centering on a lone hero (Denzel Washington) who "fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind." Some pretty clear echos of The Postman there. Now, during a a set visit by Entertainment Tonight, Mila Kunis, who joined the cast last November, let slip just what brought on this particular apocalypse: the sun exploded, leaving Earth a dry desert wasteland. Sounds extreme. Perhaps she meant a solar flare. In either case, not so bad, considering. Unlike Sunshine though, it seems that redemption will come not in trying to fix the sun but in somehow finding hope for those who miraculously survived. Looks like Denzel has his work cut out for him. Posted 03.18.09 by reelz
Earlier this week news emerged that Bruno Heller, creator of HBO's Rome, was looking to adapt his highly acclaimed (and tragically short-lived) period drama for the big screen. Yesterday former Rome star Ray Stevenson talked to us about the prospect of reprising his role as the boisterous, hedonistic, and occasionally heroic Titus Pullo in the proposed movie, which Heller has hinted could revolve around the rise of a certain charismatic religious leader:
"Well, when you look at it, people say, 'Oh, you're going to get into the time of Christ,' but nobody knew it was Christ, you know what I mean?" said Stevenson. "The Bible wasn't even written until a hundred years after his passing. And at that time, it wasn't like the year zero, and then we get to the year 34 or whenever. You're still at the height of the Roman Empire. In their society, their system, you've got this emerging religion -- fast-growing, rebellious, upsetting the status quo of your politics and everything, and challenging the basis of your religions and gods or whatever, and there's a power struggle. There's ways of dealing with issues without smashing an egg with a sledgehammer, but these things are recurrent themes throughout the history of mankind."
This week, Stevenson stars as cop-turned-vigilante Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone. For more of his musings on Titus Pullo as well a preview of his next project, The Book of Eli, check out our exclusive interview. Posted 12.04.08 by reelz
Studio interest in post-apocalyptic flicks has exploded in recent years, with big-budget projects like I Am Legend, Wall-E, Terminator Salvation, and Viggo Mortensen's upcoming The Road showcasing various harrowing visions of humanity's future.
One post-apocalyptic project that has managed to fly somewhat under the radar is The Book of Eli, the first movie helmed by sibling directors Albert and Allen Hughes since 2001's From Hell. The film stars Denzel Washington as the “lone hero in a not-too-distant apocalyptic future who must fight across America to bring society the knowledge that could be the key to its redemption,” with said knowledge presumably contained in the titular book.
Little is known about The Book of Eli beyond the above-mentioned Variety synopsis, so today we asked Punisher: War Zone star Ray Stevenson, who recently joined the film's cast, to shed some light on its futuristic setting:
"The world in which it is set is completely uncompromising," Stevenson told us. "The most precious commodity is actually water, because virtually all of the water is poison, toxic -- whether it's due to eruptions from the earth or the poisons in the sky. These very basic things are what drives human nature down to almost animalistic qualities. But what still separates us from the animals?"
Stevenson will play an enforcer sent to hunt down Denzel before he can rescue humanity from its dismal fate. The Book of Eli starts shooting in New Mexico in February, with a release date slated for January 15, 2010. Posted 12.02.08 by reelz