Hollywood has raided the libraries of Marvel, DC and every other comic book publisher it can find for potential source material, and few writers have aroused its interest like Frank Miller.
Miller wrote the graphic novels that inspired “The Dark Knight,” “Daredevil” and “300” while making the “Sin City” movies with Robert Rodriguez. At a panel for “A Dame to Kill for,” the second “Sin City” movie, Miller returned Hollywood’s affection in his own signature style.
“The comic book movies coming out have been getting better because they’ve been closer to the source material,” Miller told the crowd at Comic-Con Saturday.
Miller harbors no love for Hollywood. He once tried to be a screenwriter, but did not take to it. “Too many bosses,” Miller said, comparing a screenplay to a fire hydrant that dogs use as a urinal.
Miller designed “Sin City” as a graphic novel that could not be adapted into a film, but Robert Rodriguez came to him and promised to translate it rather than adapt it. Rodriguez, another iconoclastic control freak, has written and directed the movies with Miller, ensuring that his vision would be respected.
“He would not have done the movie had I not done it that way,” Rodriguez said.
That resulted in movies with a unique style — largely black and white with intermittent splashes of bright colors, and dialogue that harks back to 1940s film noir.
Josh Brolin, who stars in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” found the approach liberating.
“You can’t naturalize that kind of dialogue,” Brolin said. “Usually in movies you’re trying to naturalize, but you can’t in this.”
Brolin and his fellow actors share Rodriguez’ devotion to Miller’s original vision. Rodriguez gave them little choice. He kept drawings of various positions and postures handy so that he could direct actors. Miller recounted Jessica Alba assuming a position he found unfathomable.
“We’re all there to fulfill your vision,” Rodriguez quipped.
MIller seems to like it that way. He and Rodriguez are already talking about a third “Sin City.”