Since its announcement nearly two years ago, there’s been very little buzz about Solomon Kane, the big-screen adaptation of the Robert E. Howard books about a 16th century wandering Puritan on a path to vanquish evil in the most badass of ways.
At the San Diego Comic-Con today, the film’s director Michael J. Bassett, producer Samuel Hadida, and star James Purefoy were on hand for the Solomon Kane panel to give audiences their first glimpse of the film.
From the trailer and clips shown, we see that Kane (played by Rome‘s James Purefoy), a formerly greedy warrior who meets someone with more power than him who takes him almost to Hell. Kane has to suffer the consequences of his earlier immoral actions and his soul is in jeopardy. From there, Kane embarks on a path of redemption, trying to avoid the road to Hell, fighting evil across the land. In his journeys, he meets up with a good family who shows him there’s goodness in the world; he also believes that this family could help him on this mission.
Director Bassett likens Kane to Batman, a man without superpowers who’s strong and has a strong belief in his own convictions and strengths. While Kane has renounced violence, he finds that the road to redemption is not always a peaceful one.
The film is in the style sword and sorcery 1980s movies like Beastmaster, and there’s even a scene when the pre-redemption Kane leads his men into a place where these creatures come out of the mirrors and sucks in the men with them. It’s very reminiscent of the creatures in Beastmaster that crush the evil army at the end.
Purefoy, known for his role in HBO’s Rome and more recently The Philanthropist television series, is a cross between Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing and Viggo Mortensen’s Aragon. Kane battles the supernatural army, swordfighting — and defeating — several appointments at a time. The filmmakers stressed that the swordfighting was meant to be serious and to have consequences — people get hurt and it’s not so easy for Kane to defeat everyone, even if he has the confidence to do so. The panelists also pointed out that although there’s a supernatural element to the film, it’s not tongue-in-cheek or ironic, it’s a very serious film.
The story for the first film deals in part with the character’s origin story, even though Howard never really explored Kane’s beginnings. There’s been hints, but Bassett explained that Howard’s accounts of Kane’s origins are conflicting, so Bassett said they had to take some liberties to flesh out the origin story. Some of Howards stories state that Kane was always a puritan on a righteous path, yet others, like “Blue Flame of Vengenace,” have Kane talking about how guilty he felt for all the bad things he’d done.
The filmmakers said that they have plans to make Solomon Kane a trilogy of films, with the second movie dealing with Kane’s time in Africa and the origins of the Ju-Ju staff, with the third film bringing Kane back to America for an adventure with Native Americans.
Also starring in Solomon Kane are Pete Postlethwaite, Max Von Sydow, and Rachel Hurd Wood. Mackenzie Crook, from UK Office and the Pirates of the Caribbean films, makes an appearance as a priest with ulterior motives. There’s no release date for the film for the United States at this point, because, as the panelists explained, they do not yet know if there will be enough reception in the States (they said they are already secure for release dates overseas).