Being familiar with the Warren Ellis original property, I was curious going into the panel for Summit Entertainment’s Red to see how far the tone of the film was going to change from the dark, violent graphic novel to the lighter blackly comic adaptation.
Moderator Eric Mora, Editor in chief of IGN Movies, introduced original Red comic creator Warren Ellis, artist Cully Hammer, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, and actors Karl Urban, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, and Bruce Willis to the panel.
Bruce Willis praised the work of his co-stars, Mirren noted that with her and Morgan Freeman that they had both “the Queen and God” in the film, as she sported a Harvey Pekar memorial sweater. Warren Ellis noted that his motivation for allowing his property to be adapted was “lots of money… I could buy most of you now.” He wanted the producers to roll with the film in whatever direction they wanted.
Then they rolled footage on a new trailer (now up on Apple), which featured much more of the comic relief elements of Freeman and John Malkovich’s characters. I’ll be honest with you, seeing Helen Mirren handily blasting away with heavy firearms gave me GILFy feelings I probably shouldn’t admit to.
Q&A time featured Willis comparing making the film to “recess at school.” Willis and Mirren were asked what it was like to “Be John Malkovich,” to which Mirren complimented the renaissance quality of his talents. Urban mentioned that the action training was “intense,” but fun. Parker contrasted her work on Weeds to Red in that a film set moves much slower, and allows a character to grow within a scene, compared to a TV shoot.
Willis talked about the importance on an action film set to keep cast and crew safe and how much he enjoyed fighting Karl Urban. Urban described his character as not a cut-and-dry bad guy, but one with subtle dimension and motivation. Parker said the key to shooting a gun on screen is to look like you constantly have to pee. Willis and Mirren talked about their on-set bonding rituals. Warren Ellis snidely remarked that “if you write a graphic novel with the intent of making it into a movie, that way lies to madness or Mark Millar.” Mirren was ‘shit-scared’ at first with the unknown genre (for her) of an action film, but felt at ease with using “guns instead of words.”
Photos by Dave3