Sin City Gets Recut and Extended

Artist Frank Miller was the last person to believe his graphic novel series, “Sin City,” could successfully be re-created as a feature-length film. That was before he began working with director Robert Rodriguez and the two teamed up as co-directors on Sin City. The success of the movie and its faithful recreation of Miller’s stark black-and-white style was a triumph for Rodriguez.

Additional details about the filmmakers experiences and the technology used to re-create Miller’s world are given exhaustive coverage in the new, two-disc DVD of Sin City available on Dec. 13 (read our review). The special edition DVD is full of extras and there was so much to share that Rodriguez, Miller and special guest director Quentin Tarantino all got together in Los Angeles to screen the DVD and participate in a Q &A afterward.

Guests joined the filmmakers at a private reception in the upstairs bar at the ArcLight in Hollywood where they munched on spring rolls, crab cakes and chicken fingers while trying to spot Rodriguez or Tarantino in the crowd.

Tarantino is a gregarious guy who laughs easy and often. He’s still got that manic energy that has become a hallmark of his personality. Rodriguez is more sedate and when I saw him he was normally having a quiet conversation with somebody. When I saw him at first I had to do a double-take because it looked like his arms were covered with tattoos, but it was actually a nude-colored shirt covered with tattoo designs. The look went well with his bandanna, black T-shirt, and wallet chain. Rodriguez and Tarantino are very approachable and they come across as guys who know how lucky they are to be doing what they love.

Rodriguez and Tarantino are next teaming up on Grindhouse, which brings two 60-minute horror movies by each director into one film. Tarantino will be shooting it in digital at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios in Austin, TX

Just before the screening, Rodriguez, Miller and Tarantino took part in a brief press conference and then the audience was let in. In addition to all of the extras on the DVD, Rodriguez added a re-cut, extended, unrated version of Sin City, which separates the story into four separate segments that can be watched in any order.

Those who were expecting a screening of the new version must have been disappointed that Rodriguez decided to only show four of the DVD’s special features. Of course, how often do you get to view special features in a real movie theater?

Rodriguez was especially excited about “The Long Take,” a 14-minute segment featuring Tarantino, Benicio Del Toro and Clive Owen. Rodriguez let the camera run for an hour and from that selected 14 minutes of uninterrupted footage to show the audience what it’s like on a movie set. The segment shows Tarantino talking to Owen, then Del Toro and Owen collaborating on a scene. It’s amazing how much goes into getting just a few seconds of usable footage.

Another treat Rodriguez shared was the green screen version of the movie. This is the movie without any special effects or digital enhancement, sped up about 800 percent, so it ends up being just under 10 minutes from start to finish. What is interesting about this feature is seeing just how little the actors had to work with and how much was created after filming.

Limiting the screening to just a few of the special features meant more time could be devoted to the Q & A afterward, which lasted about an hour.

When Rodriguez selected a guest to ask the first question he joked, “Yes, the guy that looks like Kevin Smith.” It turned out that the real Kevin Smith was in the audience, which Rodriguez didn’t find out until almost the end. It could be argued that Smith paved the way for Rodriguez and Tarantino by proving that you could make a movie without a big studio and build a career from it. The audience got a big kick out of seeing Smith, who wore a hockey jersey with the word “Hack” blazoned across the back. I’m not sure if that’s an actual player or a joke. I’m sure somebody will let me know.

Unfortunately, Miller’s responses were reticent and he usually just answered questions with a simple yes or no and rarely elaborated. He did enjoy ribbing Rodriguez and Tarantino and remarked that the three of them together behaved like three boys playing in a tree house.

Watching the footage and talking about making the movie made Rodriguez eager to start filming Sin City 2, but he has to wait on Miller, who is writing new material for the story. It wouldn’t surprise me if Rodriguez had planned the whole event as a way to motivate Miller to finish what he’s doing so they can get started.

Whenever the filmmakers start, you can bet Rodriguez will already be mapping out the next DVD.

Source: Sandra Kraisirideja