The film is based on Warren Ellis’ DC Comics graphic novel and follows the story of Frank (Willis), a former CIA agent who has gone into retirement and is living a quiet existence until an assassin forces him back into the scene he left. Now that his identity has been compromised, Frank must fight back and save the woman he loves.
The film also stars Mary Louise Parker as Frank’s girlfriend; Karl Urban as the CIA agent hunting down Frank and who has been given orders to kill him; and John Malkovich as Marvin, Frank’s quirky friend. Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and Richard Dreyfuss also have roles in the action thriller.
ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype got a chance to visit the set in New Orleans and talk to the cast. We also sat down with producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who told us what fans can expect from the movie.
"It’s really an interesting project to work on because at first you think, okay well Frank’s a real interesting character but he’s a bit disaffected. He’s a very almost interior guy. So how do you take that interior guy and turn him into this kind of romp. It’s an old-fashioned word – "romp," but it feels more and more like that. It reminds me of the first ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ when we put it together where you wrote a nice high script and then George [Clooney] commits and then so and so commits and then so and so commits and it just becomes a different animal," Bonaventura said.
"And this one did that. It started with Bruce [Willis] obviously and I think Morgan [Freeman] was in second and then Helen Mirren. Then people start hearing that all these actors are jumping in. So then we started getting incoming calls. Usually you’re out there trying to shake the trees and get them to beg them in any way or form to read your script and come on board, you know? And this time it was the exact opposite as it just kept going. And we’d get calls sometimes where we’d be it’s a small part and they’re like, "We want to be on this movie. This sounds like fun." Its evolution has been a really interesting one to follow and it’s been interesting to talk to Warren [Ellis] about it too, because he’s been on board for it and he recognizes how far it’s gone from the original and also appreciates where it’s gone, which is nice to keep the original creator on board as it takes on a new life," he continued.
Since the graphic novel was rather short for a film to be based entirely on, producers had to add to the storyline to lengthen the script for the movie. According to Bonaventura, while the movie is still about Frank like the novel is, a lot of new characters have been added and there is a more humorous aspect to the film.
"It’s really funny. I guess if I had to be pinned down I’d say it’s an action/comedy as a movie – as a genre. You know we play for real stakes here but you kidnap a girl. I’ll give you an example of it: Frank is retired from the CIA and we don’t really know what he is but we know he has this phone relationship with this girl over his pension checks. And it’s clear they kind of like each other and they have this kind of fun sort of little banter and then this is the opening of the movie. And it’ll give you a sense of the tone, but it’s very quiet and it seems like he’s sort of an average guy and he goes to bed and suddenly gets up in the middle of the night and he’s going to the bathroom and shadows are passing down the hallway and three commandos attack him.