Moore in an interview with MtV

Discussion in 'DC Comics Films' started by Xofenroht, Mar 19, 2006.

  1. Xofenroht

    Xofenroht The Mad Moreno

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    Alan Moore, the king of comics, is at his home in Northampton, England. He's been working on a new story called "Lost Girls." Actually he's been working on it for the last 16 years, but now it's done and due out this summer as a graphic novel, illustrated by his fiancee, the artist Melinda Gebbe. It's a wild tale, even by the 52-year-old Moore's standards: Three heroines of classic children's literature — Alice from "Alice in Wonderland," Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" and Wendy from "Peter Pan" — meet up in London in 1913 and realize that their respective stories are actually metaphors for sexual awakening. Very erotic. Or, as Moore prefers to think of it, very pornographic.

    The sex-filled "Lost Girls" may be a little too scary for Hollywood, which has heretofore adored Moore's work and turned three of his creations (the graphic novels "From Hell" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," as well as the supernatural investigator John Constantine) into very bad movies. Moore's densely complex 1987 graphic novel, "Watchmen" (illustrated by Dave Gibbons), has been banging around Hollywood for years (director Terry Gilliam was once attached to it), but has yet to be made. "V for Vendetta," however, the '80s series he did with artist David Lloyd, has — and Moore is not happy about it. He read the script and hated it and, as is now his customary practice, he's had his name taken off the movie and directed that all profits he might be due from the film be given to Lloyd instead.

    Alan Moore very rarely gives interviews, but MTV News' Jennifer Vineyard spoke to him at length by phone recently about "V for Vendetta," about his Hollywood problem, about the perils of working with Johnny Depp and Sean Connery, and about his latest project.

    MTV: Could you see "Lost Girls" being made into a film?

    Alan Moore: I don't see how adapting it to another medium makes any sense at all. But that's me. I am a little cranky sometimes. And it wouldn't be fair of me to say no if Melinda [Gebbe] did want to see "Lost Girls" made into a film. My position is, I don't want my name on it and I don't want the money. But also, how would they get actors of any quality to appear in a hard-core sex film? We'd need Judi Dench for it, and I don't think she'd do it. But I really doubt that any of my comics can be [successfully] made into films, because that's not how I write them.

    MTV: But you do have a very cinematic style.

    Moore: In comics the reader is in complete control of the experience. They can read it at their own pace, and if there's a piece of dialogue that seems to echo something a few pages back, they can flip back and check it out, whereas the audience for a film is being dragged through the experience at the speed of 24 frames per second. So even for a director like Terry Gilliam, who delights in cramming background details into his movies, there's no way he'd be able to duplicate what Dave Gibbons was able to do in "Watchmen." We could place almost subliminal details in every panel, and we knew that the reader could take the time to spot everything. There's no way you could do that in a film.

    I met Terry Gilliam, and he asked me, "How would you make a film of 'Watchmen'?" And I said, "Don't." I think he eventually came to agree with me that it was a film better unmade. In Hollywood you're going to have the producers and the backers putting in their ... well, I don't want to dignify them by calling them ideas, but ... having their input, shall we say. You're going to get actors who'll say they don't want to say this line or play this character like that. I mean the police inspector in "From Hell," Fred Abberline, was based on real life: He was an unassuming man in middle age who was not a heavy drinker and who, as far as I know, remained faithful to his wife throughout his entire life. Johnny Depp saw fit to play this character as an absinthe-swilling, opium-den-frequenting dandy with a haircut that, in the Metropolitan Police force in 1888, would have gotten him beaten up by the other officers.

    On the other hand when I have got an opium-addicted character, in Allan Quatermain [in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"], this was true to the [original] character — he showed a fondness for drugs on several occasions. But Sean Connery didn't want to play him as a drug-addled individual. So the main part of Quatermain's character was thrown out the window on the whim of an actor. I don't have these problems in comics.

    MTV: So why sell the film rights in the first place? My position used to be: If the film is a masterpiece, that has nothing to do with my book. If the film is a disaster, that has nothing to do with my book. They're two separate entities, and people will understand that. This was very naive because most people are not bothered with whether it's adapted from a book or not. And if they do know, they assume it was a faithful adaptation. There's no need to read the book if you've seen the film, right? And how many of the audience who went to see "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" thought, "Hmmm, I've really got to go read 'The Odyssey' "?

    Moore: When you're talking about things like "V for Vendetta" or "Watchmen," I don't have a choice. Those were works which DC Comics kind of tricked me out of, so they own all that stuff and it's up to them whether the film gets made or not. All I can do is say, "I want my name taken off of it and I don't want any of the money." I'd rather the money be distributed amongst the artists. But even though [the filmmakers] were aware that I'd asked that my name be taken off "V for Vendetta" and had already signed my money away to the artist, they issued a press release saying I was really excited about the film. Which was a lie. I asked for a retraction, but they weren't prepared to do that. So I announced I wouldn't be working with DC Comics anymore. I just couldn't bear to have any contact with DC Comics, Warner Bros. or any of this shark pool ever again.

    One of the things I don't like about film is its incredible immersive quality. It's kind of bullying — it's very big, it's very flashy, it's got a lot of weight and it throws it around almost to the detriment of the rest of our culture. And I have gotten tired of lazy critics who, when they want to insult a film, they'll say it has "comic book characters" or a "comic book plot" — using "comic book" as code for "illiterate."

    MTV: They've probably never read a comic book.

    Moore: That's it. I'm not going to claim all comic books are literate — there's a lot of rubbish out there. But there have been some very literate comic books done over the last 20 years, some marvelous ones. And to actually read a comic, you do have to be able to read, which is not something you can say about watching a film. So as for which medium is literate, give me comics any day.

    MTV: There is one possible solution, something that Neil Gaiman is now doing with his "Death: The High Cost of Living" and Frank Miller has done with "Sin City": Why not direct the films yourself?

    Moore: I don't have any interest in directing films of my work. If something worked perfectly in one genre, why is there any reason to assume it's going to work as well or better in another genre that it wasn't designed for? I've not seen "Ghost World," but I've been told it's very good. I've not been told that it's better than the comic.

    MTV: What about something that is true to the spirit of the original work, like "The Lord of the Rings"?

    Moore: CGI makes me spit vitriol and bile and venom. When it comes to films, give me someone like [surrealist filmmaker] Jean Cocteau. When he wants to have somebody reaching into a mirror, he spends all of about five dollars on the special effect: He gets a tray, fills it with mercury and then turns the camera on its side. That is poetry. That is magic.

    I have a theory, which has not let me down so far, that there is an inverse relationship between imagination and money. Because the more money and technology that is available to [create] a work, the less imagination there will be in it. My favorite films are those that were made on a shoestring. And they weren't adaptations of some other work, they were original pieces of cinema. All right, [Cocteau's] "La Belle Et La Bête" is an adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast" — but it was made into something very different. And I mean, John Waters, his early films, they're terrific! Because he was making them with some friends of his from Baltimore, with whatever cheap film stock he could borrow or steal. George Romero, in "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead," all the rest of them, he ingeniously used the fact that he had almost no budget to his advantage — claustrophobic sets, everyone's trapped in the cellar and the zombies are trying to dig their way in. Very inexpensive, incredibly powerful. That is where cinema really works for me.

    If you give me a typewriter and I'm having a good day, I can write a scene that will astonish its readers. That will perhaps make them laugh, perhaps make them cry — that will have some emotional clout to it. It doesn't cost much to do that. But if you said, "Astonish the audience," and you gave me a quarter of a million — well, my auntie could astonish an audience if she got that much money! Real art and the things that actually change our culture tend to happen on the margins. They don't happen in the middle of a big marquee.

    MTV: But couldn't there ever be an exception? And since you haven't seen it, couldn't "V for Vendetta" be that exception?

    Moore: I've read the screenplay, so I know exactly what they're doing with it, and I'm not going to be going to see it. When I wrote "V," politics were taking a serious turn for the worse over here. We'd had [Conservative Party Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher in for two or three years, we'd had anti-Thatcher riots, we'd got the National Front and the right wing making serious advances. "V for Vendetta" was specifically about things like fascism and anarchy.

    Those words, "fascism" and "anarchy," occur nowhere in the film. It's been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country. In my original story there had been a limited nuclear war, which had isolated Britain, caused a lot of chaos and a collapse of government, and a fascist totalitarian dictatorship had sprung up. Now, in the film, you've got a sinister group of right-wing figures — not fascists, but you know that they're bad guys — and what they have done is manufactured a bio-terror weapon in secret, so that they can fake a massive terrorist incident to get everybody on their side, so that they can pursue their right-wing agenda. It's a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values [standing up] against a state run by neo-conservatives — which is not what "V for Vendetta" was about. It was about fascism, it was about anarchy, it was about [England]. The intent of the film is nothing like the intent of the book as I wrote it. And if the Wachowski brothers had felt moved to protest the way things were going in America, then wouldn't it have been more direct to do what I'd done and set a risky political narrative sometime in the near future that was obviously talking about the things going on today?

    George Clooney's being attacked for making ["Good Night, and Good Luck"], but he still had the nerve to make it. Presumably it's not illegal — not yet anyway — to express dissenting opinions in the land of free? So perhaps it would have been better for everybody if the Wachowski brothers had done something set in America, and instead of a hero who dresses up as Guy Fawkes, they could have had him dressed as Paul Revere. It could have worked.


    :up: :up:
     
  2. Robot Komakino

    Robot Komakino Registered

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  3. He still sounds kind of bitter to me, but it was a good read and at least he was more clearer about what had happened.

    I just assumed he was whining, complaining, and being hateful just to be hateful. But as I said before, if he felt that strongly about his material, then he could've easily pulled a Frank Miller and signed on as a co-director to provide his vision to the movie.

    I doubt Sin City would've turned out the way it did if Frank wasn't involved.
     
  4. The Guard

    The Guard Registered

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    He does sound bitter. But I would imagine that if he'd wanted to, he could have been a co-writer, a co-director, almost anything to make the project better. He didn't want to be involved, and he's insanely biased against adaptions to begin with. Fine. And I'm sorry, but while the words "facism" and "anarchy" don't appear in the film, as I recall, they shouldn't have to, there is clearly a ton of facism and anarchy in the film.
     
  5. Nivek

    Nivek Registered

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    He sounds pissy, thats for sure. But it's not like he's the only writer that had his works adopted on film and it turned out badly.
     
  6. War Party

    War Party Ve vant ze money,Lebowski

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  7. antmanx68

    antmanx68 Registered

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    The Guy's a genius, and when you're that creative and you put a lot of thought into one of your works, then someone takes it and re-shapes it into something different without your permission it would piss you off.... especially if you feel like they missed the point. I would agree that he sounds cranky and bitter, but i think he has a right to be. I loved the movie, i'm sure I would love the comic too.... so as a fan i guess you just have to like what you like.
     
  8. Xofenroht

    Xofenroht The Mad Moreno

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    Yeah but on 4 occasions? I'd be bitter too. Really, once is a muck up, 4 times is a blatant insult.
     
  9. Tanin

    Tanin Vladeck

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    I don't think he likes any movie adaptions at all by anyone.
     
  10. Darthphere

    Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    Great article. I thinl its a disservice however to say DC tricked him out of the rights to V and Watchmen.
     
  11. Xofenroht

    Xofenroht The Mad Moreno

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    You have a point. I won't say they didn't trick him, but I will say that it was poor foresight on his part. Then again, I guess he didn't want to feel full of himself in thinking that the book wouldn't go anywhere.
     
  12. DACrowe

    DACrowe Registered

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    Full of bitter and piss and wind. A great writer, but his stuff always made me think he was a little off and seeing his picture recently and hearing his interviews confirms this.

    HOWEVER, I am not saying that he is wrong. He very much has a good point and I tend to agree with quite a bit of what he says and respect what I don't. However, the last hting I expected him to be offended by V for Vendetta was the updating it so it would still have relavence. Yes it serves as a parallel for America but also it does comment on the direction Britian is going in by following the US. And it was pretty obvious this was a fascist government and anarchy was occuring.

    However, again, V as an anarchist is much more downplayed and he seems to believe in more the Lockeian ideals (life, liberty and property) which leads me to suspect him as a supporter of true democracy. Not what Moore wrote and very understandable about his reaction. I expected more aobut the condensing of his story and the removal of certain acharacters and the shifting the focus of the end to be just as much about action and love as V's final ideal. It was strange that he preferred it to be dated in the 1980s it seems.

    Oh well.
     
  13. Darthphere

    Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    Just an observation that people will not agree with me probably. Alan moore has stated that he gave up the rights to V and Watchmen so easily because he didnt think much of them. He showed a certain lack of respect in his own writing, in other words didnt think it was that great. Since they were huge successes and has easily become widely recognized as one of the best in the business, he seemes to have taken this hard stance on things. Hes overconfident and possibly go as far as to say full of himself. Thats what I see.
     
  14. KingOfDreams

    KingOfDreams Registered

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    good interview
     
  15. Leto Atrides

    Leto Atrides Guest

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    He has some points, but if the movie was exactly as he wanted, he'd still hate it. He's a great writer, but he's not the world's most sane individual.
     
  16. Mr. Socko

    Mr. Socko Registered

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    He's a bitter old hack, but I like him.
     
  17. ChrisBaleBatman

    ChrisBaleBatman Legendary Hero

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    He makes some excellent points.
     
  18. kainedamo

    kainedamo Registered

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    Great interview. For everything negative someone had to say about Moore, he had a rebuttal for it here.

    Why not co-write or co-direct? He has no interest. He doesn't see the point in making a movie version and he doesn't see why the books need validation by having movies made of them.

    This was probably my favourite part...

    "Those words, "fascism" and "anarchy," occur nowhere in the film. It's been turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country. In my original story there had been a limited nuclear war, which had isolated Britain, caused a lot of chaos and a collapse of government, and a fascist totalitarian dictatorship had sprung up. Now, in the film, you've got a sinister group of right-wing figures — not fascists, but you know that they're bad guys — and what they have done is manufactured a bio-terror weapon in secret, so that they can fake a massive terrorist incident to get everybody on their side, so that they can pursue their right-wing agenda. It's a thwarted and frustrated and perhaps largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values [standing up] against a state run by neo-conservatives — which is not what "V for Vendetta" was about. It was about fascism, it was about anarchy, it was about [England]. The intent of the film is nothing like the intent of the book as I wrote it. And if the Wachowski brothers had felt moved to protest the way things were going in America, then wouldn't it have been more direct to do what I'd done and set a risky political narrative sometime in the near future that was obviously talking about the things going on today?"

    Very, very well said. If you're going to change it so much, toning down the whole anarchy aspect, update it so it applies to modern times, then why not make an original movie? I agree that the Wachowskies lack the balls to make a movie that outright shows the US and what's wrong with it.

    Moore also made an excellent point about actors. Actors will often say they don't want to say certain lines, or that they want to play characters this way or that way. As a writer of comic books, Alan Moore has full creative control.

    And... excellent point about special effects. I agree that when a movie has a large budget, the effects get lazy. Yeah, let's make everything CG!! I think physical effects are better. And some of the magic of cinema is taken away when EVERYTHING is CG. I mean, look at John Carpenter's The Thing! Could you imagine the CGI in a new remake of that movie??
     
  19. Mr. Socko

    Mr. Socko Registered

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    Oh, and if it had alot to do with fascism and anarchy, it wouldn't have attracted any kids in the movie at all or people who don't care about politics. My uncle was going to take his 10 year old son to see this movie but after reading reviews and seeing the movie heavily involves politics he decided to not take him. Alot of parents don't care if the movie is rated R for violence, they'll let the kid see it. A bunch of kids have seen the Matrix. They're just trying to market correctly.

    Well Larry is a transexual and rumors suggest he's getting the sex change soon.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Xofenroht

    Xofenroht The Mad Moreno

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    "V for Vendetta" was never meant for kids anyway.
     
  21. Darthphere

    Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    The point he was trying to make that its ok if its Die Hard 4 but once it got too heavily political he didnt allow him to see it. In other words his dad's a hypocrite. Blood, gore and violence is ok but oooo politics no way am I letting my kid see that.
     
  22. The Squirrel

    The Squirrel Le Rongeur

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    One guy does scream "anarchy in the uk" toward the end of the film.
     
  23. HoratioRome

    HoratioRome Registered

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    enteresting interview but well I don't ,....how can I say this?

    I respect his right to feel the way he feels. I can even understand WHY he feels the way he feels. It IS in fact true that Hollywood has butchered his material in the past, and seem to have very little respect for the comic genre in general.

    Having said that, I do find him to be Too bitter and too closed minded and perhaps even a little too arrogant and self centered. He seems not to offer ANY possibility that a work of art can work in two different mediums. Inspite of clear evidence to the contrary.

    Sin city was EXACTLY as it was in the comics. EXACTLY,..and it's a well loved and respected film. reaching a much wider audience than the book ever could. what is wrong with that?

    I also disagree with him about his assessment of V the movie. His attack on the "bush era politics" could just as easily be leveled against him at the time V first came out. After all his predicitions and fears were clearly far off base. It made PERFECT sense for V the movie to SUBTLELY make the story more relevant to today's political environment, especially given the fact that waht is happening now has much more GLOBAL implications than Thatcher's England.

    This story is therefore more important and more dangerous (not to belittle Tatcher's England).


    I also hate that he so easily dismisses other artists and works of art. He does what he HATES is done to him. He dismisses, and belittles "special effects" and CGI, while at the same times can't understand why someone would have no respect for a "comic book".

    That is hypocritical and wrong. I'm sorry to tell Mr. Moore but CGI is NOT just about the money and his Aunt or whatever could NOT produce some of the FANTASTIC works of art CGI artists have produced in the past few years.
    Anyway, I find that I disagree with him.

    he strikes me as bitter almond. get it bitter almond?
     
  24. The Guard

    The Guard Registered

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    Yeah. He's not very realistic on that front. And realistically, if he wanted to be involved in the process of making his books into movies, I'm sure he could be, and they'd be better for it.

    The thing is, SIN CITY is not V FOR VENDETTA. SIN CITY is film noir/pulp stuff, and it's cool, but it doesn't require you to do a whole lot of thinking beyond the basics. The story is very easy to follow. I don't think you'd find much argument that, in general, V FOR VENDETTA is a deeper, more layered work than SIN CITY is to begin with. Naturally, then, it's more difficult to adapt for general audiences.

    Exactly.

    Yup.
     
  25. NateGray

    NateGray Registered

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    Excellent post :up:
    I concour completely and do not think he is nearly as great as he thinks he is.
    It is pretty sad when someone thinks they are just great and can do no wrong as he tries to spin himself.
     

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