‘300’ Scribe Frank Miller And Samuel L. Jackson Together: Smells Like Team ‘Spirit’

Actor confirms exclusively to MTV News that he’ll play villain in comics demigod’s flick based on newspaper strip.

By Shawn Adler, with reporting by Larry Carroll

UNIVERSAL CITY, California — He reinvented Daredevil, breathed new life into the Dark Knight, took audiences down the mean streets of Sin City and, with “300,” even managed to make historical fiction seem badass. But the biggest reinvention of Frank Miller’s career may wind up being his own, when the comics demigod transforms himself into a big-budget director with “The Spirit,” an adaptation of Will Eisner’s eponymous newspaper strip.

“I’m flying solo,” he said at Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards (see “MTV Movie Awards Get Dirty: Baron Cohen, Ferrell Mash; Rihanna Sizzles; Silverman Says ‘Bleep!’ “). “It’s a different kind of material [for me].”

It is and it isn’t. The Spirit, a.k.a. Denny Colt, is a masked vigilante who, like Batman, fights crime with the blessing of the city’s police. Unlike, say, “Sin City,” however, “The Spirit” is known not just for its take on crime drama and film noir, but for genre-twisting forays into mystery, horror and romance.

While the end result may look unfamiliar, the process will be the same, Miller revealed, telling MTV News that he plans to shoot with the same green-screen technology he learned from Robert Rodriguez on “Sin City” (for which he was credited as a co-director) and from Zack Snyder on “300” (see ” ‘300’ Trivia: Albino Giants, Sequel Chances — And Sienna Miller”)

“It will be similar [to ‘Sin City’ and ‘300’] in terms of using the expanding technology that was used in those movies [to visualize the comic world],” Miller said. “But I hope to take things a step further, of course.”

And Samuel L. Jackson will be there to help Miller take that next step, the actor confirmed exclusively to MTV News on Friday (June 8).

When asked if his involvement as the flick’s villain, Octopus, was a done deal, he said, “As far as I’m concerned it is. I’m looking forward to it. Yeah, I’m anxious to find out what [Miller] wants me to look like, how we want to do it and when we want to start.”

Miller told MTV News at the Movie Awards that the badass actor was his top choice to play the bad guy. “I would love for Jackson to be the Octopus in the movie, the chief villain,” he said.

Miller will begin lensing the flick sometime later this year.

“It’s coming together really well — the script’s all written, and we’re going to get working on storyboarding and all the preproduction,” he said, indicating that many of the shots in the movie will be taken directly from Eisner’s comic panels. “I’m going to be doing a lot of [supplemental] drawing in the next few months.”

[This story was originally published at 6:00 a.m. ET on 6.8.2007]