By Emmett Furey, Staff Writer

Mon, April 21st, 2008 at 11:58AM PST

(Updated: Tue, April 22nd, 2008 at 1:19PM PST)

On Saturday at New York Comic-Con 2008, writer/director Frank Miller, star Eva Mendes and producers Deborah Del Prete and Michael Uslan were on hand to talk about the upcoming big screen adaptation of Will Eisner’s “The Spirit,” and CBR News was there.

MTV’s Kurt Loder moderated the “Spirit” panel, and touted Will Eisner as one of the pioneers who invented modern comics as we know them. Frank Miller himself was influenced by Eisner.

Loder asked Miller how he was able to distill 12 years of “Spirit” stories into one movie. Miller said it wasn’t a matter of distillation but one of discovery. “I started out trying to apply a novelist’s rules to the project, but found it didn’t apply at all,” Miller said. Instead, Miller started by cherry picking the elements that he thought had to be in a “Spirit” movie. Miller said working with Prete on the script was an “amazing collaboration,” and that she was both a great storyteller and had a great deal of discipline. “She was there for every show, a bulwark against the forces of darkness.”

Mendes seconded Miller’s sentiment. “She is the badass of badass female producers,” Mendes said. “We couldn’t have done it without Deborah.”

Loder asked Miller how he arrived at the look for the film. “I threw out everything Eisner did,” Miller joked. In all seriousness, “I knew if I erected a rusty monument to ‘The Spirit,’ [Eisner] would rise from the dead and strangle me.” Miller was determined that the “Spirit” movie would be as bold as the source material was when it was first published in the ‘30s. The visual look of the “Spirit” film is the natural extension of the look pioneered in the “Sin City” film, which Miller thinks lends itself to Eisner’s story. “For purists, it may be a bit of shock,” Miller admitted.

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