Sylvain White, the director behind the successful film Stomp the Yard, is busying shooting his next film, The Losers, an adaptation of the popular Vertigo comic book about a CIA team betrayed by their handlers. However, that doesn't mean that he's not still thinking about his next project. The director has been developing, for several years, not only an adaptation of the popular video game, Castlevania, but also an adaptation of the hugely popular graphic novel, Ronin by comic book legend Frank Miller.
I recently had the chance to speak with White and I asked him if he was still developing the big screen adaptation of Ronin? "Absolutely," said the director. "It's still being developed. I just got a new draft a week ago. It's looking really good and promising. I hope it gets to go."
Since White is currently on location shooting The Losers, I asked him if he was concerned about possibly going from one comic book film to another and being trapped as a director? "Well, you always worry about being pin holed," said White. "I haven't been yet. You always worry about that, no matter which genre you do. Luckily for me so far, every time I've done a movie it's been a completely different genre. If I went to Ronin, it would be a very different genre from this movie, even though the source material is still a graphic novel. You're going from a gritty action film to a sci-fi, fun, light and contemporary action film to a very dark, futuristic sci-fi film, so I'm not worried."
We continued to discuss the project and his vision for the film. I asked if he thought he would stick close to the source material, shooting frame for frame or instead take more freedom with the project? "The fortunate thing is that Ronin is some of Frank's earlier work," said White. "What works for me in the graphic novel, aesthetically-speaking, is the design of Aquarius and the design of New York. So I would pay homage to him more in the production design versus the actual frames. The frames in Ronin are some beautiful frames. To me the beautiful thing about Ronin is the production design, the character design and the colors that are used. I think you can frame things with much more depth and beauty on film than you can in a graphic. Replicating frames, that's a different language. You want to always stay true to the graphic novel, but you're watching a different medium. You never want to remind the audience that they're watching a graphic novel or [something from] a graphic novel source. You just want them to watch a great movie. If they know it's based on a graphic novel, awesome and if you make the fans happy because you paid good tribute to the source material, awesome. I don't think you make fans happy by just replicating frames. What they want to see is that you stayed true to the story, true to the characters and true to the design."The director continued to explain his vision for the film. "It's a big-budget, big blockbuster take on it," White said. "I'd love to do it in 3D. I think it'd be ridiculous and amazing. That's an additional budget issue, but it's the kind of movie that would be great. I think it'd make a brilliant video game as well, something along the lines of 'Assassin's Creed' but from a first-person perspective. I think it's just a great property and a great concept. It's got so many ideas in it in terms of commentary and philosophy. Frank Miller is a genius when it comes to that. It took so long because the source material is so complex. It's very difficult, and it's not linear, and it doesn't really fit into a film format off the bat. It's not a straight adaptation like '300 was or even Watchmen. It's not as simple. I think with Ronin we need a little bit of streamlining, otherwise it's too esoteric. You need a little bit of streamlining, but the story and the characters, if I get to do that movie, will all be there. I'm the guy who wants to respect the authors and the source material as a fan of graphic novels who grew up reading them. It's something that needs to be done right."
Finally, I asked White about the film adaptation of the video game Castlevania, which he has been developing for years. "Castlevania is a project that I developed for a couple of years at Universal. We got to a really good point, then the division of Universal folded, and I jumped on another movie. Now it's set up somewhere else, and I believe that someone else got attached. It's one of my favorite video games, and I'm a huge video game player. I played that game for 25 years, and I loved developing it. I almost feel like I've already shot it because I was so into it for a while. I think it'll be a great movie if they do it right," concluded the director.
The Losers attacks theatres in 2010.