In theaters on February 18th, 2005
THE ACTION AND THE MARTIAL ARTS IN THE FILM
As Foster put it, the big screen adaptation of Elektra might not be striving to bring panels of the comic book directly to the screen, but it was reassured by everyone we spoke to that day that the heart and soul of what you would expect from these characters is absolutely intact. After some time spent with the martial arts coordinators of the film, it was clear that the filmmakers were on a mission to bring a different breed of comic book hero to the screen. Someone to offset what we see in contemporary comic book adaptations
After watching them film the 'kiss' sequence we traveled to a nearby hilltop set against the beautiful mountainside where we met up with stunt coordinator Marcus Young. After putting an actual bo-staff in our hands and teaching us a few basic moves the actors had to learn during the course of their training, Young explained that the filmmakers were trying to
"shy away from the Hong Kong action style in this movie and keep it more rough and rugged."
Young described the action in the film as "short and brutal", something that made Elektra more "stealthy" then other comic book heroes brought to the big screen. This was a concept that was being heavily put into play by director Rob Bowman and being achieved by the very skillful talents of Jennifer Garner. Young described Jennifer's prowess for action as key to this film's success, attributing her background in dancing and her experiences on "Alias" as the ushers in making her a bonified action star.
"She’s very flexible and has a great sense of rhythm and timing. A lot of fight scenes are about rhythm and timing, and so she adapts very well. Her determination and her drive and just being a perfectionist has been key to making this whole film run smoothly. As for the bo training, she’s spent a good time with it but as a perfectionist, she wants a little bit more time. So we’ll give that to her and we know she’ll shine on the day."
So what makes the action in Elektra different from all the other superhero based action in cinema today? Young explains...
"I don’t think you walk into it with the idea that you’re going to top some other show. You just want to be different. You want to look for your own style. A lot of that is driven by the characters themselves. It’s got to fit what the script has to say and what you want to see in that particular character. That’s the hardest part of all. We have one character who has a totally different behavior, totally different behavior, totally different way of walking. That alone is an element that will make it different."
During some Q&A with producer Gary Foster he revealed that Elektra was always part of Fox's Marvel adaptation plan. From the very inception of Daredevil, the team of filmmakers had always planned on bringing the story of Daredevil to the big screen, then to move concentration to Elektra, followed up by a sequel to Daredevil. So what can comic book fans expect from Elektra? Gary Foster explains...
"We are not right out of the pages of the comic book with two-dimensional color and bringing panels to the screen, even though we are certainly inspired by it and there will be things that remind people of panels within the comic book. This is a real world."
"I said this on Daredevil too, it’s one of the reasons we all got interested and involved in the first place, because it’s not trying to make something of fantasy. It’s trying to make something heightened out of a world that is very emotional, very real, very human, and we’ve all worked very hard to try to keep that consistent as we try to transition into this movie."
One of the looming question many comic book fans have on there minds is, will we see any cameos by characters from Daredevil? The question was asked of producer Gary Foster at one point during our visit and with a befuddled look about him, as if he didn't want to giveaway any surprises, he did mention that both Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell have wholeheartedly offered themselves for any sequence in Elektra in which they might be needed. I guess only time will tell if the filmmakers have chosen to hardline any interaction between the the characters in the Elektra and Daredevil storylines.
One of our stops long the set visit was over at the Lions Gate studio lot in Vancouver. On the studio lot we were lead by production designer Graeme Murray, in which we were taken into a gigantic soundstage where some various locations in the film had been erected.
The first set piece we visited was that of a small cabin. I assumed this was the cabin in which Elektra and crew were trying to escape to on the edge of the woods before their confrontation with the order of The Hand, but then realized that the cabin was supposedly be occupied by Mike Miller and his daughter Abby as photographs of the two were present throughout.The inside of the cabin had a homely feel to it, much like any cabin in the woods of Vancouver or elsewhere would feel. Generic cabin-like items spread about the house as well as a Christmas tree, which lead me to believe that the story may be taking place sometime in the winter.
The second soundstage we were lead to contained the unfinished construction of the interior of Elektra's family mansion. Almost complete, production designer Graeme Murray revealed that it was the biggest interior set piece being built for the film, in which a very big sequence was to shoot inside over the course of 5 days. With no hint of furniture decorating the place it was revealed that furniture will later be added to the interior which will be covered by large white sheets in order to give the mansion the appearance of abandonment.
Gold trim, purplish walls and a massive staircase are prominent inside as well as a sort of second story with what looked to be a breakaway railing.
(NOTE: It can only be my guess that some major action sequence is to be filmed in this location as Murray stated that a lot of other sequences involving the Elektra family mansion are to be filmed in various mansions spread throughout Vancouver. My guess is that the reason they needed build such an interior is so that some sort of demolishing could take place within it's confides.)
Production offices had also been setup at Lions Gate to manage all of the production design of the film such as costumes and storyboarding.As we walk through the long hallway where many preliminary and final concept sketches could be seen adorning the walls. From what was seen, Elektra can be expected to appear in various forms in the film. Her costumes range from the tight red leather you'd expect adapted from the comic book, the black leather outfit (slightly modified) she wore in Daredevil, as well as some plain clothes elements like she wore on the day of the shoot which was comprised of a black leather vest type top and plain denim jeans.
The storyboards don't reveal much as we are kept from seeing the sketches for final sequences of the film, but what was present was what looked to be some ambitious conceptions of the action in the film.
PART 3: THE PRODUCTION OF ELEKTRA
Dont't forget to also check out: Elektra