Today Movieweb had the privilege of attending both a panel and a round table discussion with the the cast and producers of Warner Bros. new graphic novel adaptation V For Vendetta. In attendance were Natalie Portman (the film’s star), producer’s Joel Silver and Grant Hill and co-creator David Lloyd.
Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked vigilante known only as “V”. Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
Opening with a trailer for the film, which received a thunderous applause, the Q&A began with someone asking Natalie Portman for an “utterly original moment”. After realizing that the person in question was referencing her film Garden State, Portman complied, much to the delight of the crowd. A producer from New Line took the stand after that and actually pitched Portman on the idea of her portraying Audrey Hepburn in a film. “I wouldn’t ever think I could step into her shoes,” Portman replied but the producer seemed intent on still getting her to play the role. The focus then switched to David Lloyd and the subject was why V For Vendetta co-creator Alan Moore didn’t sign off on the project. Lloyd and Co. all expressed their respect for Moore’s decision but Lloyd stated that Moore “probably would only be happy with a book to screen adaptation.”
When asked what it was like working on this film Portman had nothing but glowing praise for the Wachowski Bros. (who wrote the screenplay and shot the 2nd unit photography for the film) and director James McTeigue. She said the Wachowski’s were “focused, down to earth” and “confident” in the “story process”. To prepare for the role of Evey she studied “Macbeth” and documentarys like The Weather Underground.
A question was then raised about how they thought V For Vendetta would play in a post 9/11 world. “It’s a controversial film in a controversial time,” Silver stated philosophically. David Lloyd then spoke about “trying to understand terrorists” and if we do this we “may be able to solve the problems that cause” terrorism. This statement was met with a boisterous applause. They also spoke about the main character of V (Hugo Weaving) and David Lloyd explained that he “doesn’t know if he’s a good guy” and that he’s “not heroic”. “I don’t think of this as a message movie,” Portman concluded, “it’s not black and white.”
The subject then turned to the making of the film. “After The Matrix films the boys (Andy and Larry Wachowski) were burned out,” Joel Silver explained. “they had worked with James McTeigue (he was the 2nd unit photographer) on The Matrix films and that’s who they wanted to direct it.” While this movie may be helmed by somebody else, Silver stated “it’s a Wachowski Bros. movie.” He also went on to say that promoting the movie at Comic-Con was like being around “good people who are friends”, and that it was a “great forum to connect to the audience.”
V For Vendetta opens nationwide on November 5th, 2005. It is being released by Warner Bros. Pictures.