It was announced over the weekend that Tony Scott would be directing a movie version of Mark Millar's latest ultra-violent comic book, Nemesis, about a supervillain who marks the world's top cop for a less-than-subtle demise.
So naturally we got Millar himself on the blower to tell us more about what's in store for a film that, following Wanted and Kick-Ass, has a lot to live up to. But with Scott, whose visual style has seemingly becoming more and more comic-booky over the years, at the helm, Millar is confident that it can match those expectations.
"Tony Scott is the ultimate comic book director who’s never made a comic book movie," says Millar. "For fifteen years people have been asking him to [make a comic book movie], but he’s turned it all down because the material never really excited him. The one thing you can’t say about Tony’s stuff is that it’s not family-friendly, safe fun. He’s never going to do a Fantastic Four or a Spider-Man. But the minute he saw something with Air Force One being taken down, the President being taken hostage and Japanese skyscrapers falling down, it began to look more like a Tony Scott movie."
Which, of course, is exactly what happens in the first two issues of Nemesis, with the white-clad uber-bastard causing all manner of devasting death and destruction in the pursuit of bringing his target down. Certainly, our initial reaction was that any movie version would have to tone down Millar and McNiven's vision of insanity. But Millar says that's far from the case. "You couldn’t do a movie like this any cheaper than $150 million," says Millar. "It's going to go really big."
Which means that it might need some big names to get those bums on seats, particularly with a rating that's sure to be the wrong side of R/15. And while nobody has been cast just yet, Millar has some big names on his wishlist. Some very big names.
"With Nemesis, you’ve got two great roles for two A-list stars," he says. "The thing is, one guy has to be as good as the other. You’ve got Holmes versus Moriarty here or Batman versus The Joker, so each one has got to be a $20 million actor, really. I think you could go for the A+ list and get Johnny Depp as Nemesis and Brad Pitt as Blake Morrow."
Say what you will about the Scot, but he doesn't lack ambition. And, if Scott does bag Depp, it'll bring Millar's long-term plan to fruition. "When I was writing the comic, I genuinely saw Johnny Depp as Nemesis," explains Millar. "He’s a thin-faced guy, slightly creepy, a cross between Heath Ledger and Christian Bale, and someone who could pull off both those things at the same time is Depp. He would get it. He goes slightly crazy in his roles!"
And Pitt for Morrow, the stoic super-cop who is revealed as Nemesis' ultimate target? "He's Commissioner Gordon meets Sherlock Holmes, so it’s got to be a big physical policeman who you feel could stand up for himself in a physical fight," says Millar. "It’s got to be somebody who can take a punch. You couldn’t really get anybody who’s too cerebral. He’d have to be a very physical actor so it would need to be a Pitt. Or maybe even a Liam Neeson."
One thing's for sure. The clock is ticking fast on Nemesis, with Scott already talking to a writer ("Probably one of the top three screenwriters in Hollywood right now"), with hopes of getting underway next year. "This is a timely thing and he wants to get a writer on this and get it going now," says Millar, who will serve as executive producer on the movie. "He doesn’t want it to be sitting on the shelf in two years."
Excited by this news? Can you see Depp and Pitt slugging it out on the big screen? Let us know, as ever, below...