FIVE QUESTIONS: ADRIAN ASKARIEH
Producer Adrian Askarieh has a number of Hollywood projects reaching critical mass. There’s “Kane and Lynch,” based on the video game, which starts shooting in August with a cast led by Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx. Then there’s his Warner Bros. deal for “Leonardo da Vinci and the Soldiers of Forever” and the adaptation of the “Hack/Slash” horror comics now moving forward at Relativity. Today, though, our five questions are about his plans for “Danger Girl.“
GB: The “Danger Girl” comics from Wildstorm had plenty of hardcore fans, but how would you describe it for newcomers to the property?
AA: I would describe it as “Kill Bill” meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with the “team” element of “Mission: Impossible.” I would say to the uninitiated that the book is a smart, hip, fun and beautifully drawn love letter to the best action/adventure movies of the last 30 years. It is the story of a lost girl who, through this incredibly kick-ass adventure, finds her destiny, comes of age and helps save the world. What’s interesting is that our director, Todd Lincoln, who will also be executive producer on the project, my producing partner on this, Daniel Alter and myself were all independently huge fans of the book. When the opportunity arose to do this together and to work closely with creator J. Scott Campbell, we couldn’t resist because of that “tip of the hat” sensibility the book so effectively embodies. It is truly an iconic property which for a while (before “Watchmen” and “300” were turned into movies) was the best known non-Marvel/DC comic book out there.
GB: There’s a growing sector of cinema devoted to danger girls in recent years, but they can widely different in tone — there was the frothy approach of McG’s “Charlie’s Angels,” the stylish vendetta fantasy of Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies and, soon, the sexed-up surrealism of Zack Snyder’s “Sucker Punch.” What can we expect as far as tone with “Danger Girl”?
AA: First of all, we are taking these characters very seriously; a kind of “Batman Begins” approach, if you will. Also, Todd has a very interesting aesthetic approach to this project, which will actually inform the tone of the storytelling and the movie as a whole. Without giving too much away, he wants to use the technology similar to that used in “Avatar” to bring Campbell’s characters and world to life and yet, at the same time, have the audience fully recognize and be emotionally invested in the actors playing those characters.
His approach, in both the look and the tone for “Danger Girl,” is what I call the anti-“Charlie’s Angels” and feels more like next-step progression from what I hear Zack Snyder is doing with “Sucker Punch,” visually speaking.
GB: The James Bond films have gotten pretty dark; perhaps you’ve come up with a way for old Bond fans to tap into the winking, lusty spirit of the vintage spy cinema?
AA: Well, that was a very big part of the interest for myself, Daniel and Todd in doing this particular project. We miss the tone of movies like “Raiders” and “Goldfinger” and also love the ferocity of films such as “Kill Bill” and “300” and even “Kick-Ass,” which I have seen and absolutely love. Those movies were all serious and fun at the same time. For the audience, feeling the jeopardy for a character should not be mutually exclusive with having a fun ride with the movie itself. That’s exactly what we want to accomplish with “Danger Girl.” And as I said before, Todd’s unique vision for the way he wants to shoot and construct the movie takes all of that to the next level. He envisions a hyper-stylized, hyper-action action film, but with a heart and with characters you care about.
GB: What can you tell us at this point about timetable, talent, casting priorities, etc?
AA: We are just getting into it. Our collective hope is to have a big announcement in time for this year’s Comic Con International. As you know, these things always take a bit longer than one anticipates.
GB: Who’s your favorite Danger Girl and why?
AA: I’d say Abby Chase. She is that quintessential Joseph Campbell archetype who goes through the “hero’s journey” and comes out on the other side a better, more complete person. I guess you could say that she finds her “first, best destiny,” to borrow a phrase from Mr. Spock.
— Geoff Boucher
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Artwork: Wildstorm. Photo, top: Adrian Askarieh (handout). Photo, bottom: “The Losers” casts (Warner Bros.)