“The Losers” are on a mission — and don’t even think about calling them “The B-Team.”
Above is a cast photo from the new commando adventure “The Losers” which opens on April 9, two months before that other military-ops movie, “The A-Team,” which has a somewhat similar plot: An elite team is sent on suicide missions but survive and return to go after their duplicitous superiors. But “The Losers” director Sylvain White says that his action film marches to its own drummer.
White, whose profile surged with “Stomp the Yard,” said the “Losers” script by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt presented him with a chance to make a movie that had international action and tension but also a lighter sense of itself than the Jason Bourne and most recent James Bond films. The script, as comics fans already know, adapts the Vertigo series by Andy Diggle and Jock, who themselves reinvented a very different DC Comics franchise of the 1970s that was set in WWII.
“When I first read the screenplay, what struck me, the initial spark, was the opportunity for a really interesting mix of tones. It struck me almost as a comedy disguised in an action film. I felt recently there had been a lot of action movies that embrace grittiness and realness but also fall into a very straight and dark tone, generally. I thought here there was a really interesting balance drawn from the 2004 and 2005 [comics] reinventions of ‘The Losers’ that had hard, gritty action with a fun, light tone.”
The cast has considerable name recognition with the fanboy world: There’s Zoe Saldana, who is coming off “Star Trek” and “Avatar,” Jeffrey Dean Morgan of “Watchmen” and Chris Evans from the “Fantastic Four” films.
White said Saldana is a revelation amid the gunfire ballet of “The Losers.”
“She is incredible in this film and she had already shown that she can really handle the drama, and with this she shows how great she is with the intense action stuff and there’s a great balance that she brings. Her character brings a lot of the controversy to the plot and drama to the plot, but at the same time she is the savior. She is probably the hardest fighter of them all too. Instead of the damsel in distress, she’s the one that gives the call to action. She’s the one that gives them the opportunity to redeem themselves.”
The Paris native said he’s not concerned about that other commando film, especially since “The Losers” get deployed to theaters first.
“I wasn’t aware the other movie was coming when I was busy fabricating and creating this film. All I can do is make the movie I want to make and do the best I can. I’m not worried about the ‘A-Team,’ our movie comes first and has a very different plot. … As far as aesthetic, there are a lot of gimmicks with action movies right now, a lot of frenetic edit, techy exposition and nonsense. With this movie I really tried to give it a certain elegance.
The Warner Bros. film is a Dark Castle Production from Joel Silver, who’s producing along with Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman and Kerry Foster. Silver said “Losers” had a strange path because at one point he was developing a rival project, a remake of “The Dirty Dozen,” while Goldsman had “The Losers.” The latter, despite the title, looked like the winner.
“It kept getting more traction than our picture; it just seemed fresher and younger than our picture. I was kind of saddled with a creaky story. … I hope someday to still pull that movie off, but right now this looked like the better way to go. When ‘The Losers’ kind of shutdown and looked like it wouldn’t happen at Warners, I went to the studio and said, ‘Hey, let us do it.’ And Akiva came back on board with us.”
Silver said that Morgan, especially, seems to bring his character, Clay, to life right off the pages of the Vertigo comics, and that Saldana is proving herself to be a true movie star. “She’s sensational,” Silver said, “whether she’s blue or not.”
— Geoff Boucher
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