EXCL: Sylvain White Taking His Time with Frank Miller’s Ronin

In April, movie and comic book fans will get a chance to see director Sylvain (Stomp the Yard) White’s take on the Vertigo Comics series The Losers, which promises to be fairly faithful to the comics by Andy Diggle and Jock about a team of rogue espionage agents.

Quite some time before he became attached to do that, White’s name was attached to an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel Ronin to be produced by Warner Bros. and the producers behind 300. “Ronin” was Miller’s earliest work published by DC Comics in 1983, a few years before “The Dark Knight Returns,” the story of a Japanese ronin from feudal times reincarnated in a futuristic New York.

Earlier today, when ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype spoke with White, we wondered if he might get back to that now that he’s wrapping things up on The Losers. “Yeah absolutely,” he responded. “That’s something I had to let go of for a period of time while I was directing ‘The Losers’ but I’m back here in Los Angeles and as I’m finishing post-production on ‘The Losers,’ I will be diving back into the development of ‘Ronin.’ I’m just working along with the studio executives developing the story elements and they’re attaching a writer in the spring to do a new pass on it.”

“It’s a very complex graphic novel and it needs very careful attention,” he continued, “Of course to make a movie of that scale, you need a lot of money to pay it justice, especially with the incredible visuals that Frank Miller has in it, but at the same time, in order to get a lot of money to make the movie, it has to have enough commercial appeal, so I’m trying to balance those two things together to make the movie accessible but still smart and throw with all the great ideas and grand ideas that it has. Conceptually, it’s such an amazing property, so I think it’s strong appeal in that sense, and even for people, I think visually in the trailer, people will be gravitating towards that kind of subject matter and that kind of character, it’s amazing.”

“I’m taking my time with it,” he said. “If I’m able to stay on it and develop it the way I want, I just want it to be done right. I don’t want to rush it or anything like that. I want the right writer on it and it to be done carefully. So that is one of the projects I have in development.”

Since White has been getting artist Jock involved with The Losers, we wondered whether he had any similar plans to collaborate or get notes from Frank Miller for Ronin. “We have been in contact,” he said. “The producers, which is Gianni Nunnari and Hollywood Gang, have been very collaborative and obviously have worked with because they did 300, so the link is there. We
re just sort of at an early stage where we’re trying to structure the story and balance. ItÂ’s a whole process to get it right. Some people rush and do it quickly and you end up with bad adaptations, which happens all the time. If they give me the time to do it, I will take it to do it right. There have been drafts that were ready to go supposedly but I want to take my time to make sure that it’s just good. The fanbase out there for this particularly iconic graphic (novel) is scrutinizing the project and I also don’t want to let them down.”

Look for our full exclusive interview with Sylvain sometime before The Losers opens on April 23.

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