Thursday, December 14, 2006

Who Knows?




I had a monster hangover from Firebrain's Tuesday night holiday soiree' or else this would have been up yesterday. Word of advice: Never drink four of anything called a Flaming Cockroach.

Several folks have emailed me about the news here that Sam Raimi is going to produce (and possibly direct) a Shadow movie.

Well duh!

If DARKMAN wasn't his love letter to Lamont Cranston then I don't know what is. I have my own love letter to the character (and The Spider and The Green Hornet) in the form of THE KNIGHTMARE. The character is everywhere in one form or another and people are buzzing about it - Who's going to play the Shadow?


Certainly there are a lot of good candidates, and I would hope that Raimi doesn't feel limited by feeling he has to find an actor who exactly matches the image of Lamont Cranston. My hope would be he would find someone who has the intensity required for The Shadow and the suave devil-may-care appearance of Cranston.


One thing I don't want is that gruesome makeup that Alec Baldwin wore. It was atrocious and did far more harm than good in trying to build interest in the character. For me, all that would be required is a good pair of contact lenses that add an "otherworldliness" to the actor. That, combined with the proper lighting, costuming and attitude will be more than sufficient for the job.


But, I'm getting far too ahead of myself.



What's required first is a great story that takes itself and the character seriously. People forget that 1930's America wasn't a very safe place to be. Sure, better than Europe at the time, but the Great Depression drove people to desperation. Crime surged across the country and people felt helpless. That's but one of the reasons that the pulp magazines were as popular as they were.

There was also the incredible sense of invention and innovation going in in industrial America. People were thinking of the future (because the present was too depressing) and designing it. Walter Gibson, the Shadow's biographer picked up on that and used the futuristic along with his background in illusion to create a character who became an icon in the cultural consciousness. People back then (and many today) know that, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay. The Shadow knows..."

So there's a lot of material from the pulp series to work with, as well as the radio shows. Raimi has shown he is incredibly intuitive and adept at this sort of material. His work on both DARKMAN and SPIDERMAN show this - he does his homework. Hell, he's lived his homework. I'm sure he's got plenty of the paperbacks at home already along with these.

So in response to the burning question of "Who Knows?"
The answer is, "Sam Raimi knows."


Now let's all sit back and let him do his job.





1 comment:

Don said...

BRILLIANT post. Can't agree more.