When Frank Miller’s ‘Sin City’ initially made the transition from well-thumbed pages to the silver screen, it did so in an era that predated the endless stream of comic book adaptations arriving on the studio assembly line. Rendered in a monochrome, neo-noir style that fused surrealism with pervading societal ills such as corruption and the clandestine underworld, Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 adaptation was lauded for not only its faithful recreation of the source material’s multi-layered world but for creating a riveting cinematic experience that brought Miller’s shadowy den of iniquity to new levels of eminence.
Although the 2014 sequel, A Dame to Kill For, fell some way short of its predecessor’s high standards, the allure of its characters and unique visual traits hadn’t entirely faded. This was made evident by the bidding frenzy that was sparked when Miller began pitching a proposed reboot to various television networks in 2017. Now, following the sale of The Weinstein Company to Lantern Capital, the rights to the property have reverted back to its original creator, and it looks increasingly likely that we’re in for a return to the blood-stained streets of Basin City.
Before giving a new Sin City project the green light any prospective studio would need to consider how it would fit into today’s entertainment sphere. Epitomised by The Academy’s controversial decision to introduce an ‘Outstanding Popular Film’ category at next year’s awards ceremony, the power of the Hollywood blockbuster – and in particular comic book movies – is at all all-time high. Miller’s misanthropic anti-heroes may be a far cry from the palatable do-gooders that populate the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the record-breaking response to the R-rated Deadpool films coupled with the popularity of Netflix’s Daredevil and The Punisher series suggests that the time could be right for a Sin City reboot.
It’s also worth noting that Miller’s stock is again on the rise following a period of inactivity, which the famed comic book artist has since attributed to a combination of alcohol and not “thinking clearly”. Whatever demons he may have been battling, the constraints on his creative output appear to have been all but eradicated. In addition to a five-project deal with DC, Miller is currently penning a Netflix series based on Arthurian legend, which is being touted as the first of its kind due to the fact that the same creative team are simultaneously writing a tie-in book.
And while Rodriguez’s 2005 film and its sequel mined many of the most revered tales from Miller’s original series (‘The Hard Goodbye’, ‘That Yellow Bastard’, ‘The Big Fat Kill’ and ‘A Dame to Kill For’), there remains a wealth of unused material, from Marv’s existential journey through the snow in ‘Silent Night’ to Dwight and Miho’s investigation of a mob hit in ‘Family Values’ to the hallucinogenic revenge mission of the previously unseen Wallace in ‘Hell and Back’.
Casting is a trickier matter, as it’s hard to imagine anyone but Mickey Rourke playing the gruff, sadistic Marv. The same could be said of Rosario Dawson’s Old Town lynchpin Gail, Jessica Alba’s Nancy Callaghan and Powers Boothe’s malevolent Senator Roark, although the role of Dwight McCarthy (previously filled by Clive Owen and Josh Brolin respectively) could be rationalised through the character’s penchant for plastic surgery. The success of any new entry in the series will surely hinge on Miller’s ability to craft new characters and storylines that allow for age-appropriate actors to be enlisted in the place of their A-list counterparts. Get this right and we may well see Sin City resumed from its shallow, bullet-strewn grave.
Published 14 Aug 2018
It’s unasked for sequel time (again), as Robert Rodriguez flogs the dead CG horse that is the Sin City franchise.