Comic Con 2008: Getting into ‘The Spirit’ with Samuel L. Jackson and Frank Miller

How do you make Samuel L. Jackson throw his head back and laugh? Easy. If you are at, say, Comic Con and you catch him promoting his upcoming film The Spirit, in which Jackson plays an arch nemesis named The Octopus, ask the veteran actor how he found his inner squid. That should do it.

Laughing for a few seconds, he answers, “All it takes is the right clothes. You put me in the costume, I look in the mirror, and I’m ready to go.” 

Jackson co-stars in this latest entry into the comic-book movie fray–an adaptation of Will Eisner’s classic 1940s comic book about a rookie cop, Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht), who is shot, killed and comes back to life as The Spirit to fight crime. Directed by Frank Miller–who is no slouch in the comic-book department having created the graphic novel Sin City–can The Spirit make the cut? Miller seems to think so, even if he is adapting another comic-book creator’s work.

“It’s like any creative process; it has its moments where I question what am I really doing. But you have to break it down and take it very seriously on what it needs and how you can translate. And you have to develop a very calm, sure voice inside yourself telling you you’ve got the right instincts.”

Samuel L. Jackson just has fun with it. He feels playing such a nasty villain provides some well-earn therapy. “[The Octopus] is such a flamboyant and wild character and to be able to release that insanity, it is sort of therapeutic…and the more outrageous I got with my ideas on the character, the more [Frank Miller] liked it.”

And Miller truly believes in the world of heroes and villains. When asked what he thought audiences would take away from his vision of The Spirit, he simply replies: “Heroes exist.”

Ok, then, thanks for that, Frank!