Alibi V.16 No.35 • Aug 30-Sept 5, 2007 

Reel World

Reel World

We’ve Got Spirit, Yes We Do!—Hard to believe, I know, but it’s actually getting hard to keep track of all the films that are shooting within our state’s borders these days. At this very moment, we’ve got eight of them. Angelmaker, Appaloosa, Five Dollars a Day, In Plain Sight, Love N’ Dancing, Shoot First and Pray You Live, Swing Vote and The Warboys are all lensing away as we speak. Stars as diverse as Kevin Costner, Joe Pantoliano, Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen, Renée Zellweger, Christopher Walken and Amy Smart are wandering our streets, sleeping in our hotels and eating our green chile.

But last week it was announced that New Mexico would be hosting a majorly exciting film project. Out of nowhere, Lionsgate Entertainment told the world it would be shooting its new superhero flick The Spirit at the Albuquerque Studios in (where else?) Albuquerque.

The film is based on the classic comic strip by Will Eisner, which ran in syndication from 1940 to 1952. The film will be directed—appropriately enough—by comic book creator Frank Miller. Miller is suddenly hot in Hollywood’s eyes after penning the source material for the smash hits Sin City and 300. The Spirit, which will also be written by Miller, concerns a big-city cop (played by Gabriel Macht of American Outlaws) who is left for dead and reinvents himself as the masked hero The Spirit in order to fight crime. The pulpy but lighthearted action flick will also feature Scarlett Johansson as femme fatale Silk N. Floss, Eva Mendes as love interest Sand Seref and Samuel L. Jackson as the villainous crime lord The Octopus.

I’m assuming, since the film will be shot entirely on a set, that Miller will be incorporating much of the same green-screen technology as Sin City and 300. That means the film will recreate as much of Eisner’s distinctive art style as possible. (Good move, Frank.) Of course, that also means the chances of bumping into Scarlett Johansson shooting a scene outside the Alibi offices are slim to none. (Are you as bummed by that as I am?)

The film is scheduled to shoot Oct. 8 through Dec. 14 and expects to hire approximately 75 New Mexico crew members. ... Assuming, of course, we have enough crew to spare—what with the other eight films in town. Unfortunately—thanks to our city’s lack of full-scale post-production and special effects facilities—filmmakers will be retreating back to Hollywood to finish things up.

For once, I’m actually excited that a Hollywood film is coming to town. I mean, it’s nice that Jennifer Lopez shot her last movie in Albuquerque. It’s interesting that John Travolta hung out in Madrid. It’s great that Kevin Costner’s band played the Sunshine Theater. But the prospect of Samuel L. Jackson maybe possibly dropping by the Anodyne for a brew is my idea of awesome.