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Comic-Con 2005: V For Vendetta

Moviegoers should not be afraid of ideas.
"Ideas are bulletproof."

So says the shadowy V in the trailer for V For Vendetta that premiered at Comic-Con. If only Alan Moore could remember that, and also remember that movie producers live in their own little world. Then Moore wouldn't take all his toys away from DC. Yes, some of us are still wounded over the loss of Watchmen figures.

The artist on the original graphic novel, David Lloyd, has no such problems. He happily joined the panel Warner Brothers offered to convention goers, alongside producers Joel Silver (he who offended Moore) and Grant Hill. The real star, however, was the movie's star, Natalie Portman, and most questions went her way.

But that came after the trailer, which despite all controversies, looked really good. Those unfamiliar with the source material will still get their thoughts provoked while being exposed to some exciting imagery. Interspersed with scenes of Portman's Evey awakening to the reality of her fascist society, V (Hugo Weaving) causes havoc, occasionally intoning inspirational phrases. The trailer ends with Weaving's perfect tone reciting the English children's rhyme - "Remember, remember the fifth of November."

It's chilling, as it should be. And if you don't know what it's all about, read both Moore and Lloyd's graphic novel and a history book.

The lights came up and the panel entered. Immediately, Portman was caught off guard with the question, could she give us a completely and utterly original moment. It's a dangerous proposition in front of comics fans, but she seemed to pass the test.

After another questioner offered Portman the role of Audrey Hepburn in an upcoming film (hey, you do what you have to do), she pleaded with the audience to ask questions of the other panelists. It took a while.

She doesn't look a little tougher...
The inevitable hair question came up, to which Portman laughed. "I'm not all that connected to my hair," she said, adding "I've always felt non-threatening; now I feel a little tougher."

Portman did get deeper, expressing that V had inspired her to read more graphic novels. However, her reading list in preparation for doing the film was a little more daunting, with works like Faith and Treason, Macbeth and Twelfth Night. Of course, working for the Wachowski Brothers, you have to be prepared.

Eventually, someone took a shot at the elephant in the room: "Why didn't Alan Moore sign off?"

It seems a naļve question. For quite some time, Moore has wanted nothing to do with the movies made from his work, but for some reason V For Vendetta has become controversial. Lloyd suggested that Moore would only be pleased if a film was a shot for shot recreation of the comic book, but that he himself had been happy with the script.

After The Beat's Heidi McDonald brought things back around to the Moore question, Silver spoke up. "I keep finding my way back to him," he said simply, praising the author's work without really addressing the animosity Silver seems to have engendered. At various points in his producing history, Silver has circled several Moore projects.

David Lloyd gets serious.
Finally getting to this one, however, may strike some as controversial. Silver stood his ground that the time is right. David Lloyd grew very serious when someone brought up the London bombings, which of course parallel situations from V.

"It's going to be healthy to try and understand the terrorists," he said soberly. That may strike some as a controversial statement, but it did seem to be offered in the spirit of trying to bring terrorism to an end. However, Lloyd pointed out that many of the things he and Moore depicted in their original series have come to pass in England.

V For Vendetta will not offer any easy answers, and will probably be a controversial film. But so be it. As long as people think about it.


Derek McCaw


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