It’s still a fairly intimate affair, but since its inception in 2002 the Expo has grown from a collectors’ show into a genuinely important, biannual event for the UK anime, comic, computer game and film industries.
One of the highlights of the show this time round was Optimum Releasing’s promotion for their forthcoming film, The Losers.
Based on the comic by writer Andy Diggle and artist Jock, the film tells the story of a team of Special Forces operatives who are turned on by their CIA handlers. The comic itself is a re-jig of a World War II-set comic that ran during the seventies and early eighties.
During the course of the day, Optimum provided Expo attendees with various treats, including the first chance for those from the UK to see the new poster for the film, as well as a public Q&A with the creators of the comic, as well as one of the stars of the film, Idris Elba.
HeyUGuys were able to speak to Elba at a round table interview, during which he answered some questions about the film, and gave us some indications for what he might do next.
Anyone who has read the comic will have noticed the similarity the story bares to the A-Team. When this was pointed out to Elba he pointed out the differences.
“I honestly feel that our film is a little cooler, in a sense that it’s not a big-burger-brand. The Losers is relatively new to everyone. The A-Team has to live up to expectations. Those characters are iconic, so we’re going to watch that movie thinking, “˜you’re not Mr. T’. With the losers, we don’t have that, even though I do have a Mohawk.“
With that elephant carefully ushered out of the room, Elba was asked how much of the script came from the recent, Diggle-written incarnation of The Losers, and how much from the original, WWII version.
“The concept of the original version is still in tact. In fact, if they plan to make more Losers I think they’re going to go back to the essence of more of the original versions of the losers, but this particular film was sort of a hybrid of the concept of the old comic and the fusion of the new stuff, and then the director’s vision.“
Acknowledging the difficulties faced in adapting a comic into a film posed Elba continued,
“It’s a hard line to follow, because comic books are followed because of their, brilliance, and detail in their story line. You can live in this world and not share it with anyone else. Ultimately there is an interpretation from the comic book to you, that you love, so when you try to turn that into a film where it has to satisfy everyone’s perception of the comic it’s tough.
“There is huge pressure to do that, especially with something like this, where you’re not relying on capes or flying around and special powers. These guys are pretty real, and Sylvian wanted them to be as authentic to the characters as possible, but ultimately we’re not going to be able to please everyone.“
Elba was then asked how much freedom he and the rest of the cast had to interpret their characters.
“What was open to interpretation was the way they spoke to each other. There’s great dialogue between each other. Chris Evans, who plays Jensen, he’s a very comical, funny guy and so is his character. Once we got together we worked on the script together on how we’d turn this dialogue and make it sound real.
“It was important to us that we sound real. When you watch an Adam Sandler movie, and then you watch a Seth Rogen movie you realise that Adam Sandler has a very interesting slant on comedy. It’s not as realistic as the Seth Rogen stuff, and it’s starting to make Adam Sandler look a little dated. We wanted to do the same thing for this action film.
“Canned dialogue in the A-Team is probably the order of the day, because that’s how the A-team was. Our dialogue is going to be a little bit more snappy, less punch-line-y, more real. Funny, but dry. I think that represents what the comic does.
“We wanted to make it seem real. Snappy, but real.“
Just before the round table ended Elba was asked if there were any other comics he would like to adapt.
“There’s a thing that vertigo do called 100 Bullets. I like that. I think it could be an interesting little thing. I’ve just started reading it and it could be quite interesting.“
And while he hadn’t made any formal moves on the property, he told us that he was “Keeping an eye on it“.