Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Frank Miller and the Friends of Abe

Not really about comics:

Finding through Sean Collins's blog (via) that Frank Miller was posting on the comments thread of Victor Davis Hanson's blog, I decided to look for more Miller posts at that site. Miller has apparently been sporadically posting over there for at least a year and a half, and I thought that a selection of his most noteworthy posts might be of interest, for a look at his thoughts about Hollywood, politics, and heroes.

Posted April 20, 2008:

Professor Hanson,

Your comments about movie-making and finding the right actor to portray a hero strike a loud chord with this director.

I was insistent, through the casting of my new movie, THE SPIRIT, to find a lesser known actor, so that the audience would, as they did with Richard Donner’s wonderful SUPERMAN and his perfect choice of then-unknown Christopher Reeve as the Man Of Steel, see the Spirit as the Spirit, not as a vehicle for an established star.

It wasn’t easy to find my hero. Dozens were auditioned. I learned that while Hollywood produces many skilled male actors, it produces very few men.

Gabriel Macht emerged as a matinee-idol dream of a hero, and he and I worked very closely for many months as he crafted his part.

So it was difficult to cast the part. But I still believe the fault lies not with the acting talent available, but rather with movie-makers’ intent. Look around: modern Bogarts like Bruce Willis crave good, heroic roles. Clive Owen brings back the verve of Sean Connery, adding his own Chandleresque twist to the job. Mickey Rourke is certainly a tragic presence–and an heroic one–worthy of the best comparisons with Jack Palance, in Rourke’s performance in my SIN CITY. And Gerry Butler in 300 would certainly put the great Charlton Heston to the test.

Add to that Matt Damon in the BOURNE series, and Brad Pitt whenever they let him show what he can do, and, though they are few, I argue that the talent is there.

To mangle the words of the Bard, the fault lies not in our stars, but in our studios.


Posted September 30, 2008:

Should Obama be elected, sad indeed though I will be, and horrible for my country this will be, I will remember my mother’s wise words: “We’ll still be America.”

This patriot takes some comfort in that.


A couple of months later he's more optimistic:

Posted November 19, 2008:

Call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but, though I opposed his candidacy, I suspect President Obama will turn out to be a rather moderate president. The Presidency is not a kingship, and it is informed by forces and events that are unexpected.

The anti-Obama hysteria is already smelling like the toxic waste thrown at George W.

Let’s see what the man does.


Posted November 22, 2008:


Please. McCarthy lost. The socialists won. That is so evident it is painful to behold.

Meanwhile, I challenge our correspondents to drop their fake names and stand for who they are. STATE YOUR REAL NAMES!

Or be branded, properly, as cowards.


(He goes on ranting against anonymous commenters for several more posts during that thread.)

And the latest post from a few days ago:

As usual, I concur with your sentiment, and share much of your taste (just watched ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA for the umpteenth time–what a tonic!), but I think that you’re unaware of the quiet struggle ongoing in entertainment.

The acting talent is there in abundance, though frequently misdirected, poorly scripted, and dismissed or downright condemned by critics. Given the proper opportunity, I’d put Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Daniel Craig, Gary Sinise, Matt Damon, Samuel Jackson, Harrison Ford and others up against the stars of old. I’d likewise mention two actors in particularly with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work: Gabriel Macht and Gerard Butler. No nasal, spoiled-by-spending-their-lives-sitting-by-the-swimming-pool spoiled-brat conceit there.

“He is the hero; he is everything,” wrote Raymond Chandler. In film, a hero is a construct in the best sense of the word. The heroic actor is, of course, the sine qua non of any such effort. But whatever his talents and inherent dramatic virtue, the heroic actor is hobbled by an anti-heroic script, director, or studio. Women? You probably haven’t heard of Carla Gugino, but should her talent be unleashed, she’d give Bettte Davis a run for her money. Take a good look at Hilary Swank in MILLION DOLLAR BABY, and see what she can do–if allowed.

Many in Hollywood still whine about “The McCarthy Era,” which is ironic, given that McCarthy lost and the Left won. So the pervading atmosphere is at direct odds with any attempt at heroic drama. In response, a fast-growing group called FRIENDS OF ABE has taken shape in hope of reclaiming heroism–and patriotism–to the screen. Then next time we’re both in LA, I’d love to take you to one of their lunches or dinners. I think you’d find it encouraging, if not inspiring.


The "Friends of Abe" group that Miller mentions at the end is (according to the Washington Times) a group of politically conservative Hollywood figures apparently trying to do something against what they perceive as a Hollywood bias in favor of liberalism (also described in the article as a support group for industry figures allegedly ostracized for espousing conversative values). Miller's participation in this group shouldn't come as a surprise, but it's still interesting to see.

1 comment:

dskillz said...

It's good to see Miller at his crusty best. I see he has fantastic taste in historian / blogs as well.