When Mark Millar claims that the film adaptation of his work ‘Nemesis’ will be one of the best movies of the decade, I have to stop and take a breath. Coming from Millar, that’s probably an understatement as he most likely meant it would be one of the best movies of the century! I say that in jest, of course, as I am a huge fan of everything I’ve read that Millar has written. He just tends to get a little excited when talking about his work. There’s nothing wrong with being excited, but there’s a fine line between being excited and just flat out boasting.
His work has been seemingly written to be made for the big screen. The majority of it has been amazingly translated in film adaptations such as ‘Wanted’, ‘Kick-Ass’, ‘Kick-Ass 2’, and the upcoming ‘The Secret Service’.
It’s nice to see people being proud of what they do. It really is. But there is such a thing as over hyping. In an open letter, Millar writes about what he thinks bout the initial script of the adaptation of his work ‘Nemesis’:
How can I put this?
Nemesis is one of the most relentless and powerful screenplays I’ve ever read. I was actually SHELL-SHOCKED after reading it, thinking about it for hours afterwards and discussing it with the family. As a movie, the Carnahans have crafted something we’ve never actually seen before and I feel like someone in Julia Phillips’ office must have felt when Schrader’s TAXI DRIVER script first landed on their desk. This is going to be one of the best movies of the decade. The fact that it’s a SUPERHERO movie is incredibly exciting to me. This is the next step for where a comic-book adaptation can go and, simply as a viewer, I’m now counting down the days until I can sit in a screening room and see the first cut.
This is going to be MASSIVE.
And I’m not being hyperbolic here. Joe and Matthew Carnahan are two of the most respected people in the business and Joe’s most recent movie, The Grey, ranks as my favourite in a year that had a lot of my favourite movies. He upped his game again with the Death Wish screenplay, which was one of the most compelling scripts I’ve ever read, but he’s blown his other work out of the water with Nemesis. I had no idea where he was going with this (I wrote the book back in 2010, co-created with the brilliant artist Steve McNiven), but Joe had been tight-lipped on what he had planned and wanted me to experience the entire package for maximum impact when I sat myself down with a nice bottle of whisky and soaked this up over a two hour period.
There’s nothing else I can really say. I’ve been blessed with the people adapting these Millarworld books so far, some of the best writers and directors currently working in film, but NOTHING prepared me for this. This is huge, operatic, tragic, monumental. This is about America right now and the world the audience is walking back into the second they leave the cinema. Nemesis is about America’s worst nightmare in the form of a costumed billionaire attacking a city and doing everything he can to tear it down. The high concept, it’s been said, is if Batman was The Joker and that’s quite a fun way of looking at it. The cop who goes up against him, the Blake Morrow character in the book, is going to be a movie icon after this picture. I don’t know who’s going to be playing him at this stage, but I know that after reading the script everyone is going to WANT to.
It seemed odd to me in the economic downturn that we’d all be rooting for a costumed billionaire out there fighting poor people in Gotham City every night. That’s what was in the back of my mind when I first sat down to write the book, this notion that richest guys on the planet could actually be the most terrifying. But what Joe and Matthew have done with this is practically alchemical. I joked to Joe on the phone last night that he’s basically a brilliant plastic surgeon who has taken a decent-looking individual and turned them into a sex-bomb.
This is my new favourite movie and it’s still a year or two away from anyone even seeing it. It’s going to be the biggest and smartest action movie we’ve all seen in a very, very long time.
So Millar, were you just finishing up that bottle of Whisky when writing this? Seriously I can’t stress enough how much I love his work (and that it will outshine anything that I ever write by a long shot), but that level of praise is a bit much from a screenplay alone. At least wait until casting begins before making that claim!
So what is everyone else’s take on this? Are you excited about ‘Nemesis’? Looking forward to seeing how Mark’s work is once more brought to life on the big screen? Sound off below!