Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s modern classic graphic novel Nemesis tells the tale of Matt Anderson, whose father committed suicide after a police officer named Blake Morrow tried to get him locked away for hunting runaway teenagers with his rich friends and found himself adopted by his uncle, Howard Anderson. Bored and overprivileged, Anderson decides to travel the world and learn everything about crime he can so that he can return to Washington D.C. to fulfill his mother’s last wish to kill Morrow while his own uncle tells Morrow that he’d rather see Nemesis (Matt’s new supervillain moniker) arrested.
Brothers and sometime writing/directing team Joe and Matt Carnahan (Smoking Aces, The A-Team, The Grey) have teamed up once again to bring Mark Millar’s supervillain to life and if you believe what Millar has to say about it, the screenplay is the best thing since sliced bread.
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.
Okay, admittedly my curiosity is well piqued but it also contains a dash of reservation; as we’ve heard things like this said MANY times before from MANY different writers/actors/directors/etc and what usually happens? The wool is either pulled over our eyes or the wool NEVER actually materializes to the big (or small) screen.
When I can see the pudding, then I’ll taste it and see.
As always, stay tuned!
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