A few days ago, we were fortunate enough to be able to take an advance look at the first two issues of Mark Millar and Steve Immonen’s eagerly anticipated new series, Empress.
Cat was thoroughly impressed in what would be the first review for the series, calling it “a really good read” and “a fast-paced, utterly enjoyable space romp”.
Millar raised the Empress stakes a little higher later in the day, releasing a pair of teasers for the mystery leading actors who will be starring in the upcoming movie adaptation of the series, along with a promise that their identities would be revealed when the first issue hits shelves on the 6th of April.
Well, we were also lucky enough to be able to sit down to have a brief chat with Mister Millar himself, and managed to probe him on a few topics, including his upcoming mystery collaboration with Greg Capullo, the impending Captain America: Civil War movie, and – of course – Empress.
BIG COMIC PAGE: So… Captain America: Civil War. Have you seen it? Is it good and is it in keeping with the spirit of the comic?
MARK MILLAR: I’ve honestly no idea. I left Marvel a few years back and only see the guys socially now. I don’t really know what’s going on with the movies or the comics. I can tell you what they’re drinking, but no idea what they’re working on. The trailers look pretty good though and I got an invite to the LA premiere a couple of nights back, but it’s the same night as my brother’s birthday party. I’ll hopefully get to the London one.
BCP: Superhero TV shows are at the top of their game at the moment. The Flash, Arrow, Daredevil and Jessica Jones to name but a few. Would you ever consider a TV adaptation of one of your comics?
MM: I would, but it has to be the right project. Avengers or Iron Man for example would have been very difficult as a TV show because the budgets are microscopic compared to cinema. So something very talky works well in television or something without super-powers, but the minute you have the Justice League fighting the Injustice Society, for example, it gets a little too expensive , at least to do well. Let me give you an example. The fight scenes in Matthew’s adaptation of Kick-Ass and Kingsman were spectacular because he had the money to get a fight co-ordinator like Brad Allen, but if this had been a TV show we couldn’t have afforded someone who works at that level. There was a guy flown in from Asia, for example, in Kingsman to do one spin and then he was back on a plane back home next day. Television budgets can’t afford that kind of thing, which is why big scale is rarely tackled and most of my work is big scale. Something like Kick-Ass, however, would work as a television show whereas Jupiter’s Legacy needs a 200 million budget movie.
BCP: Do you feel that your writing style has changed since your comics starting getting picked up for movies?
MM: No, not at all. I’ve always written comics that have been described as cinematic, which is why The Ultimates back in 2002 was a nice, easy translation for Marvel or my Wolverine stuff or Civil War or whatever all works well as movies. I think what people mean is you can understand what’s going on and it’s clear what’s happening one panel to the next. I’ve always found that crucial since I was writing Swamp Thing in the 90s and gave copies to my brothers and my sister and they said they had no idea what was going on. Overnight I decided to start writing comics which people who didn’t read comics could understand and almost all of these have since been picked up as movies, both through my own company and through Marvel.
BCP: Greg Capullo is moving on from his incredibly successful Batman run to work with you. Can you give us any clue as to what you are collaborating on? Even just a wee clue?
MM: Ha. Nice try. We announce the title and release the first cover in May, you cheeky devil. The only clue is that it’s beautifully drawn.
BCP: Are there any particular artists or inkers that you would like to work with in the future?
MM: Olivier Coipiel is on my hit list. He’s a moving target, but I’m going to get him. Adam Hughes and Travis Charest are on my wish-list, but realistically that’s like saying I’d love to kiss Catherine Deneuve in 1967. It’s never going to happen :)
BCP: Seeing as you are Scottish and we are Scottish and Scotland is awesome are there any new home grown writers/artists/inkers that you particularly rate at the moment?
MM: Frank Quitely? His body of work is so small that he surely must be considered relatively new!!
BCP: Lastly. Empress. I’ve read it. I’ve reviewed it. It is an excellent comic. You are announcing the lead actors in the film adaptation in April. Can you give BCP even the slightest hint as to who they are?
MM: It’s exciting. I wrote this series last year and have a little gang of producers I work with on everything. People who just get an early look at my books and then I partner up with them for production. These guys are Ridley Scott, Matthew Vaughn, Lorenzo DiBonvantura, Neal Moritz, Simon Kinberg and someone I’m working with for the first time, but is one of the most trusted pair of hands in the industry. Empress will be produced by that last guy. That’s the only clue I can give you. He picked out an actress last year once he read all the scripts and it’s all systems go, which is great for Stuart and I. Gone are the days when big companies reaped all the rewards for the creations of writers and artists.
BCP: Thanks again for your time, Mark.
EMPRESS #1 hits shelves on April 6th, 2016.
Interview by: Cat McGlinn
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