In a dismal era of movies, one of the few I’ve been looking forward to is V for Vendetta. It’s based on a pretty great comic of the same name, about a mysterious terrorist/freedom fighter/vigilante fighting to overthrow a fascist, near-future Britain. Lots of action, lots of ambiguity, lots of deep thought about the meaning of freedom and power.
Not sure how the movie’s going to turn out. Months ago, I heard that the directors had fiddled with the ending and I gave up hope. But when a preview of it was shown to the uber-geeks and comic nerds at Ain’t It Cool News, people who revere the comic like a holy text, they swooned and put it on their “Best of 2005″ lists. So I’m cautiously optimistic.
Heidi McDonald, who runs a comics blog called The Beat, interviewed Vendetta author Alan Moore last year, and is just now posting the entire piece online. So far only Part 1 is up, but it’s interesting stuff. First Moore talks about the politics and genesis of Vendetta, and then his sordid entanglements with the entertainment industry (it seems that both the comic and movie industries have screwed him over so badly that he’s told them to take his name off of all their products and give his share of the money to the artist).
Probably the best summary:
“What I was trying to do was take these two extremes of the human political spectrum and set them against each other in a kind of little moral drama, just to see what works and what happened. I tried to be as fair about it as possible. I mean, yes, politically I’m an anarchist; at the same time I didn’t want to stick to just moral blacks and whites. I wanted a number of the fascists I portrayed to be real rounded characters. They’ve got reasons for what they do. They’re not necessarily cartoon Nazis. Some of them believe in what they do, some don’t believe in it but are doing it any way for practical reasons. As for the central character of the anarchist, V himself, he is for the first two or three episodes cheerfully going around murdering people, and the audience is loving it. They are really keyed into this traditional drama of a romantic anarchist who is going around murdering all the Nazi bad guys.
“At which point I decided that that wasn’t what I wanted to say. I actually don’t think it’s right to kill people. So I made it very, very morally ambiguous. And the central question is, is this guy right? Or is he mad? What do you, the reader, think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn’t want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think, and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recur fairly regularly throughout human history.”
Anyhow, I hope the movie’s good. And if it isn’t, go read the book.
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