Comics fans might have been surprised that Adam McKay — he of the glass cage of "Anchorman" emotion and the minute-long "Step Brothers" fart joke — had signed on to direct an adaptation of the ultra-dark comic series, "The Boys." But McKay can actually talk eloquently and at length about comics, and his latest flick — "The Other Guys" — contains one motion-capture scene that is nearly as visually eye-popping as anything you might see in "Kick-Ass" or "Watchmen."
In fact, those two flicks will be among McKay's key inspirations for "The Boys," which just might become a 3-D flick.
"We're talking about it," he said. "We're kicking it around. There are pluses and minuses to 3-D. We'd have to do it in digital. When we get the final script done, I'll look at it and say, 'Is there enough going on here that we're going to want 3-D?'"
McKay, though, maintains an affinity for shooting on actual film stock, and is eyeing a process he's drooled over in a couple award-winning films from recent years.
"The thing I've been intrigued about is doing an original negative print without [a digital finishing process]," he explained. "That's how Paul Thomas Anderson shot 'There Will Be Blood,' and you get that crazy, lush look to it. And the guy who really did it beautifully is Christopher Nolan on 'The Dark Knight.' He was able to blend his digital effects with his original negative so well. That excites me a little bit more than 3-D."
For now, McKay is awaiting a fresh draft from Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi ("Clash of the Titans") and gearing up for tests that he's hoping will deliver visuals as impressive as the ones in "Watchmen" and "Kick-Ass" for his adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's comic book series.
"I really want to do camera tests on this one," he said. "Everyone is upping the game visually, and I want to make sure we're at least contributing to it. To me, it feels like Zack Snyder is the one out in front of the pack. And in my first meeting, I brought up Hit Girl with the Joan Jett song in the hallway fight [in "Kick-Ass"]. If we could fall on that sort of sound and look a couple times in our own way, I'd be all over it."
In terms of the script, McKay is looking for a "slightly different tone to the dialogue" and to sharpen the plot points in general.
"A lot of the cracks that are charming in comics and that you fill in with your own imagination can just look downright messy [in a movie]," he said. "There's another pass that is needed as far as the tone goes and making sure the action snaps. But it will still be very faithful to the comics."
With "Other Guys" leading the weekend at the box office, McKay is headed off on a two-week vacation, and is looking to jump right into "The Boys" when he returns. "The perfect-world situation is we get 'The Boys' going into pre-production in January or February," he said. "It's a bit of a monstrosity of a movie, so it'd probably be a pretty long shoot. But we'd shoot the whole thing and post it by next fall."
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