THE AGE OF ELEKTRA

Garner feels that this incarnation of the Elektra character will be more faithful to the tone of the Frank Miller stories where Elektra first came of age. “I think I really identify with the Frank Miller version of Elektra and I think this film will be true to that,” says Garner. “After her father dies, she goes to a very dark place, and she’s almost killed and is resurrected by Stick who takes her in and becomes a mentor. But then Stick kicks her out because he sees the darkness in her and so Elektra uses her skills to become an assassin. She’s bloodthirsty. She doesn’t care who you are, what you do, she’ll kill you, until she meets this girl, Abby, who changes everything for her. Matt was the love of her life, and he’s gone, so she has nothing at the beginning of this film. Elektra’s transformation in this film is much more complicated than her falling in love with Matt in Daredevil. As for my favorite Elektra stories, from the comic books, I loved the stories where she was bald. There’s one moment, when she’s bald, when she’s at Stick’s camp and she tells Stick that she’s ready for anything, any dangerous mission, and he just tells her to get out because he sees the evil in what she is and she can’t see it. That’s going to be in the film, those changes in Elektra’s personality, but I’m not going to be bald.”

As mentioned, “Elektra”’s development began when “Daredevil” was being readied for release in 2003. For Rob Bowman, being hired to direct “Elektra” meant lots of homework, trying to get to the core of who Elektra is and was. “I read the script and then I began doing research on Greek mythology, trying to find the essence of the character,” says Bowman. “She’s a very complicated character. I’d only read the script because I’d never read the Elektra (Elektra was later spun-off from Daredevil into the comic book mini-series’ Elektra: Assassin and Elektra Saga)stories when I was a kid. I was a Batman fan when I was a kid and that was my whole world in terms of comic books. As I did research on Elektra, I began to focus on what’s inside of her. Is she more than just a typical superhero? The fact that she is such a dark character really attracted me to the project.”

Bowman says that “Elektra” will not only feature magical and supernatural elements, but science fiction elements as well, a genre that Bowman’s well-versed in. “The supernatural elements are mostly in the villains and the plot of the film has Elektra being constantly bombarded with all of these villains with magical powers,” says Bowman who’s reluctant to discuss rumors of a possible Daredevil cameo in “Elektra.” “There are science fiction elements in the film, as there are in almost every genre film, because we’re dealing with magical powers and the ability to see into the future. But the heart of what attracted me to the Elektra character is the development of the character. My favorite stories from the comics were the stories where she was with Stick, because I thought the rest of the stories were somewhat predictable in terms of her just being a killing machine. You learn more about Elektra through Stick, when she’s with him, because he can see right through her. This film will have lots of action, but it won’t be a body count movie.”

Regarding a possible Daredevil cameo, and comparisons between the film versions of “Daredevil” and “Elektra,” producer Foster says, “You’ll see ‘Daredevil’ referenced in the film, but in a very interesting way. In the shooting script, there’s no reference to Matt Murdock at all. This story takes place several years after the events in ‘Daredevil’ and it’s important to establish Elektra on her own because we’ve already seen Daredevil in his own movie. This is Elektra’s story, her journey, but we will bring the two characters back together at the right time.”

“Elektra” was filmed all over Vancouver. For the Natchios family mansion, Elektra’s one true refuge and the most powerful reminder or her relationship with her murdered father, various mansions around Vancouver were used. But the interior lobby of the mansion was filmed on a sound-stage located at Lions Gate studios in Vancouver, under the supervision of production designer Graeme Murray, who also works on the television series “Smallville.” Another sound-stage was built for the interior of Mark Miller’s cabin, the place where he and Abby are hiding when Elektra’s first sent to assassinate Mark. The lobby of the Natchios mansion is covered with marble, surrounded by gigantic pillars made from ancient Greek designs. According to Murray, the interior of the house was designed to reveal parts of Elektra’s character. “In the film, the mansion has been abandoned for many years because Elektra’s father moved to New York after Elektra’s mother was killed,” says Murray. “This is just the lobby because the other mansion scenes will be filmed at different mansions all over Vancouver. We designed the pillars so that they feature Greek designs because Elektra’s clearly of Greek descent in the comic books. The place has been abandoned for years, which you’ll see because everything will be covered in white sheets. There’s also going to be a big fight that takes place on this set between Elektra and the Ninjas.”

As Matt Murdock is the love of Elektra’s life, there’s not likely to be a love interest for Elektra Natchios in “Elektra,” especially since Daredevil and Elektra are scheduled to be paired in “Daredevil 2.” But if there is a chance for an Elektra romance in this film, it would have to be with Mark Miller, father of Abby Miller, played by Goran Visnjic. According to Visnjic, best known for his work on the television series “ER,” Mark’s only goal is protecting the life of his beloved daughter, Abby. “Mark’s only objective is protecting his daughter,” says Visnjic who claims to be a huge fan of the television series “Stargate.” “Mark sees that as his duty, as well as trying to persuade Elektra to not kill him and to be on his side. He knows she’s the only one who can save them because he’s smart enough to realize that if an international organization like Hand wants you dead, they’ll get you eventually. There’s also an interesting link with Mark’s grandfather. Mark knows that you need friends like Elektra to survive.”

For Terence Stamp, playing Stick wasn’t easy for a couple of reasons. First, Stamp wasn’t sure he could be convincing playing a martial arts guru like Stick, and second, Stick’s blind. “The hardest part was dealing with the blindness,” says Stamp who’s studied Tai Chi throughout his life. “I was going to do it with my eyes closed, to make it more real, but that was too weird so I just tried to make it look real, although I did all of my fight training with my eyes closed. The other difficult part was learning to use the staff and make it look like I’ve mastered it. The relationship between Elektra and Stick is very interesting because she comes to him, at the start of the film, looking for guidance. He’s her Sensei, and he sees brilliance in her, but also that she’s a badass. I think the main reason he banished her was that he felt he had to show superiority, because she wasn’t listening to him and he doesn’t like it when his pupils don’t listen to him.”

Will “Elektra” be a truly exciting and original comic book film adaptation, with a dark and disturbed heroine at its core unlike has ever been seen before, certainly not in the awful film version of Catwoman? Will “Elektra” excite genre fans enough to warrant Daredevil and Elektra being reunited in “Daredevil 2?” Only time, and box office receipts, will tell, but Elektra herself, Garner, is ready. “I’ve missed having Daredevil around to protect me,” says Garner. “I can’t hide playing this character because this is Elektra’s film and how do you play a character whose only mission in life is to kill? I love her.”




Posted on January 14, 2005 in Interviews by
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