What If Brad Bird Had Directed THE SPIRIT?

birdeisnerspiritOut of the thousands of films that are actively being developed at one time, only a small handful ever reach the point where they are actually produced. As Hollywood is not necessarily a meritocracy, the best ones in development are not necessarily the ones that get the greenlight. And in the case of literary properties – films being adapted from short stories, novels or comics – it may take several tries by several different people before the story hits the screen.

Opening Christmas Day is a live action adaptation of Will Eisner’s classic comic The Spirit. But director Frank Miller’s interpretation is not the first attempt made to bring the two-fisted hero to the big screen. Back in the early 1980s, one other than a fresh out of college Brad Bird was looking at turning Eisner’s character into a feature length animated film.

Publicist-turned-animation producer Steven Paul Leiva wrote about the attempt for the LA Times this weekend in a fascinating article that not only details Bird’s take on the project, but also illuminates the rocky state of the entire animation industry at the time.

Would the man who eventually gave us The Iron Giant and The Incredibles actually have had the first hit of his career with this project? It’s hard to say. If it had gone ahead there were still numerous things that could have kept it from being a good movie. Still, it is interesting to speculate what it would have looked like.

Via Cartoon Brew.

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About Rich Drees 7210 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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