VFX Artist Tim Miller Signs on to Direct Graphic Novel Adaptation GRAVEL

     March 15, 2012

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As his planned directorial debut, the hotly anticipated (by me, at least) Deadpool, seemingly toils in development hell, Tim Miller has been tapped for another comic-book adaptation. The visual effects savant has agreed to helm Legendary Pictures’ adaptation of Gravel, based on Warren Ellis’ graphic novel series. An intriguing mash-up of horror and hard-boiled detective story, the Gravel comics centre on William Gravel, a British soldier who plays magic-wielding mercenary on the side, doing battle with the forces of darkness to pay off his ominous personal debts.

Miller’s name may not ring any bells, but he’s the guy who, via his own CG animation-house Blur Studio, put together that jaw-dropping sequence at the start of David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake. You know, the one with all the oil and the writhing and the Led Zeppelin (via Karen O);  I like to imagine that Miller just walked into his first meeting with Legendary, popped that thing in the Blu-ray player and said “Call me with the details,” over his shoulder as he made his way back to the elevator. Hit the jump for more on Gravel.

gravel-comic-imagePer Deadline, comic creator Warren Ellis will serve as one of the executive producers on the project, while Stephen Cornwell and Oliver Butcher will pen the script. Warner Brothers is set to release.

Though Tim Miller’s a feature-length first-timer, he has proven himself capable of creating enthralling big-screen fare with an exquisitely dark aesthetic, even if it only lasted for a couple minutes. Plus, I’m a pretty big fan of both supernatural horror and noir (as well as the pulpy crime books that inspired the latter). Put them together and you’ve got my attention.

William Christensen, editor-in-chief of Gravel publisher Avatar Press, describes the world that writer Warren Ellis created in his novels as “a place that makes Sin City look like Disney World sometimes.” The shudder-inducing official synopsis for Strange Kiss, the 1999 debut of William Gravel, would seem to confirm that appraisal.

From Avatar Press:

“A horrific murder/suicide takes place in the middle of a busy city street at midday, while an old man rots in a hospital bed nearby, bloated with something sick and reptilian gestating inside. In a darkened place close by, people scream, impregnated and doomed. Something beautiful and awful is trying to reproduce, and its strange kiss is only to be feared…”

Miller signing on for Gravel doesn’t necessarily mean anything for Fox’s Deadpool. However, after Green Lantern, another Ryan Reynolds-led superhero pic was savaged by critics and viciously ignored by audiences this past summer, I’d actually be kind of surprised if the project (or at least, this current iteration of it) got off the ground at all. Kind of a shame. I know Reynolds has his detractors, but the “Merc with a Mouth” fits him like a glove.

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