Despite only five films next to his name, William Monahan is one of the most renowned writers in Hollywood. After taking home the Oscar for his screenplay for Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" half a decade a ago, Monahan now has his hands on more projects than you can shake a stick at. He recently spoke at length to Collider about his upcoming slate namely the long-gestating, much-talked-about sequel to Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City," which he recently came on board to rewrite.
"My job is essentially to be Frank Miller," Monahan explained. "I have to, as an improvisational actor, be Frank Miller while simultaneously being Monahan. It’s pretty cool because as a screenwriter, as a dramatist, what you’re doing all the time is inhabiting characters and improvising. In writing drama, there’s a great component of being an improvisational actor and there’s also a component of being an improvisational writer who can inhabit another personality and deliver something in the correct tone. Frank Miller is emphatically Frank Miller. That’s what I wanted to see in 'Sin City' and that’s what I want to see in 'Sin City 2.'" Let's just hope Monahan has never seen Miller's directorial debut, "The Spirit."
Monahan also talked about the notion of a sequel to Scorsese's Oscar-winning "The Departed," which has always caused conjecture due to the film's high body count. "My idea actually is to set the film before, during and after the action of the first film, which I think would be extraordinary... essentially, in the middle section of the thing I’ve intended, you’d see actions that take place during the original 'Departed,' but aren’t on screen in the original 'Departed.' There would be off-screen things that occur at that point in the story. But it would work seamlessly as a movie of its own."
Monahan remained realistic though, noting that he didn't know "if it’s ever going to happen. I know the film, I’ve got the film in my head. Even if everybody didn’t come back, which they could in the film as I’ve configured it, it would be a hell of a paycheck for somebody to write. The film would have to be absolutely superb."
Asked about the recently announced remake of "The Gambler," which is set to reunite him with Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, Monahan simply replied his inspiration for the remake was (like the original) "...Dostoyevsky. I’m going to reset it in a place that’s very interesting to me at present and dip a little bit back into the Dostoevsky original." And while many have complained -- including original writer James Toback -- about the very idea of remaking the movie, Monahan feels there is room for improvement.
"There are things like the Nazi-hunting angle which are obviously outdated by now," Monahan added. "I like the structure. I don’t think the picture is the Passion of St. Theresa, but I think it’s pretty good. If it was unsurpassable I wouldn’t touch it. It’s very '70s. There’s always a great hue and cry when you sign onto a 'remake,' and that’s always been sort of annoying me and freaking me out."
Disappointingly, no reference was made to Monahan's planned Viking movie starring DiCaprio that was to be helmed by Mel Gibson before all his drama happened. Coincidentally, the first U.S. trailer (which is pretty much like the U.K. trailer) for Monahan's directorial debut, "London Boulevard," has also just been unveiled (via FirstShowing). Despite the all-star cast (Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone), the film, which finished over a year ago, crawled through its U.K. theatrical run last year and will be released on November 11th through FilmDistrict. We probably wouldn't get our hopes up -- our review simply advised that that the film is "a road you don’t really want to find yourself going down."