Tucci Enthuasiastic About Shi Optioned By Mandolin Entertainment
By Rob M. Worley
Courtesy of Comics2Film
Comics2Film recently spoke with Shi creator Billy Tucci about the recent announcement that his flagship character had been optioned for feature film development by producer Mimi Polk Gitlin and Mandolin Entertainment. The comic-creator-turned filmmaker had just returned from a screening of his short movie Some Trouble of a SeRRious Nature at the Long Island International Film Expo.
"We rocked. It was a rough cut but we rocked," Tucci said of the audience reaction to his film.
Although he was up against some tough competition, Tucci said that the comedic Some Trouble may have stood out against other more somber films. "So many independent films are very emotional straining pictures. They're supposed to be very serious or quirky," Tucci said. "Mine was just like a live-action cartoon."
Comic fans will get a chance to see the director's fledgling effort at the upcoming Comic-Con International in San Diego. There'll be a screening of the movie on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in Room 13, followed by a panel discussion with Tucci. Copies of the film will also be available for sale at the show.
Of course, the comic creator is equally excited about the new development effort on Shi. Tucci said that after years of watching the property languish in a chaotic development hell, it is very refreshing to work with Gitlin.
"She's one of the few people I've met out there who actually got the story. She didn't think of Shi as Barb Wire or something," Tucci said. "She produced Thelma and Louise so she's got a good grasp on female themes in action-type pictures."
Tucci is enthused by the recent surge of interest in comic book movies, but would rather see Shi equated with the martial arts genre. "She's not super-hero. She's not fighting crime. She's a warrior who has been drafted into this battle that's been going on for hundreds before she was even born," the creator said.
He cites legendary Japanese directors like Akira Kurosawa and Masaki Kobayashi as influences he'd like to see in the film. While the movie will have plenty of action, he hopes that it tends towards realism. "If anyone dies in this picture you're going to feel for them, you're going to know these people," Tucci said. "The dynamic characters of Arashi and the cop, LaBianca; there's some really great, powerful stuff going on. When people fight I want [the audience] to feel it."
The comic creator also said that, while he won't be directly involved with the casting of the movie, if he was able to hand pick the lead he'd want Kelly Hu (X-Men 2) to do it.
Tucci is currently working on a new script with Kevin Bernhardt, who has been a supporter of the Shi movie in all its various incarnations. The comic creator sees plenty of room for improvement over his previous script. "I think I've come a long way since then. That was my first screenwriting attempt," Tucci said. "Now I have some experience to draw on. This time around it's a lot more fun."
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