Robert Rodriguez is getting closer to pulling off one more movie based on the illustrations of an artist named Frank, and it isn’t “Sin City 3.”
Rodriguez tells CBR News that he’s almost ready to move forward on a film project based on the iconic fantasy artwork of the legendary Frank Frazetta. In 2012, two years after Frazetta’s death, Rodriguez announced plans to helm a remake of filmmaker Ralph Bakshi’s 1983 animated feature film “Fire and Ice,” which also attempted to bring the iconic painter’s distinctive visual style to life on the big screen.
At the time, Rodriguez said he expected to proceed with the film following production of “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” saying that the experience would approximate stepping into a Frazetta painting, similar to the way he brought Frank Miller’s stylized “Sin City” world to filmic life. Rodriguez, who was friends with Frazetta, opened a gallery exhibit during this year’s South By Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas, showcasing highlights from his impressive collection of the artist’s original painting — including classics like “Death Dealer I,” “Egyptian Queen,” “Fire and Ice” “Dark Kingdom” and “Swamp Demon” — to raise funds for an eventual permanent Frazetta museum.
Comic Book Resources: Are you getting closer to doing something cinematically with the Frank Frazetta works?
Robert Rodriguez: Yeah, I am! I can’t say what, but soon we’ll announce some stuff. We’re really excited right now. Can’t say anything yet!
How is it different working with somebody like Frank Miller, who’s here and available to you, and then taking something that is so visual, like Frazetta’s works, but not having Frazetta himself at your side?
You know, I knew him very well, and I grew up with his work on my walls. I understood. I’ve talked to him at great length about what people did incorrectly when they tried to adapt his work but they didn’t get it. He would complain about comics and stuff that were done that were just really violent, and he said, “They didn’t really understand my work.” So really, I would do it in a way where it was as if he was there with me. I would be watching it from his point of view. I understood his point of view, I think, better than anybody was ever going to try and do a movie. So I would want his spirit there, and I’d be looking out for him in that. I would almost consider giving him a co-directing credit! You know, I’m going to do it like I did with Frank [Miller], so much in just turning his paintings into movies. When you’re doing that, you’re no longer just adapting and making it your own. You’re really trying to do what he did. And unfortunately, he tried do it — he did “Fire and Ice.” It didn’t get there because the technology, it was never quite what he wanted.
I’m trying to help complete that vision for him — like, be that third collaborator, between Ralph Bakshi and him — Ralph’s one of the producers on it — to try and use technology to catch us up to finish what they started.
Do you think what you’re doing is going to be as visually distinctive as the “Sin City” films?
It has to be. It has to be as groundbreaking as those paintings were when they first dropped, when you first saw his work and were arrested by it in the ’60s. It’s got to be like that. Otherwise, we go home, you know?