Legendary 1980s graphic novel V For Vendetta is being brought to the big screen by the team behind the Matrix trilogy. Currently shooting in Berlin and London, Alan Moore’s parable about a masked freedom fighter battling the authorities in a fascist-run Britain has been scripted by Andy and Larry Wachowski. Other Matrix veterans behind the camera include producer Joel Silver and assistant director James McTeigue, who’s taking charge of his first full feature. James Purefoy will play the charismatic, mysterious V, while Natalie Portman co-stars as his confidante Evey.
“It’s going to be a very challenging role,” Purefoy told a press conference on March 4 at Babelsberg studios near Berlin, where the bulk of shooting will take place. “You will never see my face, and I think that’s something that the fans of the comic book will be really pleased about. You should never see the guy’s face because that makes him infinitely more mysterious.”
Drawn by artist David Lloyd, V For Vendetta made its debut in the short-lived early 1980s comic Warrior, and was finally published in full by DC in 1988. Speaking from a soundstage designed to resemble the roof of the Old Bailey, McTeigue insisted the film will stick closely to Moore’s dark vision.
“It’s very close to Alan Moore’s graphic novel,” the director said. “Like all great adaptations for film there are things you have to lose and things you have to keep. But it runs very close to what Alan Moore wrote and what he was trying to say.”
A disgruntled Moore has disowned several previous features based on his work, including From Hell and the recent Keanu Reeves thriller Constantine. But Silver said the author is being supportive of V For Vendetta, which the producer claims will be more “people centric” and less effects-driven than the Matrix trilogy.
“Larry Wachowski has been speaking to Alan about it,” Silver said. “He hasn’t been very happy with some of the movies that have been made from his comic books, but he was very excited about Larry and Andy’s script. We hope to see him at some point when we’re in the UK. We’d just like him to know what we’re doing, and be part of what we’re trying to do.”
Fans of the original comic will also be delighted to hear that V For Vendetta is scheduled to open on November 4th, just in time for the 400th anniversary of The Gunpowder Plot.
By Stephen Dalton