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About The Production
THE SPIRIT brings together two visionaries in the art of graphic storytelling: Frank Miller, the creator of such edgy contemporary classics as "Sin City,” "300,” and "The Dark Knight Returns”; and Will Eisner, a pioneer of the modern American comic book. Eisner broke the comic book mold when he introduced "The Spirit” in 1940; now Miller achieves a similar feat with THE SPIRIT, a comic book movie that looks like no other before it. 

Miller cites Eisner as one of his greatest and earliest inspirations. "I first encountered Will Eisner's comics when I was 13 years old, and I thought he was the hot new guy,” Miller reports. "The work was about 40 years old but it looked fresher and newer than anything I'd seen before.” 

Eisner was barely into his 20s and already at the forefront of the new comic book movement when he created "The Spirit” as a weekly, stand-alone newspaper insert. The series not only accelerated the comic's artistic evolution from the three and four-panel strips of the "funny pages,” it became the incubator for a host of formal and narrative innovations. While invincible costumed crusaders like Batman and Superman were making waves, Eisner created a masked hero in a suit, tie, gloves and fedora, with no superhuman powers to his credit. He was neither millionaire nor alien, just a onetime cop named Denny Colt widely believed to be dead. The Spirit was very much an adult character, with a wry sense of humor, an eye for the ladies, and an unswerving devotion to Central City, the gritty urban melting pot he called home. And Eisner chronicled his adventures with a cinematic sense of style, in illustrations that evoked the stark compositions and unusual spatial perspectives of works like CITIZEN KANE. 

Miller had begun working in comic books when he met Eisner for the first time, at a party in New York City. "I was writing and drawing one of my first issues of ‘Daredevil' for Marvel Comics,” he recalls. "Eisner took a look at the opening page and immediately told me what was wrong with it. We started arguing about the use of the caption on it, and that began a debate that ran for 25 years about how to make comics and how they work. We had a very fiery, healthy relationship and a very dear friendship. I learned a lot from him.” 

Producers Deborah Del Prete and Michael E. Uslan are both lifelong comics enthusiasts.  In 1992, Uslan, who helped usher in the modern era of adult-themed comic movies when he produced Tim Burton's BATMAN (1989), acquired the rights to THE SPIRIT from Eisner. In making the deal with Eisner, Uslan recalls that he made a simple, sincere promise: "I swore to Will that nobody would touch THE SPIRIT -- not a company, not a person -- unless they were willing to respect the property and do it the right way.” 

Almost a decade later, actor Dan Lauria introduced Uslan to Del Prete and her producing partner Gigi Pritzker. Del Prete was intrigued when she learned of Uslan's background in comic book properties. "I said to Michael, ‘Look, I've always wanted to make a comic book movie,'” Del Prete recalled. "‘We're independent filmmakers. We can develop things on our own. I've been looking for that kind of movie.'” 

Uslan did not see the Odd Lot folks for a long time after. When he was still frustrated in his "Spirit” quest, he went to meet with Del Prete in 2004, determined to make his "Spirit” pitch. "We had a lovely conversation and then she said, ‘You finally brought me something! What did you bring me?',” he remembers. "I said, ‘Deb, I'm bringing you the greatest creative work to ever come out of the comic book industry in the last 70 years.' She looked at me and said, ‘Don't tell me you have the rights to ‘The Spirit?' And I looked up into the sky and I said, ‘Mama, I'm home!' She was the first person who knew about ‘The Spirit!' It was a magic moment.” 

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