Quint interviews V FOR VENDETTA co-creator and illustrator David Lloyd!!!
Published at: March 9, 2006, 7:41 a.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with one of my two chats with folk from the upcoming V FOR VENDETTA flick. I have director James McTeigue waiting in the wings for my mighty transcription skills. Up first however is David Lloyd, who created the original comic along with Alan Moore. Not only did he write it, he also drew it, so much of the unique visual style of the VENDETTA universe is his doing.
Mr. Lloyd was at the New York Comic Con when I conducted this interview, via phone. That's all the background you need, except to be warned of some big spoilers. Enjoy!
QUINT: I'm a long time attendee of San Diego Comic-Con, but I've never been to New York's Comic-Con. Have you been on the floor yet?
DAVID LLOYD: Uh, yeah. In fact, Saturday... I was supposed to be signing on Saturday, but there was a big... I don't know whether you heard about this, but it was oversold on Saturday and the fire marshall had to come in to stop anybody else coming in!
QUINT: That's nuts, man.
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, and even crazier is there were guys going out to have lunch and then not being able to get back in, so it was completely nuts. So, I didn't do a signing on Saturday, but I did run to the Dark Horse (booth) on Sunday and then one at D.C. at the same time. But I wasn't there very long. It was a matter of getting back for more interviews yesterday afternoon.
QUINT: I guess that's just good news for the New York Comic-Con that it's getting that big.
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, I mean that's great. You know, I was kinda surprised that they had that situation happen because I would have imagined that they would see that there was lots of response and that there was going to be a lot of people here. Actually, it's my first time being here. I mean, I usually go to San Diego. I mean, San Diego is one I'm at every year and this is the first time I've been here.
QUINT: Does the floor compare to San Diego?
DAVID LLOYD: Well... I couldn't get around much, Eric. That was the big problem. I did a couple of signings, you know, and I just didn't get to see much else of it. But, apparently, it's about half of the size, I think, people were telling me...
QUINT: I saw V FOR VENDETTA in December at Butt-Numb-A-Thon...
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, I heard about that. It had a nice reaction, too.
QUINT: Yeah, everybody flipped for it.
DAVID LLOYD: Good.
QUINT: I was curious as to how much input you had on the movie, throughout all the stages of development. Did they come to you at all?
DAVID LLOYD: No... The only input I had was they sent me the script before they started production. I got a call from Grant Hill and then Larry and Andy (Wachowski) and they sort of said, "We want to send it to you." I said to them, "Are you open to suggestions?" and they said, "Yeah." (laughs)
So, when I got it, I sort of made some comments about it, but generally speaking my attitude towards it was incredibly positive. I'm glad that they ended up doing it because I knew they were longtime fans of it. I think the first time I saw that it was liable to happen was I saw the sort of first poster thing that was on the internet, which was that first one that they did with the mask and the V sign. They'd obviously kind of reproduced the graphic novel cover on that and that really made me feel optimistic about their whole involvement because you could see from that they were determined to keep it close to the original.
They used the original graphic novel as storyboards, practically. That's what James (McTeigue, director) and Joel (Silver, producer) have been saying. Owen Paterson, the designer, was concerned about getting things looking exactly like the original. So it's all turned out really well and although there were changes that were made to it, a lot of those changes they had to make because they had to abbreviate what was being said, but the central core of it all, as you obviously know having seen it, is exactly... all the key instants, the way things happen and the philosophy behind it, the messages behind it... it's all there. I mean, it's all done in a different way, with broader strokes, broader brush strokes because of its shortness... I mean, the original was massive. You couldn't have done that unless you'd done it as a sort of TV show, really, because there's so much material.
But I think what they've done is a really great adaptation. I wouldn't be supporting them in it if I didn't think otherwise.
QUINT: Did you ever visit the set at all?
DAVID LLOYD: No, I didn't. To be honest... them having done what they've done, I don't think they really needed me, but they did invite me to be part of the crowd, sort of like a little cameo. (laughs) That's not my scene, you know... you just give me a credit and I'm happy. So, yeah... I think it's turned out really good.
QUINT: So, obviously, you've seen the movie then, yeah?
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, I saw it in November.
QUINT: I really loved the way Adrian Biddle, the cinematographer, translated the universe that you created. I thought it was a beautiful job. Is this the first time you've seen something you've worked on translated into another medium?
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah and it's quite incredible. I tell you, it's a big shame that he's not around now. I would have loved to have been able to say hello and shake his hand because, as you say, he did such a really nice job on it. It's really extraordinary seeing something that you've created come to life like that.
I remember when I first saw it... I was actually sitting next to Larry in the theater and seeing the Shadow Gallery for the first time... it was really great. But the scene that I'm telling everybody really most impressed me in terms of its comparison to the original is the scene where... the transformation scene between Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman where she comes out of that jail to find out that V is her torturer and they go through that moment, that kind of epiphany. Seeing that... I mean, it's just like seeing one of your paintings come to life because I really worked hard when I actually drew that scene to make it as believable as I possibly could. The way they did it was great. You can't really ask for better than that. There were lots of scenes like that throughout the film, but that is the one that really stands out for me.
QUINT: And that stood out because it was done better or because it matched what you drew?
DAVID LLOYD: It matched the original. You know, it's like... If you've done something and you tried to elicit a feeling and an emotion... I mean, that was a very difficult scene to draw to begin with because you see... It's an interesting thing about comics, Eric, that to a degree you have to use a certain amount of exaggeration in comics because you've got a limitation... A camera can be on somebody for a long time and you can get a whole variety of meaning and nuance and expression. In comics you have to use it, but you've got to limit that because too much exaggeration and it overplays, but not enough and it underplays. So, doing an emotional scene like that, drawing it, you really have to walk the line.
As I say, I really worked hard to try and get that exactly right in the book and when they did it on film...
QUINT: They nailed it.
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, they did nail it. You used the right expression! (laughs) So, yeah... I think that speaks volumes to me about the dedication of the filmmakers to the original work.
QUINT: Was there a moment that more than matched the original for you, that was better than your original to you? Where you went, "Man, why didn't I think of doing it that way?"
DAVID LLOYD: Well, I think because they stuck so close to the original in the visual aspects of it... all the key instance scenes seemed like they did them in that way and I think quite affectively. I congratulate them the most, if you're asking me sort of about changes, I congratulate them on the final part, on the ending. It was a very clever idea of having all those people in the masks because basically what it kind of symbolizes is an act of mass defiance, which is actually a mass defiance made up of individuals because, of course, V is representing the individuals' action. But the public adopting that persona through the mask and then becoming one... basically it was like all for one and one for all.
It was a very clever, symbolic way of doing everything.
QUINT: It just made it V's true success, that his ultimate goal was achieved because all he wanted to do was wake the people up...
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, exactly. That's right. In the original, V was more of a dreamer, really, because he planed chaos followed by anarchy. Yet there was no way that you could actually plan for anarchy. He could plan for chaos, but what happened after chaos was something he had no way of sustaining, so in the film they've made V more of a pragmatic character who knows what his limitations are and he's sort of happy with achieving that.
QUINT: Cool, man. How about the opposite? Was there any moment you saw in the film where you went, "Hrmm... I wish they would have hit the moment more like I did..."
DAVID LLOYD: Well, I don't know... It's very difficult for me to make that judgment because I think... You know, a lot of people... I've done a bunch of interviews this morning and people are saying, "There isn't a lot of action in it," and stuff like that. It's kind of quiet. And yeah, it's a Hollywood movie, so I think... Let's see if I can answer this in a sensible way... (laughs) I'm sort of floundering a bit here... What I'm trying to say, really, is within the limitations of the audience... I mean, they have to make a movie that was for Hollywood, whereas we were making a story that was for a different audience and an audience that didn't have to be pleased on a massive scale. Let's face it, we're talking about a global scale here because it's going to be released all around the world.
So, their working position was so completely different to mine and Alan's that making a comparison is almost impossible. In fact, because of that, the adherence to the original is all the more laudable, you know? Bearing in mind the fact that they were making a movie for a mass audience... it's just great that they've managed to keep it so close to the original in tone and velocity.
QUINT: Before we have to break this off, I really want to touch upon Hugo Weaving and his performance as V. One thing that I noticed from the very first trailer, what I loved about hearing Hugo's voice coming from behind the mask was that it sounded like the scraggily words in the comics from whenever he spoke. He nailed the audible version of that wavy font...
DAVID LLOYD: Yeah, yeah! (laughs) I'll tell you... When we did that our idea was that he was... We had no idea what V's voice was going to sound like except that it'd be kind of strange. We conceived of something that would be maybe assisted by some sort of electronics or something. A bit like the PHIBES movies, you know? Vincent Price as PHIBES?
QUINT: Of course.
DAVID LLOYD: We conceived of something like that, but obviously what they've done... They must have done some experiments on tones of voice, but I think it sounds great. If they had done it kind of too spooky, I think it would have upset the balance of things...
QUINT: He's got to be a charmer, too, or else he doesn't work as a character...
DAVID LLOYD: Exactly! That's right, that's true. I think they do a great job with it.
QUINT: Fantastic, man. What're you working on?
DAVID LLOYD: There's nothing on the drawing board at the moment, but the next new thing that's coming out for me is something called KICK BACK, which is a police thriller. Dark Horse is publishing that in summer. That should be out for San Diego. That's a 92 page hardback comic-size crime story.
QUINT: I'll have to pick it up when I'm out there. Thanks so much for taking your time to chat with. I hope to shake your hand one of these times at San Diego.
DAVID LLOYD: All right, Eric. If you do see me at San Diego, for God's sake come up and say hello.
QUINT: I certainly will.
DAVID LLOYD: Bye-bye, mate.
And there you have it. Before you ask, I did ask for a dirty joke before we got off the phone with each other, but Mr. Lloyd didn't have one. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Look out for my chat with James McTeigue, which should be hitting very, very soon. Until then, this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu.