Rodriguez casts remaining roles; pic's opening already shot

Robert Rodriguez has committed to direct “Sin City,” an adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic noir crime novel series.

Dimension Films co-chairman Bob Weinstein has given Rodriguez the go-ahead to begin shooting next month in Austin, Texas. Rodriguez will produce with Elizabeth Avellan through his Troublemaker Studios label.

Set in Sin City, the film interconnects storylines that involve the unsavory inhabitants of the town. Rodriguez has already shot the film’s opening with Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton, and he’s now casting the remaining roles as the rest of the film gets under way in March.

“I’d been a fan of ‘Sin City’ since it was published in 1991, and I always felt that when you walk into a comicbook store, it jumps off the shelf at you,” Rodriguez said. “After doing the ‘Spy Kids’ movies, I was looking to do something that would offer lighting and special effects challenges. I decided I didn’t want to adapt Frank’s book but rather translate it to the screen with the same visual flourishes that Frank used so well.”

Hollywood has long drawn inspiration from the graphic novels of Miller. He created the Elektra character to played by Jennifer Garner in the “Daredevil” spinoff movie that just took shape at Regency. His “Hard Boiled” is being developed by Warner Bros. and Saturn Pictures, and he brought back Batman in “The Dark Knight Returns.”

But he’s long rebuffed offers to adapt “Sin City” and follow-up novels “That Yellow Bastard” and “The Big Fat Kill.” Rodriguez, however, approached with an intriguing offer: He’d make Miller his co-director and shoot a sample scene to show he’d be faithful to Miller’s visuals.

Miller said he welcomed the chance to be so closely involved with the director: “He came to me with a bold, coherent plan to bring my baby to the screen. This is gonna be a whole new kind of crime movie.”

Rodriguez said the film consists of multiple storylines involving characters with questionable morals. “The morality tales and a love story revolve around this dark city, which is really the main character in the film.”

Dimension co-prexies Andrew Rona and Brad Weston are steering the film for the studio.

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