Monday, October 18, 2010


One word can change everything.

Seven years ago I read Issue #1 of a Warren Ellis limited series named 'RED' and was introduced to retired CIA killer Paul Moses, who lived a menial retirement highlighted by the weekly conversation he had on the phone with his case worker and the odd letter he got from a niece in England. Then somebody new came to power in the CIA and ordered Moses eliminated in order to bury his dirty, sordid past once and for all. Paul Moses discovered this and phoned in his status to 'The Company' as he had done week in and week out for years. But this time he didn't say 'GREEN.'

With one word he changed everything.

 So with Bruce Willis playing Paul Moses, and a story adapted and expanded in order to facilitate it being licensed into a movie, I've dug back into my archives and done some advanced reading. Reviews of the movie suggest that it isn't the gritty, dark film that the book presented, but rather is laced with comedy that lifts its mood and offers a more entertaining, upbeat action flick.

So the script that Ellis reportedly submitted to D.C. years before they actually published it generated an intriguing enough concept to be converted into a movie. I remember listening to Ellis speak in Toronto a few years ago (around the time the book was getting set to publish I think) and he seemed to be speaking with a certain amount of contempt for D.C.'s editors who sat on the script (and another one, which he didn't name but I suspect was Tokyo Storm Warning) until Ellis was actually a hot commodity in the industry, before deciding to publish it.

At the time I didn't give it a lot of though, but now as I reflect on it and the obvious success of the concept (as it crashes into theaters) I can certainly understand what I perceived to be his frustration. If I created something for you and you paid me, but didn't think enough of it to put it on display, I'm not sure I would be happy when you later sought to capitalize on my growing fame by pulling it out of mothballs and parading it around for the world to see. If you didn't think it was up to your standards before, I would have to wonder what had changed. Certainly not the script. So did the audience change, or did your standards change?

Or were you maybe, just maybe, wrong to begin with?

Not that I expect that Warren is in any way disappointed by the current turn of events, which would have put some extra money in his pocket. But there is certainly a sequence of events there that would have had me seeing 'RED.'

Thank god I'm not Paul Moses.

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