More than two years have passed since that the heavy-hitting Tom Hardy would be producing a movie adaptation of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s gripping Vertigo series 100 Bullets. While details have remained scarce regarding any movement on the project, initial reports suggested Hardy and co. would remain true to the content of the 100-issue saga that ran from 1999-2009. That in itself seems a bit contradictory; how can you stay true to this hard boiled epic on the big screen?
Trying to boil it down to a movie, or even a series of movies, is like asking Lono to babysit your newborn; it’s just not a good idea. With production news scarce at best, let us take this opportunity to stuff an attache full of evidence and send Agent Graves to Hardy’s Hardy Son & Baker production company to try to convince them to rethink their choices.
Don’t dumb it down
There were a lot of balls in the air throughout 100 Bullets, and Azzarello, Risso and co. did an incredible job juggling them. Distilling all of that down into 2-3 hours, or even 10-15 hours over the course of several movies, would be a disservice to the creators and their amazing characters.
Think of all the amazing slow burn TV shows we’ve had in the past 20 years.The Wire, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones have given us rich stories with huge casts of characters. Why can’t 100 Bullets do that, too?
Slow it down
The action of 100 Bullets, especially in the latter half leading up to the pulse-pounding final issues, is one of the series’ best assets. But the crackling dialogue shines brightest (or darkest, really) in quieter, more suspenseful moments. Watching Graves verbally dance as he stares across a table at somebody, or waiting for Lono, the powder keg wrapped in a Hawaiian shirt, to do something insane are some of the most enjoyable parts of the series. Cramming the whole story into a movie leaves little room to breathe.
A 100 Bullets movie would be a bit like binge-watching Breaking Bad. While still great, the compressed viewing time takes some of the sting out of Walter White’s descent into darkness.
It fits the small screen
Fantasy and comic book shows are crushing it on TV right now. DC has accomplished on TV what it couldn’t at the multiplex, building a connected universe featuring Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. The Marvel series on Netflix draw millions of eyes. And AMC’s Preacher, based on another Vertigo book, is a hit. Not to mention Game of Thrones, arguably the most popular and talked about show maybe ever. So, another comic book property most certainly wouldn’t be ignored.
Don’t hold back on looking back
Along those same lines, the great 100 Bullets flashbacks can lead to some quality bottle episodes that would make Orange is the New Black blush. Cole Burns and Wylie Times are absolute badasses, but simply chucking them into suits and having them go all Minuteman on everything is missing the point. Seeing where their lives pivoted and watching all those guys piece together that fateful Minutemen meeting bit by bit are just some of the great looks back in the 100 issue run that need to be preserved on the screen. TV keeps these from getting drowned in exposition.
Dear big strong Tom Hardy, all we’ve done here is provide evidence that confining such a complicated, rewarding property to the big screen might not be the best idea. The decision, of course, is up to you.