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The Assignment by Walter Hill and Matz
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The Assignment

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The Assignment by Walter Hill and Matz
Paperback $19.99
Mar 14, 2017 | ISBN 9781785861451

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  • Mar 14, 2017 | ISBN 9781785861451

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“It’s bloody brilliant! 4.5 out of 5” – Big Comic Page

“Jef’s artwork is classic noir” – Bounding Into Comics

“In my opinion Walter Hill is a solid 2 for 2 when it comes to comics so far. Titan also has a hit on their hands with their Hard Case Crime titles. If you haven’t dug into these yet you absolutely should, especially if you love crime/noir stories. The Hard Case Crimes imprint is one of the most underrated things in comics today.” – Ain’t It Cool News

“Very good […] WOW did not seeing that coming.” – LRM Online

Author Q&A

Hollywood screenwriter-director, Walter Hill, is responsible for some of the biggest blockbuster movies of the 1980s. Best known for films like The Warriors, 48 Hours and The Driver, producing the Alien franchise, and his revival of the Western genre, Hill has previously been described as ‘reinventing the American action movie’. Recently branching out into the world of comics, the legendary figure spoke about his latest title, The Assignment.

Tell us a little about THE ASSIGNMENT…
It was originally published under the title Corps et âme. It came out in Paris, April 2016. It’s my second effort in this discipline. Balles Perdues (Triggerman), a gangster story set in the 1930’s, is my first and came out last year.

Where did the original title of ‘Body and Soul’ come from?
Well, that’s the translation of the French title, which is of course a very famous Warner Brothers/John Garfield movie. The motion picture and the graphic novel were written under the title ‘Tomboy’. Tomboy doesn’t translate well into French, so [my French publishers] decided to come up with ‘Body and Soul’. I don’t speak French – I always say, ‘I’m the only guy who’s so dumb, he can’t read the books he writes’!

How did the project come about?
Denis Hamill should get some credit on this. Denis wrote the original story, which I bought, changed, and turned into a movie script and a graphic novel, which I then gave to Matz for the adaptation.

How did that collaboration begin?
I first met Matz in New Orleans while working on Bullet to the Head. BttH is an adaption of his graphic novel Du plomb dans la tête. I knew his work and was very fond of Le Tueur (The Killer). He’s done a lot of good work and came down to the set. I had expressed great admiration and interest in graphic novels — i’ve always had a great interest in comics and all that. He said, “You oughta do something in this area… do you have any old scripts that can be adapted?” I had this script (Triggerman) that I wrote long ago. I then rewrote it for a more graphic novel representation. We kinda just hit it off!

Do you like writing graphic novels?
Very much! It’s like running wind sprints when you’re used to running
the mile. I’m actually collaborating with the same adapter (Matz) and artist (Jef) on another one at the moment. A science fiction story.

The sensitive subject matter of The Assignment has garnered its fair share of controversy. Some argue that the premise is a little lurid. Care to comment?
Guilty. Yes, it’s lurid, comic-booky, and noir-ish in form (but these are traditional, mass entertainment genre staples). To be told that certain things are totally off limits, that they’re too sacrosanct – especially when you’re not even writing about them – seems to me to be the worst kind of censorship.
To be honest, the movie was attacked before it even got made. There’s no questioning the controversy – we’d be kidding ourselves if we thought it was not going to be controversial in some ways. But while we’ve had some vicious attackers, we’ve also already had some strong defenders of the movie.

Was it difficult handling the transsexual aspect of the story?
Just because he is ‘altered’, our main character is still a guy inside his head. With that in mind, he’s really the opposite of somebody that goes through a transgender experience. Here’s a man who is perfectly happy, and suddenly wakes up with his equipment altered. But inside his head he’s still the same. In some ways, he’s actually in a similar position to a transgender person before the operation. He’s trapped in a body that he doesn’t respond to emotionally.

Did you have any actors in mind when you were working on this? The character of ‘The Doctor’ that Sigourney Weaver plays in the movie does seem to share a resemblance with the actress…
Originally, the idea was to cast both Tomboy/Frank Kitchen and the Doctor as male. Then I had a ‘come to Jesus moment’ and I thought, ‘what if Frank Kitchen was played by a woman?’
I thought it would be more artistically challenging for an actor, because the character is — in essence — a guy. If we were to cast a male actor, it would be all about the make up, but if we were to cast a woman, then we would have something for the artist to push up against. I know this is a circular answer, but once I knew it was going to a woman playing the Frank Kitchen part… I thought it would be interesting to bend ‘The Doctor’ into a woman as well. She’s a mad scientist, a careerist that’s gone off the end, and suffered a personal loss at the hands of Kitchen.
Once I decided, it was all domino falling. Sigourney was my first choice. She’s an old friend of mine and we’ve always talked about
working together. I’ve never directed her previously, but I’ve written for her. I ran it by her first of course, and called her up to say, “This is your chance — if you want to play not the nicest person in the world…” I think she enjoyed it, but you should ask her about all that!

What’s next on the cards?
I’m in the middle of a couple of things right now. We’re having the French premiere of the movie at the Grand Lyon Film Festival. When I get back to the US, I’ll try and figure out what I want to do next. I am working on 60 or 70 rough pages of sequel to Triggerman and I’ve got about 40 pages of sequel material to Tomboy. I don’t want to see either franchise die — I love them both! In the Triggerman sequel, I’ve built up Roy’s backstory a bit — how he got to be the fellow that he is. Now he’s a free agent to go have adventures elsewhere. The Tomboy sequel will see Frank Kitchen becoming to be an urban vigilante.

Any other projects in addition to Triggerman / The Assignment?
Matz and I are currently talking about a sci-fi project, which will probably be the next thing. He feels like the sci-fi story I’ve written really should be the next one. And then we get into the sequels!
The Assignment hits stores on March 14, 2017.

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