I’ve been thinking of ways to portray the Skullduggery Pleasant adaption in a new light. Alan suggested Film Noir, as Skullduggery in its simplest form is a skeleton detective series.
Film noir is . . .
1. A French term meaning "black film," or film of the night, inspired by the Series Noir, a line of cheap paperbacks that translated hard-boiled American crime authors and found a popular audience in France.
2. A movie which at no time misleads you into thinking there is going to be a happy ending.
3. Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places, of apartment buildings with a high turnover rate, of taxi drivers and bartenders who have seen it all.
4. Cigarettes. Everybody in film noir is always smoking, as if to say, "On top of everything else, I've been assigned to get through three packs today." The best smoking movie of all time is "Out of the Past," in which Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas smoke furiously at each other. At one point, Mitchum enters a room, Douglas extends a pack and says, "Cigarette?" and Mitchum, holding up his hand, says, "Smoking."
5. Women who would just as soon kill you as love you, and vice versa.
6. For women: low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, dressing rooms, boudoirs, calling the doorman by his first name, high heels, red dresses, elbow length gloves, mixing drinks, having gangsters as boyfriends, having soft spots for alcoholic private eyes, wanting a lot of someone else's women, sprawling dead on the floor with every limb meticulously arranged and every hair in place.
7. For men: fedoras, suits and ties, shabby residential hotels with a neon sign blinking through the window, buying yourself a drink out of the office bottle, cars with running boards, all-night diners, protecting kids who shouldn't be playing with the big guys, being on first-name terms with homicide cops, knowing a lot of people whose descriptions end in "ies," such as bookies, newsies, junkies, alkys, jockeys and cabbies.
8. Movies either shot in black and white, or feeling like they were.
9. Relationships in which love is only the final flop card in the poker game of death.
10. The most American film genre, because no society could have created a world so filled with doom, fate, fear and betrayal, unless it were essentially naive and optimistic.
After looking into this, I felt it was too stereotypical and wanted the models to ‘pop’ with some colour. I’ve been re-reading parts of the 1st book from the series and have found some quotes…
It was at Gordon's funeral, however, that Stephanie Edgley first caught sight of the gentleman in the tan overcoat. He was standing under the shade of a large tree, away from the crowd, the coat buttoned up all the way despite the warmth of the afternoon. A scarf was wrapped around the lower half of his face and even from her position on the far side of the grave, Stephanie could make out the wild and frizzy hair that escaped from the wide brimmed hat he wore low over his gigantic sunglasses. (page 12)
“Do you know who I am?”
“Haven't the foggiest,” Skulduggery said.
The man spat blood and grinned defiantly. “Well I know about you, detective, and you're going to have to do a lot more than that to stop me.”
Skulduggery shrugged and Stephanie watched in amazement as a ball of fire flared up in his hand and he hurled it and the man was suddenly covered in flame. (page 47)
Skulduggery snapped his gloved fingers and sparks flew, and he curled his hand and the sparks grew to flame, and he held that ball of flame in his palm as they walked.
… thrust his hand out, sending the ball of fire shooting through the air. It burned out as it arced in the night sky and faded into nothing (page 68)
Skullduggery is not only a walking, talking sassy detective, he is also an ‘adept’ meaning he controls magic. I was thinking about modelling Skullduggery, posing him in a classic look from the film noir era, then have him move, click his fingers and produce fire in his hands.
To do this, I found that there is a modern day version of film noir known as Neo-Noir. This literally translates to ‘the new black’. Neo-noir films use “elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in film noir of the 1940s and 1950s.” (wikipedia)
As the term is so loose, it can apply to many films. During my research, I stumbled across a great film which not only portrays neo-noir in a way that I think would work well for my idea but is a great visual concept: Frank Miller’s Sin City.
Combing Neo-Noir with my idea that now means that Skullduggery would be posed in black and white before moving, clicking his fingers and the orange flame illuminating any other colour within the lights fall-off zone.