"Two heads are better than one! We have so much fun!" Robert Rodriguez said about reuniting with the legendary comic book auteur for a second "Sin City" film, nine years after the original burst into theaters. "We just enjoy the material so much. I mean, we both share something in common: Frank [Miller]'s a fan of his work, and I'm a fan of his work. [Laughs] We both love the 'Sin City' world, and we just want to do the best job possible."
While portions of the film are drawn from the published "Sin City" works -- "A Dame to Kill For" and "Another Saturday Night" -- the other storylines are appearing on screen for the first time, never having been committed to the comic book page, though Miller says he still created a large amount of artwork specifically to set the visual template of the film while also collaborating with the performers. "[There were] a lot of drawings and a lot of working with the actors, particularly with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, because his was the most free-form story that we worked on," says Miller. "His performance informed a lot of where the story was going, but particularly, what the character was saying."
Jessica Alba, who reprises her role from the first film as exotic dancer/college student Nancy Callahan on the trail for vengeance in the original tale "The Fat Loss," says she came to the project energized by the two directors' spirit of collaboration. "I felt like I was, for sure, more fearless," says Alba. "I have a shorthand now, with Frank and with Robert, where I can try things with them, and we can bounce ideas off of each other. There were no 'getting to know you' kind of weird things. We all knew each other for ten years, so it was just like, what do you want? How do we push it? Let's take this to the next level."
Returning as the warrior woman/Old Town prostitute Gail, Rosario Dawson admited it was a thrill for her to revisit "Sin City," especially with additional freedom to explore each scenario. "It was awesome, I have to say," Dawson exclaimed. "What I liked, actually, was the technology has changed so much, so it didn't take as long to set up the shot and all that kind of stuff. It was nice we would kind of get in there, and I think that was the reason why we had enough time to paint. Because we'd be like, 'We're in-between shots, so let's do some painting.' I'm like, 'This is awesome!'"
Josh Brolin had the unique challenge of taking on the role of Dwight McCarthy for "A Dame to Kill For," a part previously played by Clive Owen in the original, for a sequence set later in Dwight's life -- for reasons that remain spoiler-ish for the uninitiated. But Brolin decided not to try to attempt to ape Owen's portrayal. "When I did 'Men in Black 3,' you have to kind of find your niche with Tommy [Lee Jones] and all that kind of stuff," Brolin said, referring to the last time he filled a role made famous by another actor. "This wasn't like that, because it's a prequel. He does look differently, which you'll see why, and he doesn't always look differently. So it was that. That it was like, 'Okay -- this is the same guy, but he's a different guy. He's facially a different guy.'"
Brolin was particularly impressed by the distinctive filmmaking techniques employed on the movie. "I had done some green screen before, but this was entirely on green screen," the actor said. "I mean, there's actors that I worked with on 'Sin City' that weren't there that I see myself do scenes with. People say, 'Is it hard?' It's just another muscle. You're having to use your imagination much more acutely than you normally would, which is actually fun. Like, 'Can I pull this off or not?' And then you see the movie, you see the connections between the characters, and you're like, 'I guess that's the end of connected acting,' because you don't need somebody there - but you do. It's just the way [Robert] shot it and how he sets it up that makes it look as connected as anything else I've seen."
After nearly a decade of technological upgrades, Rodriguez said that compared to the original, shooting the sequel was "probably easier. We shot it in 3D, and the 3D cameras are fantastic. They're Jim Cameron's latest ones that had just come off the factory line and didn't give us any trouble at all. We were able to shoot as fast as we did the first time, which really keeps actors in the moment. And then the technology, the effects, everything is just better now."
But since "Sin City" originated simply with a lot of black ink on white paper, would Miller like to work in reverse now and craft comic book versions of the sequel film's original material? "No particular plans, but who knows?" Miller said, grinning, adding a mantra that applies to all of "Sin City's" gritty streets: "Anything could happen."