Bringing Fragility to Lorraine Broughton: A Conversation with Sam Hart
Oscar® winner Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 agent during the Cold War in ATOMIC BLONDE. She is sent on a covert mission into Cold War Berlin where she must use all of the spy craft, sensuality and savagery she has to stay alive in the ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. Broughton must navigate her way through a deadly game of spies to recover a priceless dossier while fighting ferocious killers along the way in this breakneck action-thriller from director David Leitch.
In our interview, Sam Hart tells us about seeing The Coldest City as a film, his process when creating the graphic novel and what Charlize Theron brought to the role…
What where your first thoughts when you heard that your creation The Coldest City was going to be made into a film called Atomic Blonde?
I was blown away, I was very happy and I couldn’t believe it when I head in the same piece of news that it was going to be Charlize (Theron) acting and producing, and over the next few days actually the news just got better and better when they announced that James McAvoy and John Goodman where coming aboard.
Awesome. Can you talk about your style of working and the working relationship you had with Antony on The Coldest City?
Right well, most of the time when I’m drawing a comic for another writer or even for myself when I’m writing it, I’ll read the script quite intensively and I’ll start doing research for visuals, then I’ll do sketches, page sketches which I’ll send to the writer and if everything is okay with those layouts I’ll start drawing and that’s pretty much how it went with The Coldest City, it was all done via e-mail so we didn’t manage to meet up and chat live but we had already met before, we already knew each other and we knew our work, I think we managed to work quite well.
I was just going to say it took about a year to draw the graphic novel.
Wow. What was the most challenging part of putting the graphic novel together?
Well it wasn’t actually doing the graphic novel in itself that was demanding at the time. I had a personal family crisis, it was very demanding over the years that I was drawing the graphic novel and it’s actually quite amazing and it gave me a really good feeling that I managed to create the graphic novel over that difficult time period and that it’s become a brilliant movie.
As an illustrator there must be a level of trepidation when you hear your work is going to be translated to the big screen, can you talk about your involvement during the filmmaking process?
Yeah I’m very happy to have my work remade with the different artists approach, you know what I mean the actors, the director and the graphic artists who worked on the movie designing the sets and the clothes. I would have loved to have done the storyboards but then again I might have been too attached to the original graphic novel, so no I’m very happy for other people to work based on what I’ve done.
Having a talent like Charlize Theron bring the role to life, must have been a pinch yourself moment…
She brought a fragility to the character that I was very happy with and that I hadn’t seen in the graphic novel, the moments when she’s opening up to Sophia Boutella’s character and also when she’s nervous and smoking, I thought it was very subtle but very nice, you know, the way that she put in real depth to the characters well being I though that was very well done.
What was your reaction when you saw Atomic Blonde for the first time?
I loved it (laughs) I’m absolutely in awe of the action sequences and how everything was stitched together so well and I’ve seen it 5 times and I’m still picking up on little details.
Is there one scene that you felt particularly captured the essence of the graphic novel for you, from a visual point of view?
The interrogation sequences I thought where very faithful to the graphic novel, I was very happy with that.
Are there any other adaptations from beloved graphic novels that you find particularly good?
Well I really like 300 and I’m also a fan of Watchmen although a lot of people aren’t, because I love that adaptation I thought it was really well done and the first Sin City, yeah.
If you could give any other graphic novel the Atomic Blonde treatment like The Coldest City, what would you choose and why?
Ah interesting. I think one that’s overdue to become a cartoon is Bone a brilliant story, lovely artwork, it seems perfect to be done as a cartoon, Bone by Jeff Smith.
What is on the horizon for you, anything you’d like to tell us about?
Well I’m doing a few small pet projects here in Brazil with some friends and I’m writing a graphic novel of my own so that’ll take up the better part of next year.
Atomic Blonde is available on Digital Download on 2nd December, Blu-ray™ and DVD from 11th December, courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK).