When Greg Rucka wrote and Steve Lieber drew Whiteout, they didn't have to worry about weather conditions. The filmmakers who adapted it into a movie had to portray the Antarctic snow so that audiences believed it but actors did not lose their fingers to frostbite. Speaking for himself and his collaborator, Rucka was happy with the film adaptation.
"I'm still in awed shock that it made it this far, honestly," Rucka said in a press conference on Aug. 28 in Beverly Hills, Calif. "Steve Lieber and I created a comic to tell the story we wanted to tell, and then [producer] Joel [Silver] came along and said, 'We're going to make a movie.' We said, 'Okay, knock yourself out.' Then they did, and all you can really be is incredibly flattered that this idea that you created in one format, because that was the format that you were working in, is something that somebody wants to take the time and the effort to translate. I'm incredibly pleased. I think both Steve and I are really incredibly flattered. There's a lot of stuff that doesn't make that jump. The mere fact that they did it with this is really exciting."
One scene that did make the transition is U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale)'s shower scene. To Hollywood critics, it may seem like a gratuitous moment to show off Beckinsale's body, when the rest of the film would have her bundled up. Rucka jumped to the film's defense.
"There was actually a story reason," Rucka said. "It led to a flashback. There was an issue for the character of Carrie, between the cold and the heat. And you get to see her in the shower."
Even Beckinsale assumed it was just part of the job of a Hollywood star. She was just being a good sport. "Sometimes, you do what you're told in life," she joked during the press conference.
Producer Silver chose the graphic novel because he felt it was more original than many of the screenplays he reads. Agent Stetko must solve a murder at an Antarctic research station, when the harsh conditions and limited visibility obscure clues and hinder normal investigation procedures. Dominic Sena, who also directed Silver's Swordfish, directed the adaptation of Whiteout.
"This was based on a graphic novel, but it's not a remake of another movie," Silver said during the press conference. "It's based on a literary property, and it was crafted into something that was special. Except for the fact that it was storyboarded already, to me it was an original idea for a movie. It's Greg's original idea, at least. I think that it really came out fresh. It's something that you haven't seen before. You believe that you are watching these characters go through this. That's what makes it unique, and I do think it's original. Whatever comes up, people are excited about seeing. Whatever the studios get invested in and whatever stars want to do is how movies come together. Some, like The Matrix, come out of nowhere. Two guys sat down and wrote that from scratch. Some are based on other mediums and can be just as original, different and new. This summer, there was a movie based on a bunch of robot toys that did pretty well. It just depends on what people want to see and how it works."
The film's stars embraced the comic-book format, even if they did not know Whiteout itself. Kate Beckinsale learned a lot about comics from her husband, director Len Wiseman. "I married a fan, so now I know what a comic-book fan is," she said. "I can't say I was one. I used to get comics, but my husband still buys action figures. It's a whole different world. My daughter is into comic books, but a slightly different kind than my husband. She's more into Archie comics. They go to get comic books together, and I look really confused. I just can't compete with their level of obsession, but I respect it, I married it and I live with it."
Gabriel Macht, who co-stars as U.N. investigator Robert Pryce, had a bit more comic-book cred. He played the title character in The Spirit film. "I've always been a comic-book movie fan," Macht said. "I started reading comics based on some of the opportunities I've gotten in film, and I have a huge respect for illustrators and writers in the comic world. If they're amazing, it's a great entertainment. I have a strong appreciation for comics."
Whiteout opens Sept. 11.