Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have been talking about a sequel to Sin City for nine years, and it’s finally here. More guns, more dames, and undoubtedly more creepy bastards will be showing up in a movie that boasts a cast even more bloated than the first film. There really hadn’t been any movie that looked quite like Sin City prior to 2005. There were already lots of comic book movies of course, but not one that looked as much like a comic onscreen as Frank Miller’s darkly violent film version of the graphic novel.
To help prepare you for the glory of Eva Green, Rosario Dawson, and all the other dames who will likely be trying to kill Joseph Gordon-Levitt, here’s some sinful trivia about the citizens of Sin City.
1. Robert Rodriguez won over Frank Miller by filming “The Customer is Always Right.” Miller was pretty adamant about not releasing the film rights to his comics after being unhappy with the edits to his script on RoboCop 2. Robert Rodriguez was determined to show Miller that he was the right guy to bring the Sin City comics to film and shot Josh Hartnett and Marley Shelton acting out “The Customer is Always Right” to prove his point in 2004. Upon giving him the footage, Rodriguez told Miller “If you like this, this will be the opening to the movie. If not, you’ll have your own short film to show your friends.” The short was then shown to each actor joining the cast so they would know what they were getting into.
2. The Kill Bill swords crossed over to Sin City. Several of the swords used by the Crazy 88s in Kill Bill Vol. 1 were lent to Robert Rodriguez for Miho to use. They may not have been Hatori Hanzos, but they had still seen plenty of battle action.
3. Brittany Murphy filmed all of her scenes in a single day. Brittany Murphy’s character Shellie makes an appearance in all three storylines, but her scenes were small enough that she was able to film all of her parts in just one day.
4. Robert Rodriguez traded a Kill Bill score for a Tarantino directing cameo. Rodriguez is a pretty decent guitar player and wrote a score for buddy Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Vill Vol. 2 for the price of $1. Tarantino agreed to repay the favor by directing the scene with Dwight and Jackie Boy being pulled over by a police car.
5. Sin City is a Chango drinking town. Any Robert Rodriguez movie that features characters swilling on bottles of beer is going to feature his fictional brand of beer Chango. The beer that tastes like piss — because they piss in it — dates back to 1995’s Desperado.
6. Jessica Alba wasn’t fully aware that her character was a stripper. Alba wasn’t fully aware of just how provocative her character Nancy Callahan was in the comics and said no to several scenes in the script that called for nudity. Miller and Rodriguez didn’t think the nudity was important and the scenes were altered.
7. There is no credited screenwriter. Rodriguez sees the film as more of a translation of the comics than a movie adaptation. That’s why there isn’t a credited screenwriter in the movie’s credits, simply a mention of Frank Miller writing the graphic novels.
8. Robert Rodriguez knew Elijah Wood was a creepy dude way back in 1998. Rodriguez knew that Elijah Wood would make a good creepy psychopath before he even started work on Sin City.
“I worked with him in The Faculty and he has these really piercing blue eyes that women love but that I always found quite creepy. I told him back then, ‘One day I will cast you as a psychopath,’ never thinking that it would actually come about. He was one of the first people to see my early tests for Sin City and said, ‘Oh, I would kill to be in that movie!'”
9. The Weinstein Company was the only production company that would touch the film. Rodriguez is a bit of a stickler when it comes to making movies. If at all possible he likes to do as much as a he can from his home in Texas. He insisted on doing all of the film’s visual effects and scoring from his home studio and Bob and Harvey Weinstein were the only ones that would allow him to do so on such a nontraditional and strange movie.
10. Rodriguez originally wanted Johnny Depp to play Jackie Boy. Initially, Rodriguez had envisioned Johnny Depp playing the part of Jackie Boy, but Depp had prior Tim Burton-related commitments at the time and was unable to do the project. Rodriguez had to go looking elsewhere and saw Benecio Del Toro at an awards show with long hair which he described as “wolf man hair” and approached him about doing the part. Rodriguez hadn’t planned on using any makeup on the actor, the heavy makeup was actually Del Toro’s idea, as he wanted to look almost unrecognizable in the movie.
11. Some of the actors never even met while filming. Sin City was shot entirely with green screens with many of the actors filming their scene and then digitally being placed in a scene with another actor. In some cases an actor hadn’t even been cast before the scene was shot. For example, when Marv (Mickey Rourke) takes Wendy (Jamie King) to Nancy’s (Jessica Alba) home, Alba hadn’t even been cast yet when Rourke and King shot the scene. Even stranger, Mickey Rourke and Elijah Wood didn’t even meet each other until the film’s premiere, despite having a fight scene in the movie.
12. Mickey Rourke listened to Johnny Cash on set to help get into character. Rodriguez told the BBC that Rourke had a fondness for listening to the Man in Black while on set to help him get into Marv’s head.
“Mickey [Rourke] had this one piece of music he would play on the set to get him into the character of Marv. We couldn’t use it in the movie because it was too expensive. It was a Johnny Cash song – it was actually a remake of a Nine Inch Nails song called Hurt. You play that song and if you listen to that song that’s how he did Marv for all the voiceover. It would just help him to get into that place – that Marv place. We got some remarkable work from him just from playing that song.”