"I’m a huge film fan." Claudio Chiaverotti, comic book writer for the strips published by Bonelli, wants to set this straight from the start. After giving us Brendon, the lone rider whose adventures have delighted readers of the bimonthly comic book for 18 years now, in October Chiaverotti introduced his fans to a new character, Morgan Lost, erstwhile owner of an arthouse theater burdened by a traumatic past. "He has insomnia, he’s color-blind - the world is red, white and black to him - and he lives in his own world of traumas and personal obsessions," explains Chiaverotti about his new comic book creation.
His stories are full of fairly explicit references to film, starting with his nods to Sin City. "In Miller’s comics," Chiaverotti opines, "red is there for scathing satire, while in Morgan Lost it describes the protagonist’s milieu. As a hero, Morgan is bursting with contradictions. The mask he wears appears to lend him a heroic aura, when he’s actually an absolutely normal character, with no super powers at all. The peace symbol on his belt, though, stands in stark contrast with his mission to hunt serial killers, which makes him anything but a pacifist. My inspiration for that detail came from Full Metal Jacket: the marine, Jocker, wears a helmet that says ‘Born to Kill’, and a peace symbol on his uniform."
As far as writing the storylines for his comics is concerned, Chiaverotti comes clean on the things he’s cut out for. "I always wanted to tell stories, which is why, when I was just starting out, I wanted to get into the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia [the national film school]. Then I realized I could do the same thing with a comic strip. In fact, I’ve always considered every one of the two hundred stories I’ve written to be tantamount to the storyboard of a film I would have liked to see, and write myself. What I like about this creative process is that the character and the story grow along with me, and can always surprise me and lead me in directions I haven’t foreseen at the outset. Compared with a story all mapped out from the start, this way of writing involves more effort, but in the end I find it much more enjoyable!"
Much less enjoyable, admits Ruiz Caldera with a laugh - the Spanish director made Anacleto, Agente Secreto, which screened in competition at Noir on Thursday the 10th - was being on the set itself. "When I’m making a movie I get very serious, focused on what I’m doing; I usually have more fun at the editing stage. In the case of this film, for which I looked to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, at least in part - there’s the sense of adventure and a comparable father-son relationship - the most exciting thing was the whole action component, which is not a staple of Spanish films."
Turning to the main character of the film, Anacleto, Caldera enlightens us as to the origins of this unusual hero: "The source of inspiration here was the legendary comic strip of the same name from the 1970s, which I adored as a child. In fact, the enormous popularity of the character meant I felt a huge responsibility in bringing him to the screen. Fortunately, we chose a comic actor who just killed it the role - Woody Allen was sure right when he said that 50% of his job was casting! Then we looked long and hard at the character of a secret agent during an economic crisis, to reflect the state of affairs in today’s society and stay true to the original comic strip, which had a strong element of social critique from the start."