Actress Sarah Paulson, who plays love-interest Ellen Dolan, in the film said, "The thing I liked about the part was just that, there’s not a single woman in this movie who was a damsel in distress."
"There wasn’t a single woman in this movie who wasn’t a strong woman," Paulson continued. "Frank changed my character a bit and made her a surgeon so that I’d have this kind of reason to be around Gabriel – The Spirit all the time, fixing him and healing him."
But if there's a foil for Paulson's affections for her leading man, it's Sand Serif, the curvaceous thief played by Eva Mendes in the film.
"It was a dream for me to get so wrapped up in this character... I mean how many times am I going to get to play a woman who’s been married 14 times and killed almost all of her husbands," Mendes said, "and to play a jewel thief?"
In the film Serif is obsessed with jewels and the finer things in life, but even that very typical film noir motivation is thought out.
"The fun part for me was definitely putting on the glamor, wearing the clothes, but because it was rooted," Mendes explains. "The core of this woman was ‘pain’...not having anything be stable in her life. A diamond is actually a ‘rock’. And a rock symbolizes ‘stability’ and it’s so solid.
"Once I found that foundation, then it made me realize where she was coming from. So I can go big and I can be as ridiculous as I wanted to be. And again, it was from one of my favorite periods – when women were dames, they were 'broads'. They weren’t afraid to speak their minds, and to throw out a curse word every now and then. So it was fun for me to say the least."
Scarlett Johansson plays Silken Floss in the film and is largely a nefarious Gal Friday to Samuel L. Jackson's The Octopus.
"She’s a medical scientific mind and I think that she’s using this as a great opportunity to kind of expand her – or to extend her schooling in a way. She’s working for somebody who has a huge – this plethora of wealth and equipment, and these grand ideas and so for her to be able to actually to put it onto paper all of his crazy ideas, I think it’s just a way for her to experiment," the actress said.
In the film and its trailer, you'll hear Silken Floss utter the line, "I make great eye-candy." Some might suggest that attitude thwarts the idea of a strong female character.
Johansson and Mendes disagree arguing that the allure of beauty is part of the strength.
"It’s not such a bad thing you know," Johansson asks rhetorically. "She knows that’s what she’s offering to The Octopus and it’s part of her appeal because she’s this giant brain, who looks fantastic in a short skirt!"
Mendes adds, "If I just felt like an accessory, first of all, I wouldn’t have done the film. The point is, that my character uses everything she has as a woman to get what she wants. So in the reveal when I actually show my backside – he’s asking for it! I’m in a towel - He says, 'hands behind your head.' 'Oh really?'
"So she’s a smartass who’s going to get what she wants! And she got out of the arrest by using her body in that situation. So if there were no brains behind the body, I would have major qualms with it. This girl kicks ass in so many different ways."
The ass that gets the most kicking in the movie is, of course, The Spirit himself. With his return from the grave and a bevy of beauties in constant orbit around him, a bad guy who wants nothing more than to beat on him and the big question, "Why am I still alive?" hanging over his head, the kid has a lot to sort out.
"He’s a young cop who’s killed in the line of duty and got brought back to life. He wanders the streets to figure out who he is and guesses he could do a few things that other cops can’t do," Gabriel Macht, the film's leading man told reporters.
"He knows he’s a young cop and he knows he’s someone who likes to fight crime and I think the real essence of who he is, is this man who has innate goodness and wants to return that goodness to the city. So when he hears the city screaming, he wants to squash the evil that exists and bring humanity back. So I think, deep down he DOES know who he is... even though he’s haunted by what he may be!"
Jackson worried that his co-start might be getting too immersed in the character.
"When you see the making-of DVD of this particular movie there’s a segment when they’re interviewing Gabriel in his trailer. His walls are papered with The Spirit. I mean, everywhere... not just photos of himself," Jackson teased. "The comics, Frank’s drawings... drawings he made of himself! Even an infant child making drawings of The Spirit! EVERYWHERE! His trailer was covered with Spirit paraphernalia! So he was dealing with his identity crisis... all the time!"
Check back tomorrow where we'll talk about the inspiration provided by Will Eisner and comics and the strange way that the cast members came together, even before there was a movie happening.
Look for 'The Spirit' in theaters on Christmas Day.