Who is ... The Spirit? Gabriel Macht is The Spirit. That's right, Frank Miller has gone with a relative unknown to star in The Spirit, his adaptation of Will Eisner's classic comic. Macht actually made his feature film debut 27 years ago (and then took an 18-year hiatus to grow up), and he's been appearing in supporting roles just under the bill since 2001, but he's hardly a household name. TV fans may remember him from NBC's short-lived The Others and moviegoers should recognize him -- if not by name then by face -- from The Good Shepherd, Because I Said So and The Recruit. By the time The Spirit rolls out in 2009, though, Macht may be more familiar. Next year he stars opposite Kate Beckinsdale in Dominic Sena's Whiteout. The actor didn't win the role of the masked crime-fighter by being unknown; he was apparently cast on spot following his audition. Lionsgate head Mike Paseornek is happy with Miller's choice, describing Macht as having a "devilishly charming quality," and he thinks the actor will be able to embody The Spirit throughout a possible franchise.
Miller is scheduled to begin shooting The Spirit in October -- Variety reports he's doing Sin City 2 first, but that doesn't sound right -- so hopefully we'll hear soon about confirmed casting for the film's villain, Octopus. Of course, the character could be played by someone even more unknown than Macht since his face shouldn't actually be seen, but last we heard, Samuel L. Jackson was in talks for the role. For those of you out of the loop, The Spirit is a suit-and-tie-wearing, vigilante hero who was once a detective named Denny Colt before he faked his death to fight crime in Central City. His main nemesis, Octopus, is bent on wiping out the city, killing anyone with the misfortune of seeing his deformed face. The film will reportedly skip over The Spirit's origin and dive right into his adventures. Also The Spirit will apparently be portrayed as "a bit of a slut", so we shouldn't expect any Hollywood-enforced love interest, just a lot of random women.