Everything you need to know about ''V for Vendetta.'' A behind-the-scenes look at the first big movie of 2006

By Joshua Rich
Updated March 16, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST
V for Vendetta: David Appleby

After months of buzz, it’s finally here. V-Day. To all the geeks out there: Exhale. Your long wait for Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s 1989 graphic novel to hit the big screen is over. To the Wachowski brothers, producer Joel Silver, Warner Bros., and all others involved: Hold your breath. Your allegorical polemic, which in this politically tense time skewers current world leaders while featuring a terrorist for a hero, could ignite a firestorm.

And to everybody else, please enjoy EW’s Official Guide to Understanding the First Big Movie of 2006, by the numbers — er, letters.

Y for Yes,
Natalie Portman got her head shaved. And you’re so not the only one who noticed. The petite star usually blends into a crowd, but her new ‘do changed things. ”I got recognized more because people looked at me more,” she says. Despite the G.I. Jane getup, the Harvard grad does surprisingly little butt-kicking in the film. ”People are like, ‘Did you train for this?”’ chuckles Portman, who, as the innocent Evey, appears in about half a fight sequence. ”I’m like, ‘Did you see the movie?!”’ The filmmakers picked Portman to get shorn after taking to her performance in Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer’s five-minute short True, part of a collection called Paris, Je T’aime. ”I mean, she’s gorgeous, she’s smart — and she’s Jewish!” Silver kvells. ”What more do you want?”

P for Pop culture galore
The Rolling Stones, 1984, Tchaikovsky…mmm, we likey. From the curio-filled Shadow Gallery, the underground lair of vigilante hero V (Hugo Weaving), to the smooth soundtrack, the film provides an intravenous jolt for entertainment junkies. Some stuff — the 1812 Overture, Beethoven’s Fifth, allusions to Mick and Keith — comes straight from the graphic novel. See if you can spot the Picasso and Monet replicas, Mary Ellen Mark photographs, and posters for movies from the Warner Bros. vault like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and McCabe & Mrs. Miller in the Shadow Gallery. Director James McTeigue claims to be unaware, however, of the 1980s alien-invasion TV phenomenon V, which bears a strong resemblance to the movie’s title, themes, and red-and-black color scheme.