Interesting timing. Shortly after the record-breaking opening weekend for Deadpool, Todd McFarlane has appeared to tell us that he’s completed the shooting script for his rebooted Spawn movie. What do the two have in common? Well, when Spawn, based on the McFarlane comic book of the same name created in 1993, opened in theaters nearly 20 years ago, it was also a rare R-rated comic book movie. With Deadpool hitting box office gold at the multiplex, McFarlane clearly wants to strike while the proverbial iron is hot, so if you like dark, ultra-violent superhero movies, this news is definitely going to be for you.
While talking to ComicBook.com about the status of Spawn the Movie 2.0, McFarlane offered the following:
“I’ve finished the script, and I’m in the process of editing. It’s 183 pages, and [producers] usually like 120. I still think it’s going to end up being about 140, because I’m putting in details for myself. (It’s) a director’s script.” (I want to get it to) a spot where I can walk this into Hollywood and start hooking the actors.”
The 1997 Spawn movie, made with tremendous input from McFarlane, was directed by Mark A.Z. Dippe and starred Michael Jai White as Al Simmons, a government assassin killed and condemned to Hell and returned to Earth with incredible super-powers in exchange for taking command of the Devil’s army. Spawn, of course, rebels. The movie co-starred John Leguizamo as Spawn’s nemesis the Clown, and Martin Sheen as Al Simmons’ former boss Jason Wynne. It made $87 million at the box office, but is widely considered a flop.
So how will this Spawn movie be different? According to McFarlane it will be less a superhero movie, and more of a horror fantasy. The Dippe movie broke ground with digital effects, with over 400 visual effects shots in the finished film, but from the sounds of things, McFarlane is going for atmosphere over spectacle with this new Spawn film.
“I’d put it more into horror/suspense/supernatural genre. If you take the movie The Departed meets Paranormal Activity, something like that. In the background, there’s this thing moving around, this boogeyman. That boogeyman just happens to be something that you and I, intellectually, know is Spawn. Will he look like he did in the first movie? No. Will he have a supervillain he fights? No. He’s going to be the spectre, the ghost.”
So when might we see the Spawn movie? Who knows? McFarlane’s been trying to re-launch this as a new franchise since around 2007, wanting to follow the formula of Batman Begins, but while making Spawn a hard R superhero movie in the spirit of Marvel’s two Punisher efforts. In 2011, he said he was writing a script with an eye on a $10 million production, and then in 2013 he said he was almost finished the script and that an Academy Award-winning actor was interesting in playing the title character, many believed it was Jamie Foxx. At the time McFarlane hoped to begin production in 2014, but now he says he hopes to start production sometime later this year. I guess we’ll see…
We’ll keep you posted with any updates about Spawn as they become available.