Todd Mcfarlane, co-founder of Image Comics and creator of the comic book character Spawn, announced today through various social media outlets that Jamie Foxx has signed on to portray the titular role in the upcoming ‘SPAWN’ feature film reboot. Jamie had reportedly been in talks to play the infamous antihero for a number of years now, with Mcfarlane commenting, “I’ve never had anyone else in my head” when referring to penning the script.
The movie has been picked up by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions; most notable for bringing to the silver screen horror films such as ‘Sinister’, ‘Get Out’, and the ‘Insidious’ franchise. They’ve also dabbled in the realm of ‘superpowers with a twist’ in the form of the recent M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Split’. Given what Todd has said about the reboot, it would seem like the perfect fit for the tone of the film. Mcfarlane has compared the movie to the likes of Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’ and Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, visualizing the character as ‘the boogeyman.’
“It confuses people because of the comic book industry, and because they all default into their Captain America mindset and I keep saying, ‘NO, get into John Carpenter’s mindset or Hitchcock. This is not a man in a rubber suit. It’s not a hero that’s going to come save the damsel. It’s none of that.” – Todd Mcfarlane
With the ‘monster in the shadows’ approach to Spawn, it’s no surprise that the character would be a man of few words, further instilling Jamie Foxx as the man for the part. The Oscar-winning actor has displayed a mastery of numerous characters well known for their body language in movies such as ‘Jarhead’, ‘Django Unchained’, and ‘The Soloist’. McFarlane adds that “in the odd moment where [Jamie] has to deliver a line that’s short, curt and has impact, he can do it in a way that makes you go, ‘Whoa, I don’t want to mess with that guy. What a badass.’”
While the recent casting decision has many people excited, the slasher-esque tone of the film has some fans of the hell-spawned assassin nervous. Concern has been raised about how much screen time the character will receive. In most of the movies mentioned as Todd’s inspiration while writing the film, the monster isn’t seen until the end of the movie. A similar anxiety has been raised by rumors surrounding the upcoming Tom Hardy ‘Venom’ flick. These worries have been further exacerbated by the Spawn reboot’s modest projected budget of 10 to 12 million. If the comics are the inspiration for the film, as assuredly they are, then one would expect a larger budget to meet the demand of the character’s otherworldly visuals.
Spawn was the character that broke the mold in the 90’s. In that time, DC and Marvel had pretty much destroyed their competition from other smaller indie titles. After his departure from Marvel Comics and with the acquired fame from his work on ‘The Amazing Spiderman’, Todd McFarlane introduced Al Simmons as Spawn, an African-American anti-hero for a mature audience, one of the premiere titles for Image Comics. The character quickly became a cult phenomenon and one of the most popular non-mainstream comics of its time, inspiring lines of toys, an R-rated animated series on HBO, and a major motion picture in 1997.
The 90’s film adaptation was a flop, plagued by poor CGI, clunky exposition, and held back by a PG-13 rating. While it was an inevitable failure, Hollywood has changed its outlook on the superhero genre altogether. Today’s graphics are nearing perfection; the proposition of an R-rated superhero film isn’t unheard of, (Thanks, Deadpool.); and this time around, Todd Mcfarlane, the man who made you fall in love with character to begin with, will be writing and directing. With the latest addition of Jamie Foxx, it might just be a recipe for greatness.
Will this new Spawn movie break the mold like the comics did back in the 90’s? Comment below and tell us what you think!