Everyone’s favorite Hellspawn is headed back to the big screen, and now the new, live-action Spawn movie based on the popular comic book character has its leading man, too.
Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) will play Al Simmons, the former black ops agent who makes a deal with the devil after he’s betrayed by a fellow agent, but is brought back to the living world as a terrifying, powerful creature instead of the man he once was. Spawn creator Todd McFarlane penned the script for the film and will make it his directorial debut, with celebrated small-budget horror studio Blumhouse Productions producing the film.
McFarlane spoke to Deadline about the circumstances that brought Foxx to the project.
“Jamie came to my office five years ago, and he had an idea about Spawn and we talked about it,” said McFarlane. “I never forgot him, and when I was writing this script, you sort of plug people in, and he was my visual guy and I never let go of him. When I got done, and my agents and everybody was talking about what actor, I said, ‘I’m going to Jamie first and until he says no, I don’t want to think about anyone else because I’ve never had anyone else in my head.’ Luckily, he hadn’t forgotten either. I said, ‘Hey, I’m back to talk about Spawn again, and he was like, let’s do it.'”
In October 2017, McFarlane shared some more information about the project during a panel at New York Comic-Con. As reported by Deadline, the film will be “dark and R-rated.”
Positioning the film as more like a horror film than your standard superhero fare, McFarlane explained how the scariest thrillers feature a supernatural element set in an otherwise normal environment.
“The scariest movies, from Jaws to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or The Grudge and The Ring, the boogeyman doesn’t talk,” he explained. “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 [Alfred] Hitchcock. This is not a man in a rubber suit, it’s not a hero that’s going to come and save the damsel. It’s none of that.'”
Earlier in 2017, McFarlane announced at San Diego Comic-Con that he would write and direct the film himself. He seemed unfazed by the challenge.
“I didn’t use to draw comic books and I drew comic books and I won awards. I don’t know how to read music and I have a Grammy Award,” he said, responding to a question from an audience member.
The Spawn comic book series debuted in 1992 and chronicled Al Simmons’ adventures as he struggled to reconcile his personal convictions with his violent past and his newfound powers, which come at a price and place him in the middle of a war between heaven and hell. Given the powerful abilities of one of hell’s greatest soldiers, Spawn attempts to wrest control of his own destiny while dealing with the betrayal he suffered both in his human past and in the deal he made to return to Earth.
The Spawn comic was adapted into a live-action, 1997 feature film starring Michael Jai White as Al Simmons, and was also turned into an acclaimed, HBO animated series for adult audiences that ran from 1997 until 1999, and earned two Primetime Emmy Awards.
There’s no release date for Spawn at this point.
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