At San Diego Comic-Con last summer, we found out that Todd McFarlane was going to direct a low-budget R-rated adaptation of his own comic book creation, Spawn, for Blumhouse Productions.
Now McFarlane has found a star for what will be his feature directorial debut. Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx has signed on to play Al Simmons, a Marine who is double-crossed and killed while working for the CIA, sending him to Hell. While there he makes a deal with an evil being to go back to Earth to see his wife, but ends up being sent back as something completely different, a hellspawn.
But while Foxx is a big name and an Oscar winner, McFarlane doesn’t plan on having the character say much. McFarlane talked about this and more to Deadline, also revealing that he doesn’t want to tell an origin story but does have plans for a trilogy:
“The scariest movies, from Jaws to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or The Grudge and The Ring, the boogeyman doesn’t talk. 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 and save the damsel. It’s none of that. At the end of the movie, I’m hoping that the audience will say either, is this a ghost that turns into a man, or is it a man that turns into a ghost? I’ve got a trilogy in mind here, and I’m not inclined in this first movie to do an origin story. I’m mentally exhausted from origin stories. Luckily, there’s a movie that just came out that helps my cause. In A Quiet Place, the first thing on screen is a card in black and white letters that says Day 89. It doesn’t care about what happened in those first 88 days. There are a couple headlines, but then we are on day 450. That movie doesn’t worry about explaining and giving all the answers. What it said in that case was, if you can hang on for a story of survival of this family, this movie will make complete sense for you.
If you want to see something creepy and powerful where you go, just what the hell was that? I’m not going to explain how Spawn does what he does; he is just going to do it. We’ll eventually do some of the background if we make a trilogy, but that’s not this first movie. The first movie is just saying, do you believe? And if you believe than that’s good because I’m hoping to take you for a long ride with this franchise.”
McFarlane also talked about how he had Foxx in mind for the role while writing the script:
“Jamie came to my office five years ago, and he had an idea about Spawn and we talked about it. 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.'”
And why is he casting such a big name in a role that won’t have much to say? McFarlane explained:
“There are five or six moments where I’m going to need things from my actors, and a couple of them have to come from Jamie, and I’ve seen him deliver them onscreen. He gets into a zone, with body language and a look that basically will say way more than anything i could type on a piece of paper, and this movie is going to need those moments. And in the odd moment where he 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.'”
Spawn has been adapted in the past, most notably in the 1997 movie of the same name starring Michael Jai White in the role Foxx will be playing here.
No release window for McFarlane’s cinematic take on his own creation has been announced yet.