It's been a big couple of weeks for the character of Bloodshot, who, if all goes well, will be the first Valiant Comics character to hit the big screen.
In a landmark deal with Sony Pictures, Valiant Entertainment signed on for five films with the production house: two Bloodshot films, two Harbinger films, and a crossover between the franchises called Harbinger Wars. It's an ambitious entry into the film space for the company, whose superhero universe was relaunched in 2012 after a memorable run in the 1990s. They're also currently in various stages of development on films featuring X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, and the Eternal Warrior. Valiant also has the digital web series Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe, featuring Jason David Frank as Bloodshot on the way, and is relaunching the character's solo comic book series with an ambitious year-long storyline called Bloodshot Salvation starting this September.
Last week, Jared Leto was reportedly offered the lead and title role in Bloodshot. The actor, who has been no stranger to genre films with the role of Joker in Suicide Squad and his upcoming role in Blade Runner: 2049, was a bit of a surprise choice, as he hadn't been on any reported shortlists. SYFY WIRE spoke exclusively with Valiant Entertainment CEO and Chief Creative Officer about the Leto report and what they want from the film. While they couldn't directly confirm or deny any reports, it sure sounds like Leto fits the bill for the Bloodshot they want on screen.
"We can say this. You’ll see a number of names get leaked, and I won’t specifically say whether any of them are real, but I will say this," Shamdasani said when we brought up the report, "Jared Leto is a fantastic actor, and that’s the most important thing to us. He’s a chameleon, and that’s very important to us. Bloodshot is an emotional story, and we need a great actor, not just someone who looks the part. A great actor will become the part."
When the report first hit, fans were surprised by Leto -- not an actor they may have thought of for a ruthless supersoldier whose blood has been replaced by nanoscopic robots, and Shamdasani wouldn't have it any other way.
"We’re looking for someone that, I guarantee you anyone we cast, the internet will hate, in the same way that they hated Michael Keaton [when he was cast as Batman], in the same way they hated Heath Ledger [when he was cast as the Joker]. They will say, 'Sure, great actor,' and they will say, 'I just can’t see him,' and they will say, 'He’s not as big [physically as the character],' and they will say, 'But I don't know who else to cast,' and that’s how we’ll know we got it right. Because what will happen is, that actor, whoever we cast, will transform into Bloodshot. And when you see him in the first image, the first trailer of the movie, you’ll see he’s transformed into Bloodshot.
"You’ll see he had to become that character in the same way that you couldn’t see Ledger as the Joker until he became the Joker, and now you can’t see anyone else do it that same way. That’s what we’re going for. We don’t mind when the rumors come out and people go 'What are they doing?' We want them to say that."
In THR's initial report, they also mis-reported what version of Bloodshot the film would be using, saying it would be featuring the '90s version of the character. Shamdasani cleared that up, confirming that it's the modern take, Ray Garrison, and giving a small hint as to the story of the movie.
"Yes, yes, this is our same Bloodshot you see in our comics, it’s Ray Garrison. When these rumors get out there, there’s so much misinformation; the synopsis is wrong, the character’s wrong, the credits are wrong, a whole bunch of stuff." Shamdasani cleared up that he'd like to see the character be recognizable but do something new on screen.
"Our hope is that we’ll build something unique and something special, but the character is maintained, and the tone is maintained. So if you read the comic first, then you go to the movie, okay, it’s not the same story, because we want to give you a surprise and it’s a different medium, but it’s the character you love and the tone that you love. And same way, if you see the movie first, then read the comics, you’ll have this whole new mythology to read about, but it’s that character you fell in love with and the tone you fell in love with on the big screen. That’s our goal."
Shamdasani earlier told SYFY WIRE that he thinks this movie will be "very much a sci-fi, action-adventure story with a real intellectual element. It's in the vein of Total Recall, of the original RoboCop, in the vein of Memento, the first Terminator, those really smart sci-fi action films," and that's why it's the first film they're looking to put out in their Valiant Cinematic Universe. "That's what we're doing with Bloodshot, and that's why we're so excited about pushing it forward and making it the first one, to get to tell people who we are in a special way."
Bloodshot is in pre-production now, with screenwriter Eric Heisserer (Arrival) and director Dave Wilson (of Blur Studio) attached. No release date has been announced yet for the film.