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Todd McFarlane promises that Spawn reboot film will be 'dark' and 'ugly' with very little joy

By Josh Weiss
Todd McFarlane Spawn

Todd McFarlane is taking his Spawn reboot movie very seriously, wanting to take the character in a direction currently unknown to cinematic comic book projects. During a one-on-one interview with Nerdist, the legendary artist/writer/creator promised the film will be bleaker than any superhero film anyone's ever seen.

“There’s no joy,” McFarlane said. “There’s gonna be no fun lines in it, and it’s just gonna be this dark, ugly two hours worth of movie, which is essentially what a lot of supernatural/horror movies are anyway. There’s not a lot of funny in them. And that seems to be a weird hurdle for a lot of people in this city to sort of get over because they sort of go into a superhero/Avengers default all the time.”

While Blumhouse hasn't announced a release date for Spawn, McFarlane is handling writing and directing duties, hoping to avoid the trainwreck of the first live-action movie from 1997, which was written by Alan B. McElroy and directed by Mark A.Z. Dippé. The upcoming feature will most likely be more in line with the tone of the beloved animated adaptation on HBO that starred Keith David in the titular role.

It's also got an A-list cast thus far with Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) playing Al Simmons/Spawn and Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Endgame) playing Twitch Williams. Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) and his visual effects/makeup company, KNB EFX, are in charge of all the practical blood and gore that will surely land the film a hard R-rating. In fact, McFarlane wants the visuals to feel "almost disturbing" for the viewer.

"I believe with every fiber of my being that not only will it work, I think there's a hunger for it," he added. "I want to do a movie in which there are moments where it just scares you. And you go, 'Wow. What the heck is going on here?'"

According to McFarlane, the Spawn reboot is still securing a budget, but has received an undisclosed number of pre-production design work. However, his point about using a superhero as a doorway into the unsettling genre of horror is an interesting one that seems to be slowly creeping into comic book adaptations. For example, Josh Boone's The New Mutants (out August 2) is an X-Men project that looks more like a psychological/supernatural thriller.

Could this be the next stage in the evolution of superhero movies? Let us know in the comments below!