Todd McFarlane is still planning to bring Spawn back to the big screen, but don't expect just another superhero movie out of him.
McFarlane's been talking about a new big-screen adventure for his supernatural hero for at least four years now, but one thing or another seems to have kept him from ever really getting it done, despite whispers of interest from leading men like Jamie Foxx. McFarlane was recently at a Television Critics Association event to help promote the new PBS documentary Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, and Assignment X managed to catch up with him and get a little insight into what he's planning when he finally does get a new Spawn movie made.
"I’m hoping to have the script done hopefully in the next couple of months. I’ve talked to a couple of producers – can we get shooting by the end of the year if I can get that script in good order? But it’s a complete reboot," McFarlane said. "It’s a ten-million-dollar, R-rated supernatural movie that takes all the superhero stuff out of it. So for people who want to go see an Iron Man redo, that’s not it. For people who like The Conjuring, then it’s going to be right up that alley."
The Conjuring, the paranormal hit from director James Wan, hit theaters this summer with a $20 million budget, but lots of buzz from horror enthusiasts and a strong critical reception drove it to earn more than $300 million worldwide. In contrast, McFarlane's first Spawn film (which he was not in total control of) was made with a $40 million budget and earned only $87 million (in 1997 money).
With the right elements from the Spawn mythos included, the low-budget route could certainly prove successful for McFarlane and company, but he stressed that, though he compared it to The Conjuring, he's not just going for scares.
“Not ‘horror,’ because that’s a weird word, right?” he said. “Supernatural thriller. I grew up on things like Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen, things like that. Those movies only had one fantastic element in [them], and it was the supernatural or the ghost, and everything else in the world was normal. With superheroes, you have to have the hero, the super-villain, the fantastic headquarters, sometimes even the sidekick and you get more and more fantastic. This is just going to be The Departed and L.A. Confidential with a ghost moving around in it.”
As for the word going around that Foxx is involved, McFarlane confirmed they've talked, and also revealed how he sold the star on Spawn's potential as a franchise.
“You know, Jamie was out at my office,” he said. “I thought we were going to keep it on the Q.T. I’ve talked to some pretty high-profile actors. I think he’s just putting the pressure on me to get the script done. So I sold him on my pitch. I go, ‘Here, I’ve got an idea that could keep you in the Spawn movies for twenty years, but it can’t be about physicality. It has to be more about a little bit of acting and then this specter, this sentinel, that moves around in an otherwise hard drama movie.’”
So, if McFarlane has his way, he'll put Jamie Foxx's in Spawn's suit, make a low-budget thriller that relaunches the franchise, and then keep Foxx working steadily in the realm of supernatural thrillers for two decades. What do you think? Does it sound like a viable plan?