Deadpool has turned out to be the sleeper hit of 2016, with a box office of over $356 million of the United States alone. This may have come as a surprise to the suits and big wigs at the movie studios, but comic book fans have known what they haven’t for a very long time — that some amazing and marketable properties exist in the lesser known facets of the comic book world. One of those very overlooked and underrated comic properties is Eric Powell’s The Goon series.
Tim Miller, the director of Deadpool, launched a Kickstarter back in 2012 to produce an animated feature based on The Goon – a project that has not yet seen the light of day, despite the involvement of David Fincher in the past. Now, with his newfound success and clout with Deadpool, it looks like Miller is trying to get The Goon movie right back on track again.
If you’re a fan of indie comics you’ve most likely read The Goon. The epic 50 issue series by creator, writer and illustrator Eric Powell has been released off and on since 1999. It began as a release on indie label Avatar before moving to Dark Horse Comics in 2003. The fantasy/horror comedy series centers around The Goon and his pal Franky as they battle and deal with The Priest and other baddies – including zombies, hobos and a giant squid.
According to Miller, in a recent interview with Collider, the gears are still moving behind the scenes to bring his animated Goon film to life – and now that Miller has more pull in Hollywood, the project may have renewed hope. On the frustrations of the 7,576 fans that donated to the Kickstarter for the project over 4 years ago, Miller said:
“I know it annoys the Kickstarter fans so much and I’m sorry because everybody gives us their hard-earned money and they’re so generous about it and they go, ‘What the fuck is going on? Why is nothing happening?’ We took that Kickstarter money and spent it all on a full 85-minute animatic of the film. We showed it to [David] Fincher, we’ve been working on it diligently, we got a bunch of notes, and we’ve been working on the notes. It’s just it took all of the Kickstarter money to do the 85-minutes of that and fulfill all the other stuff, so we go back to this additional work, [which] goes into the cracks between actual paying projects.”
The $441,900 that backers gave Miller and co-director Jeff Fowler apparently went in to making an 85 minute animatic to showcase the animated Goon film to potential studios, who weren’t too hot on signing the film based on the original pitch that the duo set forth. An animatic, for those not savvy in the cartoon world, is basically an animated storyboard that has dialogue inserted.
Miller is going for a PG-13 rating for the animated Goon film, hoping to reach a far broader audience than Deadpool was able to. Nevertheless, to date studios have apparently not been too keen on the idea:
“Before we did our Kickstarter, we did a whole round with the studios, so we went down, Jeff and me, sometimes Fincher, sometimes Josh Donnen, and we went to all the studios and did our pitch for The Goon. We had a really beautiful pitch, we had a test piece, we had our book, we had all this stuff and at that time it was a $50 million project and we couldn’t get anybody to bite. Everybody loved it, but nobody would do it. So we went back and reworked the price a little bit and decided we were gonna take it out again, and right before we did that this demand to do a Kickstarter came up and then we said, ‘Okay fuck it, we’ll wait, we’ll do the Kickstarter, and then we can literally show executives the whole film. Here’s the film, you don’t have to listen to me tell you what it’s going to be, you can see what it’s going to be.’ And that’s what we did.”
Now that Deadpool is such a runaway success, Miller is hoping that studios will be more open when he brings them an off-color comic book project like The Goon:
“I do think that there is a corollary. Deadpool proves it, in a big way, that there is a market for this stuff out there… Goon is very much an action—it’s got a lot of heart, it’s got a lot of comedy, it’s got a lot of similarities to what I think was successful in Deadpool, and so I think it’s not a stretch to compare those two things and say the world is a little more ready than they used to be for this kind of material. In the past, there’s reasons why The Goon wasn’t made, it’s because people were afraid of edgy animation. Now I think that Deadpool has proved that audience is out there in a bigger way than some people thought.”
Miller will no doubt be working heavily on Deadpool 2 in the coming few years, so progress may remain sketchy. There is no doubt that a Goon movie would be a great fit for the man who brought Deadpool to the big screen, but only time will tell if Hollywood is truly ready for The Goon.