[Update: Sources are already claiming to have debunked this rumor.]
Quentin Tarantino’s work certainly proves the auspicious and polarizing filmmaker knows a thing or two about the evil lurking in the hearts of men- and if this recent bit of news is to be believed, he’ll soon be in good company. A trusted source for Pajiba claims that Tarantino is the latest director attached to a new feature film adaptation of The Shadow.
Back in June, Twilight: Eclipse‘s David Slade put an end to rumors suggesting he’d be calling the shots on The Shadow and admitted he couldn’t even get producer Sam Raimi to return his emails. Raimi himself was a contender for the director’s chair early on, but with his time being monopolized by dozens of other projects (including Oz, The Great & Powerful and World of Warcraft) that always seemed highly unlikely.
Yet, Tarantino is a similarly busy man and evidently his deal with The Shadow isn’t just for directing- he’d be a co-writer as well. I’m not sure if that would mean a revision on Siavash Farahani’s script or a page one rewrite, but I’m inclined to believe the latter.
While Tarantino’s been pretty non-committal in regards to his next project, he’s expressed interest in Kill Bill 3, an Inglourious Basterds prequel, a Vega Brothers movie, and even a western. If he has indeed decided to helm The Shadow it’s a pretty left-field decision. One thing is for certain, though – Quentin Tarantino’s The Shadow would probably be the furthest thing from a conventional comic book film and it’s open to debate whether or not that would be a good thing.
I adore the old Shadow radio programs. My dad passed on tapes of those broadcasts to me when I was a kid and I was completely enthralled with them. I went on to collect old novels and comics featuring the character and The Shadow is a big reason I became so infatuated with the film noir aesthetic and pulp crime fiction. While the 1994 film starring Alec Baldwin did an admirable job of trying to blend together different elements from the character’s various interpretations, it was ultimately a huge letdown that barely did the property justice.
Tarantino’s name would never have been on my wish-list of directors, but his biggest strength is that whether you love him or hate him, the guy is astoundingly well-versed in cinema. His ability to emulate different genres and styles is impressive and I have no doubt that if they decided to go back to The Shadow‘s pulp roots he would deliver an extremely authentic film (at least in its production design and tone).
He’s also masterful at staging creative and dynamic action sequences so there are certainly worse choices in that regard. I also love the way he casts his films with complete disregard for customary choices of who’s hot at the moment. He always puts together eclectic and amazing groups of people and I’m having a field day imagining his lineup for The Shadow.
On the other hand, as diverse as his films have been there are certain qualities they all share – qualities I’m not sure he’d be able to restrain himself from abusing on a project where they wouldn’t be appropriate. I’m referring mostly to his over-abundance of dialogue and his often unique sense of pacing – something that was extremely evident in both Death Proof and Inglourious Basterds. Now I enjoyed Basterds, but a free-form comic book movie isn’t something I’d be terribly excited to see.
UPDATE: The Tarantino Archives is claiming that they’ve debunked this rumor – although they offer any explanation as to how, exactly, they’ve done so. From their website:
“As the US west coast is having its morning coffee, probably surfing the interwebs for clarification on this, we as we are wrapping up Thursday already here in Europe, are happy to confirm that the rumors are completely false.”
Personally, I’m not going to believe anything until I hear from either Tarantino himself, or the person who actually is directing the next Shadow movie – but feel free to take this update for what it’s worth.
I suppose the bottom line is that I think Tarantino is definitely capable of delivering an amazing version of The Shadow – but it would be dependent on him being able to keep certain items inside his familiar bag of tricks.