Michael Jai White Wants to Return for a Hard-R Rated ‘Spawn’ Movie

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 9:44 am,

Twenty-something (and older) comic book fans will no-doubt remember the meteoric rise of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn series – which, in no time, spawned a live-action feature film and mega-successful toy-line. While the series remains a staple-seller in comic shops, some of the momentum behind the property has died-off.

While it’s nothing new to hear that McFarlane is interested in a live-action Spawn reboot, fans will no doubt be excited to hear that Al Simmons/Spawn-leading man, Michael Jai White is equally excited about the possibility of revisiting the super-anti-hero.

The original Spawn film was largely panned by critics and was only a mild commercial success but it’s hard to blame Michael Jai White – considering the overall film struggled to find a balance between the dark and mature comic book source material and New Line Cinema’s desired PG-13-friendly demographic.

As a result, it’s no surprise to hear that White, who was at Comic Con 2011 promoting Mortal Kombat: Legacy, is interested in dawning Spawn’s burnt-flesh prosthetics again – but only if the actor and Todd McFarlane can make the film they want to make, i.e. a hard-R (pushing NC-17) version of the character.

“I hope he does [make the film]. In the next couple years I might have to produce it myself. It’s a no-brainer. Look at how these movies have done, superhero movies that have gone dark, and there hasn’t been one darker than Spawn. If we do it like we want to, it could be a game changer. I think Todd feels the same way as me – that we go R. Not a kinder, gentler Spawn, we go straight R – like pushing it, pushing NC-17. Give the fans what they expect. That edge brought [the comic book] to where it is. I would really like to show what that character can be.”

While White doesn’t exactly elaborate on what elements would earn the film a “pushing NC-17″ rating, anyone familiar with the franchise will be able to think-up a myriad of examples – some of which were undoubtedly featured in the critically acclaimed Spawn Animated Series that screened on HBO from 1997-1999. On HBO, and in animated form, McFarlane was able to successfully portray the violent and gritty world of his original creation.

Financing is still the largest hurdle that remains for a live-action Spawn reboot – as very few studios will want to invest in an expensive CGI-heavy superhero film that’s saddled with a high “R rated” barrier to entry. While a mature rating would definitely better serve the narrative, as well as offer some interesting on-screen visuals, it’s hard for an R rated comic book film to bring in big money – given that it immediately cuts out key demographics.

spawn violence Michael Jai White Wants to Return for a Hard R Rated Spawn Movie

The cover of Spawn #204

The fine line between marketability and dedication to the source is why McFarlane has been talking about financing a lower budget, indie version of Spawn himself.

Although, it’s easy to argue that a low-budget and brutal Spawn film would be an even bigger misfire, without the kind of big screen CGI spectacle that fans expect from superhero films – especially in the Spawn franchise.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick and let us know what you’d like to see in a new Spawn film.

TAGS: Spawn
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  1. Hell YES!

  2. Mcfarlane has a ton of $ for his toys, so don’t give no low budget crap! Go all out!

    • yeah I wish that was feasible but Todd McFarlane is not a studio.. I mean to go all out would mean to spend over 200 million dollars on the movie, ONE MAN to spend that? He’ll be broke if he dont make some profit off of it.. and that’s not counting all the money he has to invest on other things that ussually dont even get mentioned in the overall budget of a film. He must have thought about it, and looked at the numbers. I don’t think he would be able to just jump into it with all that money. I give Todd props though, he’s not giving up, and he’s leaving no stone unturned for his character. I appreciate that kind of dedication to his character man. And he’s not willing to sell it out either.

      Through out his career he’s turned the corner on the industry his way and changed the industry toward how it suited him not the other way around. Maybe he can do something like that for the comic movie industry. Lets hope.

  3. Hell yeah, i would see this and i hope he makes a sequel to Black Dynamite too.

  4. Black Dynamite had all the women. He was like Action Jackson lol

    All for a span reboot even though I still like the first Spawn in all its 90s glory. Im glad Micheal Jai White wants to back and wonder why he never got cool abbreviated alias like MJW or MJWhite. so perplexes me.

  5. I,m game.

  6. I wouldn’t mind seeing John Leguizamo reprise his role as the Violator. It wont happen. Still, I just had to say it.

  7. MJW = god hehehe seriously the man is a rising star (and an underrated one to), he should have been selected along side scott adkins for expendables.

    my idea for the new expendables would be the old school action heroes going up against the new gen of action stars, like tony jaa, scott adkins, MJW, matt mulins etc it would be so epic to see MJW with jet li or dolph 😀

  8. Now that is a movie I would love to see. Spawn’s effects were award winning in 96, imagine what it would look like in 3-D, too awesome. I still think Michael Jai White would be great to play simmons again. As long as,they stay away from the storys they been doing in Spawn lately. No Al Simmons???? That made me stop reading the book

  9. I curious about this & hope they go for a NC-17 rating or R-rated film. I liked that last film somewhat, mostly due to Michael Jai White’s performance & i did find John Leguizamo’s good aswell. Martin Sheen was ok. But i was surprised how family friendly it looked, and cartoony in scenes involving Satan. The action was good but not great which i blame the Family Friendly plan & think a R rated sequel would have to pick things up. Anyways, if they bring back Michael Jai White back in the role of Spawn, i surely will see this new film.


    i’ve been wanting/saying/shouting/yelling/screaming/desiring/yearning/dreaming this since the 1st film. i LOVED it, BUT of course, i was just a meesly youngin’. now, at 21, i’m finally ready for R (hopefully even NC-17) -rated SPAWN! Michael Jai White is fantastic! McFarlane just has to do this! the fans want it AND DESERVE it!

    my dream SPAWN sequel would somehow even incorporate the nolan bros. nolan’s dark knight-take on spawn + R-rating = heart attack from the amount of epicness!

  11. So I’ve read Mortal Kombat Legacy webisode 9 premieres on Sun. at the comic con. Does anyone know when it’ll hit the web?

    • It already premiered at Comic-Con – should debut Sunday on youTube.

  12. You mean he wants to do a SPAWN the way it should have been done in the first place?? When I see nudity and killings of child moletors and heads rolling across the floor I will get my hopes up, till then it is simply another wasted comic adaptation.

  13. People enter R rated films at teenage anyways.

    Never once had they asked me for my ID. So most theaters it will be all gravy. Heck, high school ppl go to saturday releases on R rated movies, and never are told their IDs. They just pay and watch.

    I think it would be best if they remake it, that it has a lower resolution in its film. Movie directors these days don’t know how good nitty-gritty movies of the past were. It wasn’t because of the high definition (cgi can become better looking if in a dimmed atmosphere).

    Hope movies these days go back 80-90s style. Commercials and TV shows too xD. It’s funny to notice how much smarter TV was back then compared to now… It’s as if they WANT you to be stupid, and love it!

  14. KEEP MCFARLANE AWAY FROM IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. OK here a silly question, if those brothers can make Skyline for as little as they did which had some heavy CGI, is there any reason McFarlane couldn’t gte with those guys or use their approach and partner with some others and put this thing together themselves without putting out a 40 million budget?

    I’ve been watching FredieWongs youtube channel here lately and he and the guys (Extreme VFX I think) do some amazing stuff and thats on their free time for fun . I can’t believe that with the right property like SPAWN combined with the proper writing (McFarlane and Co) direction that a hard R version of SPAWN couldn’t be done for say 20 million or less. Look what TROUBLEMAKER studios did for PREDATORS on a 40 million budget and that is a franchise and they used a well known actor which I’m sure did notwork for free.

    I think there’s a chance for a game changer in the movie industry for a small budgeted CGI heavy flick using unknown actors and an established property like SPAWN that could take the big risk of a hard R.

  16. I say use the Nolan Bros., The Director of MK: Legacy, del Torro, Robert Rodregez, & John Wu for one huge super directing team to get this movie made the right way. I mean if Ghost Rider is getting a semi-reboot/continuation with a supposed hard R-rating then why the hell can’t SPAWN?!?

  17. I hated Michael Jai White in spawn. I thought his acting was cheesy and unskilled but then again so was everyone else’s in that movie. I hope they use someone else though.

  18. If there were to be a new Spawn movie. I wish a director collaboration with Chris Nolan and the guys behind the ‘Saw’ series would be behind this work; along with some of Todd Mcfarlannes direction-plus Hans Zimmer being there to do the soundtrack.

  19. I would love to see an R rated spawn movie to show how he really is supposed to be portrayed. And all the others who say he shouldnt make it how he wants should shut up and take off your diapers. Why wouldn’t you want to see the creator make his version of his own creation?

  20. I’m a major fan of the Spawn comic books,HBO Aninated Series as Michael Jai White’s movie Spawn.. I always felt the movie should’ve rated R just as it was on HBO because this is what Spawn fans know Super hero are no longer for kids they are for us kids at heart adults now.
    Marvel knights did a awesome job with the Punisher with Ray Steveson first they did it right by staying with comic story verison of him not Hollywoods ideal which never worked for us true fans.
    Marvel Knights should bring the Punisher and Spawn together as a unlikely partners fighting against Hell’s Army now that would be a awesome Super Hero Dark movie!!

  21. The Spawn series must go on. Michael White played the character to the ‘T’. He’s still in great shape. Comics are in now. What the hell are you waiting for?

  22. I want 8 inch spawn reboot movie action figure toys

  23. Micheal Jai White all the way! Do it dark and gritty, the way Todd intended! And cut Micheal loose on the action! Unleash him! His martial art skills are highly underrated!