MTV caught up with director Vincenzo Natali this week – as he’s currently promoting his new sci-fi/horror flick Splice – and was informed that unfortunately an adaptation of the comic book Swamp Thing is no longer in the works.
Last month, Natali expressed interest in directing a film version of Swamp Thing based off writer Alan Moore’s critically-revered run of the character in the 1980s. Due to certain legal matters, it looks as though that will not be happening in the near future.
According to Natali:
“[Producer] Joel Silver actually had a couple of [Swamp Thing] scripts in, only to discover later on that the film rights were held by another company. And it’s even more complicated than that, I’m told.”
The story of Swamp Thing was previously brought to the big screen in a 1982 film directed by Wes Craven, which portrayed the iconic character as a horrifying creature in the vein of the Frankenstein monster. Alan Moore’s take on the series instead paints the mutated human as an more complex individual, concerned with the nature of his condition and the reason for his existence.
Alan Moore’s version of the character remains popular with comic book enthusiasts and has developed a loyal cult following in the years following its publication. Moore himself is known for his disdain of film adaptations of his work – a matter that Natali claims only further complicates the issues surrounding the Swamp Thing movie.
As he put it himself:
“Everyone wants the Alan Moore version, [but] it’s tricky because Alan Moore has very negative feelings toward the film industry … he’s not shy about it… [his] version of Swamp Thing is so fascinating and totally original, unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a movie before.”
Several of Moore’s other graphic novels have already made the transition to the big screen, with results that range from pretty good (Watchmen) to mediocre (From Hell) to downright awful (see below). Moore has long been a vocal opponent of Hollywood adaptations of his work – so much so that he now removes his name from their credits on principle.
Until the legal matters concerning the property rights to Swamp Thing are settled, it looks as though the film adaptation will be on hold. The project will hopefully move out of limbo in the near future as Warner Bros. executives work hard to secure the rights to a potentially lucrative comic book movie franchise.
In the meantime, Natali’s next film Splice will attack theaters in the U.S. this summer on June 4.