It’s been over a year since we heard that New Regency would attempt to resurrect the film career of Marvel’s blind but capable crime-fighter Daredevil. Many film fans (and geeks) have attempted to forget writer/director Mark Steven Johnson’s 2003 adaptation which featured Ben Affleck as “The Man Without Fear,” Colin Farrell as the hero’s main threat Bullseye, and Michael Clarke Duncan as the overarching antagonist Kingpin.
Around the same time as New Regency was gearing up for the Daredevil reboot, Hitman director, Xavier Gens, discussed his vision for the character – despite the fact he’s in no way (to this day) connected to the production. With his upcoming film The Divide premiering next week at SXSW, Gens’ interview is once again making headlines.
Whether or not the prior Daredevil will go down in the books as one of the most disappointing super-hero movies in the comic-to-film golden age – or as the project that spawned the worst spin-off, 2005’s Elektra, starring Jennifer Garner – is certainly up for debate.
However there’s no doubt that, given a bigger budget (or at least at more inspired script), a movie about Matthew Murdock and his daring alter-ego could translate into Iron Man-esque (or at least Incredible Hulk-esque) box office and critical success.
Back in 2009, French filmmaker, Xavier Gens (Hitman and The Divide) discussed his vision for the franchise with Marvel Movies!. Gens’ breakdown for the film doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence either – not to mention the fact that screenwriter David Scarpa (The Day The Earth Stood Still) is now working on the script:
“If I have to made a Daredevil movie, I will take a completely different direction. My vision of the character is much more a drama. There will be a 1st part in the child hood of matt Murdock and the universe of Hell kitchen. Something in the univers of the first Rocky Balboa. Is the story of a poor family of hell kitchen, the father is a loser who made some boxing match, the mother is sick and she died. The father have to make the education of is son alone. He became a outlaw, he made fight to win money and one day he is killed by the mobs. Alone Matt murdock go to an orphanage and is there were he got is accident. And there is a long reducation because he became blind and he have to learn a new sens. With a very realistic point of view. And he became better and better and he made lawyer study.”
While Gens does his best to tantalize fans with a Nolan-like crime film (a tone Daredevil comic writer Anthony Johnston recently endorsed), it’s hard to forget that Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil suffered from too much convoluted drama – and not enough action as well.
Given the lackluster quality of Gens’ work on the video game adaptation Hitman, it’s equally difficult to imagine that his vision for Daredevil will ever get off the ground. Much like Marvel did with The Incredible Hulk, 20th Century Fox will undoubtedly be pushing for a more action packed experience, with less (not more) melodrama in the franchise reboot.
That said, should Gens actually get a callback from the studio one of these days, he’s already got an idea for who he’d like to see take his more drama-focused Daredevil into the courtroom (and sometimes fight crime):
“For Daredevil, I think Sam Worthington could be very great and intense for this character. For the villain, it depends on the story.”
For the record, I’m not against the casting of Sam Worthington in certain films – he does a great warrior/soldier/meathead grunt but it’s hard to imagine why, aside from his blockbuster star-status, a filmmaker pitching a drama-centric Daredevil reboot would put Worthington at the top of the list.
Worthington could pull-off the costumed vigilante part – but close your eyes and try to imagine the Clash of the Titans actor portraying Daredevil’s mild-mannered counterpart Matthew Murdock? Sure Ben Affleck wasn’t great in the role either but Murdock requires a certain delicacy – and, as far as we’ve seen, Worthington doesn’t have a subtle bone in his entire body.