This time last year, Twentieth Century Fox's reboot of Daredevil still appeared to be on track, albeit with a few wobbling wheels, to head into production within a few months. Talk of a reboot began with Frank Miller and Jason Statham expressing an interest, and Hitman director Xavier Gens later tried pitching the project with Sam Worthington pencilled in to play the lead. Fox, who still owned the rights to the character since producing the Ben Affleck-led version in 2003, began turning the gears on a reboot a few years ago in order to ensure that Matt Murdock remained their property.
Fox chose David Slade - director of the gruesome, low-budget thriller Hard Candy and comic book adaptation Thirty Days of Night - to direct the project early on, and Slade was attached for a couple of years before scheduling conflicts forced him to walk away from the Daredevil reboot. The Grey director Joe Carnahan later made a sizzle reel to pitch his own reboot to Fox, but by that point the studio had lost their temporarily renewed interest in using the property. With the various delays and changing of hands, Fox eventually missed their fall 2012 deadline to begin production on the film, and the rights reverted back to Marvel in October.
The Daredevil reboot might happen one day, but Fox's hand in it - along with Slade's version of the film - are officially done. The good news is that this leaves Slade free to share details on the Daredevil movie that might have been, and in an interview with Film School Rejects he teases that it would have been everything the comic book fans wanted to see:
“[I saw it as] really complex and exciting. It was complicated [Laughs], and in the most unimaginable Fox way possible ... It’s in the 70s, Kingpin is going through New York dealing with the Irish mafia, and there’s Daredevil in the yellow suit. It was all there!"
The yellow suit mentioned was part of Daredevil's original design when the character debuted in 1964 (and was later revisited for Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Daredevil: Yellow), but it lasted for only a few issues before Matt Murdock began donning the better-known red suit, modelled by Affleck in Mark Steven Johnson's film. From the way he describes it, Slade's Daredevil movie sounds like it would have enjoyed a similar tone to Carnahan's sizzle reel, which had a very retro feel and integrated classic 1970s songs like "Superfly" into its ultra-violent action. Slade also commented on the similarities:
"It’s funny, I remember Joe Carnahan went after it hard when the rights were about to go. He cut together that thing that was great and exciting, but it was kind of sad, in a way, because everything in that trailer we had attempted to do [Laughs]. Every single thing."
From the way Slade describes it, it seems as though the Daredevil reboot suffered through the same struggles that have been plaguing the (hopefully) forthcoming Deadpool movie: a darker, more complex, and potentially R-rated plot that would have represented a risk for the studio. The script, which was based on Frank Miller's often-brutal "Born Again" story arc, underwent an attempted rewrite shortly before Slade left the project, and Carnahan's pitch included a second sizzle reel titled "Daredevil NC-17", which featured a greater volume of bloody violence.
With Daredevil back in Marvel's hands and no current plans from the studio to attempt another movie based on the comic books, Slade has accepted that his shot at presenting the yellow-suited "Man Without Fear" in the planned period setting has been and gone:
“[I'm] moving forward, yeah. You have to. If you don’t, you’ll just go crazy.”
Does hearing about Slade's originals plans make you sorry to see the Daredevil reboot die? Which actor should have played the starring role, and who should have played the Kingpin? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Source: Film School Rejects