Jamie Foxx has revealed he spent six years campaigning to land the role of Spawn in director Todd McFarlane’s reboot. The Spawn comic became an instant cult success in the early 1990s thanks to its dark subject matter and the rich artwork by McFarlane, so it wasn’t long until Hollywood came calling. While 1997’s Spawn movie had a good cast and some nice gothic visuals, it suffered from a bad screenplay and weak direction.
While Spawn was a modest hit, it didn’t garner enough fans to warrant a sequel, though the acclaimed HBO animated series that aired around the same time did wonders for the character’s credibility. For the last decade or so McFarlane declared his intention to make a gritty, low-budget Spawn reboot that would do the character justice, and one that would feel like a mix between Jaws and The Departed. It seemed like a project that would never happen - until it was revealed Blumhouse had signed up for the project in 2017.
Around 5 years ago a rumor spread that Jamie Foxx was interested in the title role of Spawn, and now the actor has confirmed (in a new interview with Yahoo) that he’s been chasing the project for years:
I’ve been a huge fan of Spawn since it first came out. When you talked about the first black superhero — it was like, “Wow, that’s something else.’ We love all superheroes, but that really stood out — and then the movie, and when it ran on HBO [as an animated TV series].
Six years ago, I flew to Phoenix and just walked in on Todd McFarlane and said, “I want to tell you that you’re a badass and if you ever decide to do the movie, I want to throw my hat in the ring.” And I had something that I wrote up. He was like, “What?!” I was like, “Man, I don’t think you understand.” Spawn is one of the most interesting characters. Because he’s blessed by God but he’s raised by the Devil, in a sense. I said, “If you can convey that — that the superhero is blessed by God but raised by the Devil — that’s something we haven’t seen in a while. And it doesn’t take a lot of money to get it off.
Foxx stayed with the project throughout its development, so when Blumhouse came onboard, he was ready to jump on:
Once it started getting kicked around, I always checked back in. And that’s the thing about it — for some people, [the news of my casting] came out of nowhere, but for me, this was years and years of honing in and wanting to disappear in that character and be true to it. It’s been dope.
Foxx is clearly extremely passionate about Spawn, and the movie promises to be something much different from the standard comic book movie. It will be a lower budget, psychological horror movie, and the character of Spawn won’t even speak in the movie - though he’ll apparently have another way of communicating. Jeremy Renner has also signed up for the role of detective Twitch Williams, the protagonist of the story.
Spawn is part of an emerging trend of comic book movies that are leaning towards horror, which also includes Tom Hardy’s Venom - which will pay homage to the body horror films of David Cronenberg and John Carpenter - and The New Mutants. Younger viewers who grew up on comic book blockbusters appear to be in the mood for darker stories, and these movies will be catering to that side of the audience.