Michael Jai White has admitted he’s not a fan of his 1997 Spawn movie. The Spawn comic series was created by Todd McFarlane and revolves around Al Simmons, an assassin who is murdered by his own agency and makes a deal with the devil to come back and seek his revenge and to see his wife again. The comic's dark storylines and themes, combined with McFarlane’s eye-catching artwork, made Spawn an instant cult hit.
A Spawn movie was released in 1997, starring Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen and John Leguizamo. While the film featured some impressive practical and makeup effects and visuals, a poor screenplay and dull pacing spoiled the experience. The movie also watered down the mature content of the source material for a PG-13 rating and turned Spawn into more of a traditional superhero, instead of the brutal anti-hero of the comic.
While the movie turned a modest profit the studio decided against pursuing a sequel, and now Todd McFarlane is set to direct a moody, R-rated reboot of Spawn for Blumhouse. While Michael Jai White was one of the few highlights of the 1997 version, the actor has revealed in an interview with THR that even he’s not fond of the final product, stating ‘There is no footage of me ever saying that I liked Spawn. I have never said that I thought that was a good movie.’
The Spawn movie came out during a weak time for comic book movies in general; Batman & Robin was released the same year, and duds like Barb Wire and Steel were also released to scathing reviews and weak box office. Spawn is arguably one of the better entries to come out during that era - which sadly isn’t saying much in the movie’s favor. At this point, White doesn’t have much to lose by giving his honest assessment and the numerous faults of the movie can hardly be laid at his feet.
Todd McFarlane has been talking up his gritty new take on Spawn for close to a decade now, which at one stage seemed unlikely to happen. Thankfully, audiences seem to be embracing more mature-themed comic book movies like Logan and Deadpool, and a gothic, horror-focused reboot of the character starring Jamie Foxx and Jeremy Renner should please the Spawn fans who were burned by the first attempt all those years ago.