Last year we reported that Sam Raimi was itching to direct a film version of pulp crime fighter The Shadow. However, it appeared that Raimi was too busy with the Spider-Man movies to give the film any serious thought.
Now that the Spider-Man franchise has swung over to new hands for a reboot it looks like Sam Raimi isn't going to waste his crime fighting credentials. The good folks over at IESB have the news (including a script review) that Raimi is apparently set to make The Shadow his next film.
For those don’t know, The Shadow is a crime fighter who first cropped up on radio in 1930. He’s a dark and ... er... shadowy individual who could turn invisible and cloud the minds of men. The character was partly an inspiration to Bob Kane when he created Batman in 1939, and the character got his own modern big screen adaptation in 1994 with Alec Baldwin in the lead role.
When we reported last year that Batman producer Michael Ulsan was working on the film, he said that the film might take some time, but Raimi apparently “flipped” over the new draft by screenwriter Siavash Farahani and he’s eager to get back to wielding a megaphone after Spider-Man fell apart.
According to IESB, The Shadow is an R-rated adventure filled with violence and nudity – something which might affect the film's box office chances. Raimi is a huge fan of the character, which has graced radio, comics and the screen and he tried to attain the rights to the film in the 1980’s. He failed, but similarly to George Lucas and his failed attempt to make Flash Gordon, Raimi created his own version – Darkman which starred Liam Neeson.
IESB gave the script the thumps up saying:
“I think the general public seeing The Shadow on screen for the first time would be akin to the first time they laid eyes on Blade or Nolan's Batman in "Batman Begins". You get that sense of wonder just from reading Farahanl's descriptions of the character and that world of mystery never fails you as you reach the end of the journey.”
While the character isn’t a household name in the 21st century, there is plenty of scope to make the character palatable to modern audiences. The main problem might be that there’s a certain amount of crime fighting fatigue setting in. The project sounds like a mixture of Watchmen, The Punisher and The Spirit, something which may hurt its appeal to moviegoers.
Another issue could be that The Shadow is set up at Columbia, the Sony studio behind the Spider-Man franchise. Raimi had many problems with the studio over the direction of his planned fourth installment in the web-slinging franchise – is there a chance that the wounds haven’t healed?
I’m sure that we’ll find out soon enough, and when we do, you’ll be the first to know.