Now that Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx has been officially cast in the title role of Todd McFarlane's directorial debut, Spawn, the director explained why Foxx is the perfect star for the role. Based on the comic series from McFarlane, Spawn tells the story of a CIA operative named Albert Simmons who is betrayed and murdered by his own friend and colleague. After he's sentenced to Hell on account of killing innocents for the US government, he ultimately sells his soul in exchange for the opportunity to see his wife one last time. In doing so, he is transformed into a demonic creature who ends up using his military skills and newfound powers to fight crime as a hellbent antihero.
Having become an internationally best-selling comic, as well as one of the longest-running monthly comic books ever, Spawn broke records upon its initial release in 1992, selling 1.7 million copies in its first run. Now, the comic's original creator Todd McFarlane is making his directorial debut with an adaptation of the series (he'll also co-write the screenplay and produce), and he's revealed why there was no better actor to star in the title role than Foxx.
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McFarlane opened up to Deadline about how perfect Foxx is for the title role. Breaking down the specific qualities he's requiring from actors in order to create a successful adaptation, he explained that Foxx more than met his strict demands. Having followed Foxx's body of work, McFarlane was enthusiastic about Foxx's unique abilities as an actor, praising his ability to get "into a zone, with body language and a look that basically will say way more than anything [McFarlane] could type on a piece of paper." He was especially enthusiastic about the way Foxx has the kind of commanding presence that he believes will make his co-stars, as well as audiences, feel genuinely intimidated. He said:
“There are five or six moments where I’m going to need things from my actors, and a couple of them have to come from Jamie, and I’ve seen him deliver them onscreen. He gets into a zone, with body language and a look that basically will say way more than anything I could type on a piece of paper, and this movie is going to need those moments. And in the odd moment where he has to deliver a line that’s short, curt, and has impact, he can do it in a way that makes you go, ‘Whoa, I don’t want to mess with that guy. What a badass.'”
While this will be the first time McFarlane has helmed a movie based on the Spawn comics, it won't be the first adaptation of the series. In 1997, New Line Cinema released an adaptation that starred John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, and Michael Jai White as Albert Simmons/Spawn. And though the movie was a financial success, it underperformed critically, earning an 18 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The upcoming adaptation with Foxx and McFarlane is being described as an R-rated reimagining of the series, though it'll share a similar gritty aesthetic with the first movie.
Though he's never directed a movie before, McFarlane's bread and butter is the Spawn series, so it'll be interesting to see whether his proficiency with the series will translate successfully into a feature film. Foxx, on the other hand, has more than proven his ability to tackle a role like Spawn with movies like Baby Driver and Django Unchained, despite some occasional divisive or forgettable roles (see: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Sleepless).