Todd McFarlane's Spawn means something vastly different to comic book fans than what the character's 1997 big screen adaptation might imply. But while the first attempt missed the mark, McFarlane isn't giving up hope that his perpetually-in-development reboot could launch a franchise.
Not only is the film's script almost completed - with an animated TV series set to be produced after the movie is released - McFarlane claims to have an Academy Award-winner impatiently awaiting the chance to star.
While showing off toys at the TIA Toy Fair this week, McFarlane offered an update on the Spawn reboot to MTV. Despite promising that an animated installment of Spawn was imminent years ago, it seems the plans have changed to let a live-action movie kick off Spawn's second wind.
That might sound like putting the cart before the horse, but apparently the film already has a star in place that will turn heads - if and when the film is green-lit:
"I continue to write a page here and there. As I've said before, I've got a guy waiting on the sidelines who's an Academy Award-winning actor who phones every three weeks going ‘Todd, where’s the script? Where’s the script?'... He came out to the office, he gave me his pitch, I gave him my pitch, and he's like 'Fine, let's do your gig.' The pitch I gave him was that we could then do, like, ten of these for the next ten years, and he wouldn't have to be 22 for the rest of his life.
"The plan would be to do the movie, bring the movie out and then go back on TV with the animation like we did the first time. But the cool thing with the animation is we've got 90 minutes all set, ready to go, other than just sending it to an animation house. We've done all the voice recordings, we've done all the backgrounds and everything. So the technology is way better than it was a decade ago. and there's some spectacular stuff that we can now do when we bring it back that we were never able to do on HBO."
A quick glance at Oscar winners fitting the bill of 'younger African-American males' leaves Jamie Foxx and Cuba Gooding Jr. as the most likely candidates.
Foxx has expressed interest in comic books in the past, and can next be seen playing the villainous Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Whether that proves his ability to excel in a comic adaptation remains to be seen, but if the response to his character is mostly positive, a comic book movie with Foxx's backing could be an attractive prospect to studios. Especially with the $10 million budget McFarlane claims he needs to make the film a reality.
Of course, Gooding Jr. seems the more likely of the two actors to repeatedly call up McFarlane asking to be cast in his Spawn reboot, given the current status of his career. That being said, Foxx has made a visit or two to McFarlane's offices. That doesn't mean the habitually-hyperbolic McFarlane isn't exaggerating, but it proves Foxx is a fan, if nothing else.
There's no question that a hard-R-Rated Spawn movie made on a budget (McFarlane wishes to write, direct and produce it himself) is an easier pill for a studio to swallow, especially after the release of Dredd - another underground comic legend that pulled no punches in its big screen adaptation (read our review).
Now there's even promises of an R-Rated Deadpool movie, with mature humor and violence that could possibly bring more attention to the currently crowded world of comic book movies, not less.
At this point, we'd recommend that fans of Spawn try not to hold their breath, but if McFarlane isn't simply exaggerating (and he very well could be), there may be reason to hold out hope.
What chance do you think McFarlane has of getting a second take on the character? Would you be interested in a Spawn reboot starring Jamie Foxx - or anyone else, Cuba Gooding Jr. included - or would it pale in comparison to the current crop of comic adaptations? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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