Spawn creator Todd McFarlane offers an update on the film reboot. We are entering an age of darker, violent approaches to the superhero genre, with the recent successes of movies like Logan and Deadpool proving that audiences are ready for something different than the relatively safe confines of a PG-13 rating has to offer. The long-in-development movie reboot of McFarlane's seminal title Spawn would seem to be a perfect fit for these times.
Dark, violent and brilliant, Spawn follows a hellbound assassin whose deal with Satan allows him to return to earth to see his wife in exchange for becoming a Hellspawn, a lethal supernatural entity under the command of demonic forces. The Spawn comic book line inspired a myriad of spinoffs, a suitably dark animated series on HBO, and a critically-panned 1997 film which marked the beginning of the title's decline in popularity.
A reboot has been bandied about for years, with the comic book's creator Todd McFarlane spearheading the effort. McFarlane recently spoke with SyFy Wire about the new film, on which he plans to take a much more hands-on role. According to McFarlane, the rough draft is done and has been for months. McFarlane has fielded calls from at least "two dozen" producers - from smaller producers to bigger studios - but is not selling due to his strict conditions:
"So I’m going, I’m not selling it but if you want to see the rough draft, I’ll send it to you. But just so everybody knows, I write, produce, direct, non-negotiable."
McFarlane is adamant on this. He goes on to say that any hesitation appears to go away once the script is in a producer's hands:
"I wouldn’t ask to be a newbie director on a script that was going to have an eighty million budget for it. Why? Because as a CEO of my own corporation, I wouldn’t take that deal. I wouldn’t stick out $80 million and go, ‘they’re going to put a rookie and he’s going to basically be in charge of it.’ So I’ve created this tight little one that I keep saying, I think I can shoot it for ten."
McFarlane evidently faces some skepticism on this point, but he believes the key thing to remember is that while Spawn may have started life as sort of an anti-superhero character, the title has evolved since its debut in the '90s. According to McFarlane, the Spawn reboot will be "a supernatural movie," as opposed to a superhero movie.
In fact, McFarlane seems to have something far darker in mind, something that would, in his words, "scare the s**t" out of his audience. McFarlane makes the point that he can try and replicate what DC, Marvel and Warner Bros. are already doing (and doing well, from his point of view), or use Spawn to take the genre in a different direction. Thus, he intends to make "an adult version of this character."
While McFarlane may seem unduly stubborn in sticking to his guns about his intention to write, direct and produce the Spawn reboot, the reception and box office performance of the 1997 film (19% on Rotten Tomatoes and just over $54 million domestically on an estimated $40 million mid-90s budget) might have something to do with it.
McFarlane asserts that the generation that grew up with Spawn will be expecting something different from a rehash of what was originally done 25 years ago. On the surface, this reasoning is sound, but the truth of why a dark, violent and scary Spawn reboot can be a success is more complicated. Audiences have embraced hard-R-rated superhero offerings in recent years, which on paper points to a general desire from something other than the cycle of solo original stories for different characters who will eventually team up down the line in an All-Star Superhero Jam which will in turn introduce more characters to repeat the cycle. So far, this formula is holding, and people are showing up to theaters. If Spawn can truly offer something new - a truly scary supernatural film in the guise of a superhero movie, perhaps - then now is a perfect time to get it going.
Expect more updates on the Spawn reboot to surface soon.
Source: SyFy Wire