Image copyright Image Comics
The long-planned Spawn movie has officially cast its lead role.
None other than Jamie Foxx will star as the demonic anti-hero, with Blumhouse Productions also bringing comic creator Todd McFarlane in for what will be his directorial debut.
As McFarlane told Deadline, he does not intend to tell Spawn’s origins story, opting instead to make the titular character a man of few words.
“The scariest movies, from Jaws to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or The Grudge and The Ring, the boogeyman doesn’t talk. It confuses people because of the comic book industry, and because they all default into their Captain America mindset and I keep saying, no, get into John Carpenter’s mindset or Hitchcock.
This is not a man in a rubber suit, it’s not a hero that’s going to come and save the damsel. It’s none of that. At the end of the movie, I’m hoping that the audience will say either, is this a ghost that turns into a man, or is it man that turns into a ghost?”
Whilst McFarlane is clearly inspired by directors of the past, and by masters of the horror genre, he isn’t exactly known for his depiction of a traditional superhero. However, he does appear to realise how the superhero genre works, as he continued, saying;
“I’ve got a trilogy in mind here, and I’m not inclined in this first movie to do an origin story. I’m mentally exhausted from origin stories. Luckily, there’s a movie that just came out that helps my cause.
In A Quiet Place, the first thing on screen is a card in black and white letters that says ‘Day 89.’ It doesn’t care about what happened in those first 88 days. There are a couple headlines, but then we are on day 450. That movie doesn’t worry about explaining and giving all the answers.”
The casting choice of Jamie Foxx, who delivered an amazing performance in Django Unchained, Collateral, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Ray is an interesting one, especially as McFarlane is looking for a man…demon…of few words. Apparently, Foxx was the actor McFarlane had in mind when he wrote the script.
“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.”
McFarlane continued talking about Foxx in the role, adding;
“Jamie came to my office five years ago, and he had an idea about Spawn and we talked about it. I never forgot him, and when I was writing this script, you sort of plug people in, and he was my visual guy and I never let go of him.
When I got done and my agents and everybody was talking about what actor, I said, I’m going to Jamie first and until he says no I don’t want to think about anyone else because I’ve never had anyone else in my head. Luckily, he hadn’t forgotten either. I said, ‘Hey, I’m back to talk about Spawn again’, and he was like, ‘let’s do it.'”
Apparently, it’s not just McFarlane who really wanted Jamie Foxx to take on the role, as Foxx himself had some rather positive things to say about it all.
“A few years back I flew out to Arizona to meet the man behind one of the most incredible comic book characters in the universe… Todd McFarlane. He was taken aback when I told him the enthusiasm of a young child that more than anything I wanted to put my name in the hat to embody his beloved character Spawn.
I told him no one would work harder than me if given the opportunity… well… the opportunity is here!
I’m humbled and ready to transform… and to top things off the young Jason Blum is lending his brilliance to the project!”
Spawn debuted in 1992’s Spawn #1 from Image Comics to critical acclaim. The series centres around Al Simmons, a member of a CIA black-ops team who is betrayed, twice. First, his team left him to be murdered, and his corpse was set on fire. And then, in the afterlife, he is double-crossed in Hell when he is convinced to become a Hellspawn warrior in exchange for being reunited with his wife. However, becoming a Hellspawn turned him into a demonic creature, and his wife had moved on and married Simmons’ best friend.
With his newfound powers, Simmons looked to rid the city he once called home free of the evils that plague it, battling everything that Earth, Heaven, and Hell could possibly throw at him.