For several years, Todd McFarlane, the creator of Spawn, has been doing everything he can to create a new film adaptation for his most treasured character, after the mixed reaction to the 1997 adaptation, starring Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite). So, when he decided to take his place in the director’s chair and put together this adaptation at Blumhouse, there was only one actor he had in mind for the titular role, Jamie Foxx.
According to a report from Deadline, Jamie Foxx has signed on to play Al Simmons, the CIA agent who was betrayed, killed, and ultimately tricked into become the demon, Spawn. It’s also being reported that this is a role that Foxx has been pining over for some time, even meeting with McFarlane several years ago to hash out ideas for it.
“Jamie came to my office five years ago, and he had an idea about Spawn and we talked about it,” McFarlane said. “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.’”
While Foxx will be the marquee name attached to the Image Comics-Blumhouse joint project, don’t expect him to be doing that much talking. McFarlane instead sees this as a film that does less exposition and more action and destruction, with a backstory only being shown if they produce more movies.
“The scariest movies, from Jaws to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or The Grudge and The Ring, the boogeyman doesn’t talk,” McFarlane told Deadline, acknowledging that he’s gotten odd stares from studio suits in the past on this approach. “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 a man that turns into a ghost? 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. What it said in that case was, if you can hang on for a story of survival of this family, this movie will make complete sense for you.”
If not having a ton of lines and being mainly a stoic badass bothers Foxx, he’s definitely not showing, saying:
“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 with 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! Time to be great!!!! #Spawn.”
McFarlane does have a point about origin stories. Every time a superhero is introduced, we instantly have to see where they come from to understand them and connect to them better. So, with him trying to do something different and essentially just start, it’s a refreshing take on superhero format. It also gives the studio a reason to want to produce a sequel, if audiences receive it better than McFarlane anticipates.
Spawn does not have a set release date, but as news drops for our favorite Hellspawn, we’ll have it here on Cinelinx.com!