Jamie Foxx will have his turn at playing a comic book character when he plays Spawn in a reboot of the movie of the same name, which will be directed by Todd McFarlane, the creator of the comic and character.
Deadline reports that McFarlane’s directorial debut will be R rated with an expected budget of $10 million-$12 million. In this latest iteration, McFarlane told Deadline, he doesn’t plan to tell the origin story of Al Simmons—a member of a CIA black-ops team who is betrayed twice.
Simmons is set up by his cohorts to be murdered. His corpse is set on fire and Simmons is double-crossed in hell. While there, Simmons sells his soul and becomes a Hellspawn warrior in exchange for being able to see his wife again. Unfortunately for him, when he returns to earth, Spawn is in a demonic creature shell, with little to no memory of his previous life. Add to that the fact that his wife has moved on and married his best friend.
McFarlane told Deadline that in his newly imagined version, Spawn is an anti-hero 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 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.
That approach to his title character and his backstory reportedly put McFarlane at odds with studio execs and led to him putting together his own production alongside Blumhouse Productions.
McFarlane also told Deadline that Foxx was the actor he had in mind when he wrote his new script.
“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.’”
After waiting five years to play the character, Foxx told Deadline that he was up for the challenge:
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.