Posted on Friday, January 14th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
Todd McFarlane is about to cross the two-hundred issue line with Spawn — hell of an achievement for a non-Marvel or DC book, no matter what you think of the title. That sort of longevity arguably affords him some indulgence to talk up another Spawn film. There’s obviously an audience for the book, and consequently there could be one for another film.
And, much to my surprise, as he talks about what he wants out of another movie, I find myself agreeing with him. It’s easy to dismiss Mr. McFarlane as an egocentric blowhard (I’ve certainly done it more often than not) and, while I’ve never bought into his vision of Spawn per se, I can’t deny that his description of a low-budged, constrained comic book film is more appealing than many other comic-related pitches out there.
My attitude toward it is I can’t get my head wrapped around some big special-effects movie with a supervillain in there. There will be plenty of those and they’ve done pretty well… I’ve always seen Spawn as being cut from a different cloth. It’s more of an urban, psychological story that’s being told. The answer I’ve given the last few years is that Spawn should be a small-budget movie in which the only thing that’s out of the ordinary is this thing that intellectually we know as Spawn and there would only be a handful of people that see it.
So, essentially a movie like the Crow reboot we’ve been hearing about? With Spawn asthe center it’s not the movie for me, but I have a feeling that fans of the comic would love it. It’s probably not the sort of film that is going to rope in Leonardo DiCaprio, as he’s previously talked about wanting to do. (A note: Leo and ‘low-budget’ don’t really go together.) And getting that movie made might be difficult, because the pitch isn’t the easiest, and studio execs are notoriously, well, simple-minded.
When I give that pitch, some of the executives scratch their heads. To a lot of people, a movie where the [title] character doesn’t talk doesn’t make any sense. There have been a few movies like that. “Alien,” you know, that guy didn’t say much. Or ”Jaws,” the shark didn’t have too many speaking lines. “Jaws” is the closest example, the movie wasn’t about the shark, it’s about the people chasing the shark.
Here’s some more comments revealing that, at the very least, Mr. McFarlane sounds like he’s got the right intentions:
The story that I pitch is very tight, very contained, but done right. I want a movie that gets people’s hearts racing. I want to scare them. Spawn, done right, is a creepy character. Instead of a superhero who just stands there…The idea I pitch is that the movie shouldn’t be about superheroes and laser beams — it’s about the id of people and the group of people caught up in the story and seeing things out of the corner of their eye. And when I give the pitch, I also say that I will write and direct it. There’s the nonnegotiable pieces of it. Then I have four suitors who say, “Yeah, cool, when do we start?” It means we’re not looking for a $20-million actor and we’re not looking for a big-budget extravaganza with lots of special effects.
Oh. he wants to write and direct? That might be a sticking point. We can argue about this in the comments, but I’ve never been able to get behind the guy as a writer. But we can agree to disagree there — what we need to know is whether or not he can convince people with money that he can write and direct it. The end of that comment suggests that he’s had some nibbles, but it’s a little vague.