Morbius Almost Had A Very Different Vampire Face, But It Was Too 'Hokey' [Exclusive]

Have you seen the newest movie about the new Marvel "legend" that's had tongues wagging and blood, uh, dripping since the debut of "Morbius" this past weekend? Reviews haven't exactly reserved the most glowing praise for the Jared Leto-starring Sony movie about the "living vampire" (whatever that means?), particularly /Film's own Chris Evangelista. He pulls absolutely no punches in his review, surveying the wreckage of this woefully misguided comic book movie and reporting the grim details:

Perhaps the most infuriating thing about "Morbius" is how inert it ultimately is. This movie isn't aggressively bad, or bad in a fun, entertaining way. It's just plain old regular bad. It's bad in the way something uninspired is bad. Something that was constructed without an ounce of love, care, or interest. It's abundantly clear that no one involved here — not Leto, director Daniel Espinosa, nor writers Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless — has any investment in what they're creating.

So, you know, other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

But whether you agree with the critics or are taking more of a "For the fans!" approach with this critically panned blockbuster (let's not forget, however, that the movie came in with a shockingly low "C+" CinemaScore among regular audiences, too), the film has certainly left viewers plenty to talk about in the aftermath. Even beyond making sense of the actual movie or the post-credits scenes (which raise a few more questions than answers), there remains so many more questions to ask of those involved with making "Morbius" than there are hours in the day. Luckily, our own Jack Giroux made great use of the time he had recently during an extended conversation with director Daniel Espinosa. The interview touches on several facets of the movie, but one in particular is sure to be of interest to those who perhaps raised an eyebrow or two at the chosen design for Dr. Michael Morbius' blood-sucking alter ego.

As it turns out, at one point there were plans to go with a very different vampire face. Check out the details below!

'...It starts looking a bit hokey'

You likely have questions, and director Daniel Espinosa is providing the answers. (Well, some of them, at least. Nobody seems able to account for why exactly so much of the film's marketing never actually translated to the movie itself.) In a wide-ranging interview with /Film's Jack Giroux, he asked Espinosa about whether he had ever considered taking things in a more practical, lo-fi direction by using prosthetics or makeup to sell audiences on Morbius' dastardly vampire look. Whether you enjoyed the largely VFX-heavy approach in the final film or not, Espinosa's intriguing answer may just have you wondering about the what-ifs:

"It started [with makeup]. I started with exactly that because I called [visual effects coordinator] Ryan [Doell] and he said, 'You should do prosthetics.' But the problem was that to get the Morbius look, it's not about negative space. The nose actually goes back and the mouth goes in, and then you build a double the size of Leto's face, and then you can shrink it, it starts looking a bit hokey. That's how it happened."

As much as horror purists may have fond themselves nostalgic for a much more grounded and tactile feel for Morbius (and, indeed, much of the overall film, while we're at it), it's at least reassuring to know that Espinosa, a director who's very familiar with creating tense and claustrophobic thrillers like "2012's "Safe House" or the more recent "Life" in 2017, certainly tried to make the comic book movie's main character as practical as possible. Those previous movies certainly helped audiences feel like they were actually transported into those stories, though much the same can't really be said of "Morbius." Whether taking the vampire design in a slightly different direction wouldn't have singlehandedly saved the movie or anything, perhaps giving viewers just one tangible thing to hold onto could've helped the rest of the movie go down a little easier. Or maybe not.

In any case, the (relatively) modestly-budgeted flick pulled in a (relatively) modest haul at this past weekend's box office, though we'll have to wait and see if it performs well enough to continue on with Sony's glaringly Spidey-less Spider-Man Universe. In the meantime, feel free to read through to the full /Film interview with Daniel Espinosa.

"Morbius" is currently playing in theaters.