Update: While Jamie Foxx has been confirmed for the title role in Todd McFarlane’s Spawn reboot, the Hell-spawned superhero is not actually the main character of his own movie. Instead, the protagonist of Spawn is Detective Maximilian Steven Percival “Twitch” Williams III, a cop described by McFarlane as being like Sheriff Brody in Jaws. Spawn is, therefore, the movie’s shark.
For the part of Twitch, McFarlane has cast Jeremy Renner, according to Deadline. “He will be the face of the film,” says McFarlane, who created the comic book characters, adapted them for the screenplay and will be making his directorial debut with the feature. He continues to praise Renner as the best person to take the lead in Spawn:
“I’m a huge fan of his. The character doesn’t need to be a bodybuilder or GQ handsome. I was looking for somebody who’s a person you’ve met before; I needed someone who can pull off the grief of an average human being. I’ve seen Jeremy do that in more than a few of his movies. He was at the top of my list.”
With two Oscar-caliber actors as the two main characters, this version of Spawn is looking to be a lot better than the 1997 movie, which only sort of teased an appearance from Twitch. And for his part, Renner gets to play in a grittier comic book movie sandbox compared to his involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
(Previously published article follows.)
Fans have been wanting a new Spawn movie for more than 20 years now. The 1997 adaptation of Todd McFarlane’s popular Image comic book was not well-received by critics or audiences — its Rotten Tomatoes score is only 18% and its domestic box office gross of $55 million was barely more than its production budget.
I’ll admit, as a fan at that time, I kinda liked John Leguizamo as the villainous Clown/Violator, but the special effects were terrible for how much they were depended on (and surprisingly bad for the movie being directed by a talented visual effects supervisor), and the script and rest of the cast left a lot to be desired.
McFarlane himself spearheaded the potential for a redo a few years ago, and now it’s not only really happening but has some prestigious talent on board to make us fans excited for a Spawn movie that the material deserves. According to Deadline, Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx has officially been cast as Al Simmons, a.k.a. Spawn.
Check out everything else we know so far about the movie below.
Who is Spawn?
The main character of Spawn is Al Simmons, a black ops soldier for the CIA who is killed by a former partner. When he arrives in Hell, he makes a deal with a demon to return so that he can see his wife again. But he’s resurrected as an unrecognizably scarred creature with a malleable suit, with which he becomes a vigilante antihero.
Think Deadpool meets Patrick Swayze in Ghost, but not as funny or romantic. McFarlane describes him to Deadline as thus:
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?
Will the movie be an origin story?
The plot of the Spawn reboot is not known, but the main character’s origin is not being retold. Apparently Spawn won’t be the movie’s main character, either. Instead, a detective character from the comics named Twitch will be the protagonist, or at least the story will be seen through his POV.
McFarlane has previously described it as “The Departed meets Paranormal Activity.” Now he’s also likening it to A Quiet Place and the older movie Jacob’s Ladder plus the work of John Carpenter and Alfred Hitchcock.
Are there plans for a franchise?
McFarlane is hoping for a brief movie series, one that will gradually share more of the title character’s origin. He explained to Deadline:
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 you want to see something creepy and powerful where you go, just what the hell was that? I’m not going to explain how Spawn does what he does; he is just going to do it. We’ll eventually do some of the background if we make a trilogy, but that’s not this first movie. The first movie is just saying, do you believe? And if you believe than that’s good because I’m hoping to take you for a long ride with this franchise.
Who is starring in the movie?
Jamie Foxx, who has now been confirmed for the role of Simmons/Spawn, is the only known cast member so far. Foxx has been in mind for the character for the last five years, since the actor himself pitched an idea to McFarlane. The creator-turned-filmmaker says of Foxx, who will speak almost no dialogue in the movie:
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.’
Here’s an artist’s interpretation of Foxx in the role:
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) May 29, 2018
Who is making the movie?
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane is making his directorial debut with the movie using his own script based on his own comic. The redo will be produced by Blumhouse, which is best known for horror movies but has been branching out into its own spin of the superhero genre with Split and its upcoming sequel Glass, as well as the planned comic book adaptation This American Way.
How will this be different from other superhero movies?
By not really being one, according to McFarlane. In the past he has acknowledged that his adaptation will be sort of a supernatural horror film rather than a superhero action movie. Also, the budget is only going to be about $10-12 million, according to Deadline. No, that doesn’t mean it will look even cheaper than the 1997 version. They can do more with less these days.
Will it be another PG-13 take on the material?
No, this Spawn will be dark and R-rated, as it should be.
When does it come out?
No exact date is set, but currently the plan is for a 2019 release.