During our recent conversation with Image Comics co-founder and comic book icon Todd McFarlane about his work on Invasion! -- the crossover that inspired this week's DC crossover event on The CW -- we took some time out to ask the writer/artist about the status of a project that's much closer to his current frame of mind: Spawn.
McFarlane launched Spawn as a comic in 1992 and has been publishing it ever since, either writing, drawing, or both as well as serving as the editor and overseer of any talent he brings in to work on the title in his absence.
At the same time, he's been working for years on developing a second feature film based on the character. The movie wouldn't be a sequel to 1998's gritty superhero/monster slugfest, replete with rubber suits and Danny DeVito. Instead, he wants to make it a modestly-budgeted movie that has more in common with horror films than superhero fare.
"It's slowly moving forward, just trying to put all the pieces together both from an artistic and a financial. The intent is trying to finance as much as possible internally and then finding partners who will help in the production of it as we move forward," McFarlane told us. "I can argue getting the money might be harder than getting everybody signed off on the story. What I can tell you is what I've told everybody else: it will be a definite R. I'm not going for the same crowd that Marvel and DC is going for; I'm going for the same crowd that horror film releases going for. People who want to take their boyfriend or girlfriend or go out with the girls and go to the movies and get spooked."
That's not such a surprise; not only has Spawn always been a book that deals in the supernatural, but even before he took on a book full of angels, demons, hellspawns and Violators, McFarlane liked to bring the creepy to his mainstream work as well.
"When I started writing, even at the very beginning when they gave me a new Spider-Man book, it wasn't an accident that in my entire run on that book, the characters in it were The Lizard, Wendigo, Morbius, and Ghost Rider," McFarlane explained. "I was just putting a bunch of monsters in there because I love drawing them. Now Spawn is full of angels and demons."
One potential stumbling block for McFarlane has been the idea that he wants to direct the film himself. In previous interviews, he's mentioned the idea, but when he spoke with us, he told ComicBook.com that at this stage it's a make-or-break part of making a deal.
"I've been living with the idea for so long that I wanted to direct it, but I knew that if I gave it to Hollywood and they spent a lot of money on it then just from a practical point of view, it wouldn't be fair for me to then say 'I want to direct,'" McFarlane said. "It's not good business to spend $80 million on movie and then give it to somebody who's not known for directing movies -- but if you can make a movie for $10 million, they'll get a lot of less experienced directors to do those movies. So I knew I needed to keep the story and the budget both tight so that when I go to Hollywood and I say 'I have to direct it, that's not even a negotiation, so if you can't accept that, then the conversation is over quickly,' then once they understand the scope and size and budget of it, they're like 'Oh, okay. It's not like Todd's coming in here asking for $100 million and then saying let me direct my first movie. He's saying 'Give me $10 million to make a little horror movie and let's see if we can scare some people. We've done that tons of times.'"
Next: Todd McFarlane Still Hopes To Make Spawn/Batman II / Todd McFarlane Talks About His Role in Invasion! / See Todd McFarlane's Original Invasion! Poster / Super Fan Builds Spawn Battle Axe / Marvel Announces Venom #1 Remastered Todd McFarlane Variant
No word on when the next Spawn movie is coming, but Spawn #268 comes out on December 14. You can get it here.