Greg Nicotero is getting "down-and-dirty" with the gritty Spawn reboot from creator Todd McFarlane. Nicotero, the special effects make-up artist behind The Walking Dead and co-founder of the Oscar-winning KNB EFX Group (Suicide Squad), reveals an update on McFarlane's David Fincher-inspired reboot for Halloween and Purge producers Blumhouse. Described by McFarlane as a "hard" R-rated supernatural thriller, Nicotero says the comic book creator is still "very passionate" about the long-gestating redo of the 1997 film that starred Michael Jai White in the role that McFarlane is passing to Jamie Foxx.
Speaking to ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis ahead of San Diego Comic-Con, where Nicotero presents a virtual panel for Season 3 of Shudder's Creepshow, the special make-up effects artist teased the "really cool" designs he's scared up for Spawn.
"We have designs ... [McFarlane] came in, and he said, 'Look, we're doing this thing, and it's going to be low budget, and it's kind of down and dirty. And I want it to feel more like the animated show [Todd McFarlane's Spawn], where it's like Spawn meets David Fincher,'" Nicotero said. "He wanted to do this kind of gritty down and dirty thing. And so, we did a lot of concept work here. We did a bunch of design busts and a lot of really, really cool stuff. And then it kind of stalled."
The Jason Blum-produced reboot, which has attached Jeremy Renner to star opposite Foxx, remains in active development. In 2020, McFarlane said his "dark and creepy" take was going to happen that year after the blockbuster success of DC's Joker — the dark and R-rated Batman villain origin story that grossed more than $1 billion worldwide in 2019.
"Every once in a while, I'll reach out and go, 'Hey,'" Nicotero said. "I'll look at the busts in my office and be like, 'Hey, Todd, what's going on with this? Are we ever going to make this?' Because I'm really in love with the design work we did."
He continued: "Look, I hope it will happen. I know he's very passionate about it. And look, if you really think about Spawn, Todd McFarland was way ahead of his time, man, way out of his time in terms of what he did with that character. I really do feel that there's a world where there's a great Spawn movie out there."
Four years after Blumhouse confirmed McFarlane would write and direct a low-budgeted reboot of his Image Comics creation, Spawn has yet to claw free of development hell. Speaking to ComicBook in June, Blum said "we're going to make it," adding it "takes a while to get the script right."