Todd McFarlane Explains How Far His R Rating Will Go for the Spawn Movie

For several years now, comic book legend Todd McFarlane has worked to get a feature film made based on his Image Comics character, Spawn. The big challenge? McFarlane is determined to direct the film himself, and has repeatedly characterized the film as a horror movie rather than a superhero flick, and featuring bone-crushing action and blood. For more than five years, he has been trying to get the movie made to his own standards, working from the assumption that he knows Spawn better than anybody else, and the only way he and the comic's hardcore fans will be totally satisfied is if he can do it the way he sees it in his head.

Of course, it has also been five years of making vague statements that fans don't fully understand. He can't, after all, give that much away before the movie is funded and actively moving forward.

"I think in between [The Boys and a traditional horror movie]. We've got a different group of people on board, and they might not be as darkly bent as I am," McFarlane admitted. "If you ask me, I'd make it ugly, dark, make children cry. But the play we're trying for, and we'll see whether it works, and we'll know by the end of this year -- we're taking a pretty big moonshot of what we think we can pull off in Hollywood. If we can pull it off, it will be a big deal, financially, and once you get into those conversations, they're going to want to do it in a way that they can then get their money back. So somebody else's definition of mature and sophisticated and dark may not match what I want, but at some point, if we end up consummating that deal, then they have the right to get their money back. I would want the same thing in return. I do know who's involved, I do know the direction it's heading through right now. I think the visual of the character itself will dictate part of it, and we designed that character a couple of years ago. Greg Nicotero did that, so all that's there, and I'm hoping that I can still get that -- even if you dampen it down from my darkness, if you've got this look, then I think you'll keep the seriousness of what we're trying to do."

McFarlane was previously in talks with Blumhouse, the studio behind numerous high-concept horror franchises, but it sounds like that may have moved to somewhere a little more mainstream. What do you think about the possibility of a Spawn movie that isn't quite as dark or gritty as previously promised? Sound off in the comments below.