Try not to get your hopes up for too much comic relief in the upcoming Spawn movie from Blumhouse and first-time director Todd McFarlane; the comic book icon says that the movie will be pretty bleak.
Spawn is a dark, violent comic that centers on a former soldier who ends up working for Hell after his death, and the version McFarlane wants to make is an R-rated take that downplays Spawn's costumed adventuring and plays up some of the horror and supernatural elements.
“There’s no joy,” McFarlane told Nerdist. “There’s gonna be no fun lines in it, and it’s just gonna be this dark, ugly two hours worth of movie, which is essentially what a lot of supernatural/horror movies are anyway. There’s not a lot of funny in them. And that seems to be a weird hurdle for a lot of people in this city to get over because they sort of go into a superhero/Avengers default all the time.”
This is hardly the first time McFarlane has suggested that the movie will be a disturbing ride; he has made no bones about the fact that Spawn will be something different than the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe movies.
Jamie Foxx is set to play Al Simmons, the man who becomes Spawn. Jeremy Renner will play Detective Twitch Williams, who along with his partner Sam Burke are usually the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the Spawn Universe...but Sam isn't part of the movie, so it seems Twitch will be a little less light as well.
The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero and his company KNB EFX Group will develop the effects for the film. McFarlane is partnering with Blumhouse to produce. The movie still does not have a distributor, but Universal has first-look rights per the studio’s deal with Blumhouse. The film is expected to begin filming in June 2019.
"Well, you know, I'm gonna do some simple stuff that isn't with the norm," McFarlane told ComicBook.com in June. "Even just going R-rated takes it out of the PG-13 category. Now, with it being R, we've now seen a couple of examples of that. Deadpool and Logan seem to be. Venom, I think Venom is gonna be R-rated. So, I'm hoping that our category succeeds. So that it will broaden the thought process of the studio executives to go, 'Oh, it doesn't have to be something onscreen that sells a bunch of toys and T-shirts.' It can just be a something that's a little more gritty.
"For me, I know that I'm at the far end of R. Like, true drama, dark, serious R. I'm treating it as a real movie, minus the one thing that's in there that will be fantastic with this R. So, minus that, everything is gritty. There are no arch villains. There's no headquarters. There are no big ray guns. There are none of some of the trappings that we're used to in some of the other big movies."
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