Todd McFarlane on the lessons he learned to get the new Spawn movie on the right track

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Todd McFarlane’s new Spawn reboot from Blumhouse recently added top talent with serious comic book adaptation roots to its roster. Scott Silver, who helped write Joker; Malcolm Spellman, soon to be writing the fourth Captain America movie; and newcomer Matt Mixon have signed on to bring Spawn back from the dead once again.

The long-running comic book series previously spawned a 1997 live-action movie starring Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen, and John Leguizamo, as well as an HBO animated series that premiered at the same time. McFarlane expressed his excitement about the new additions to the project last week and is ready to get to work on this Spawn reboot, and said the collaboration process so far has been stellar.

“Everyone wants the same thing: we want the best movie possible that will reach a global audience,” Spawn creator McFarlane told GameSpot at New York Comic-Con. “If we have a hit movie, I’d say 99.5% of people have never heard of Spawn or read a Spawn comic because somebody doesn’t buy comics.”

“What will matter to them is that they see ‘from the producer of’, ‘from the director of’, ‘co-creator of Venom’ and all of them come together to do this thing, ‘what’s it called? Spam? Shrimp? Oh, Spawn!’ So they might not know who Scott Silver is, but they know Joker, they don’t know Malcolm Spellman, but they know Falcon and Winter Solider, or at that point Captain America 4. We’ll keep adding those people A-list behind the camera [and] we’ll have a top-notch cast by the time it’s all put together.”

McFarlane had actually written a treatment for the film, originally intended to be more of a low-budget feature that he felt was “grounded” compared to the previous effort over 20 years ago. He explained why this build didn’t work and how Jason Blum helped provide support.

“I had written a script and put it in front of some people and there was only lukewarm reactions. So at this point you can improve your script or ask someone else to do it, especially someone who has a better track record than you,” McFarlane said. “So [producer] Jason Blum, the producer, knew Scott and he was fresh out of Joker. He’s ultra-talented and has proven that R-rated comics work.”

The comics icon has expressed some concern about how the team will bring drama to the film, but doesn’t want to repeat what he’s done before with how he’s introduced the character. He went on to say that no one else on the team wanted him either.

“I’m more worried [about whether] if he and Malcolm can do the drama. I know they can do comic book stuff, but everyone wants to do something different when it comes to superhero movies here. No one on our team wants to do a $200 million special effects extravaganza. I did this move. I saw this movie.”

This new Spawn movie has been in development since 2017 with Jamie Foxx attached to play Al Simmons and Spawn. However, the other big name that has been connected to the project might not be a safe bet. Jeremy Renner’s involvement at this time is uncertain, as McFarlane said the information is above his pay grade.

“I’ve learned that Hollywood moves at a much slower pace than what I’m used to,” McFarlane joked. “These multi-year processes and this in a pandemic, it disrupts my circadian rhythm. I just have to do shit, but that’s the nature of this business. Sometimes they invest hundreds of millions of dollars and it requires a verification process longer for things, so I get it. But while they take their time getting a “yes” about anything, I’ll be here at my day job.

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