Many fans of Spawn are eager to see Todd McFarlane’s much anticipated reboot eventually materialize, regardless of how long it takes. In some possibly surprising news, though, someone less enamored with the prospect of the movie is Michael Jai White, the star of the 1997 original.
While speaking to CBR, White was asked what he thought of the ultimate viability of the project and McFarlane’s role in it, and had this to say:
“He’s been trying to get a new movie up and going for 23 years so I don’t know. [Laughs] The last time I saw him, he was telling me about his idea of Spawn being ethereal fog that you don’t see, like Jaws, and he strikes and you never see him and I’m like ‘Okay, good luck with that!’ Personally, I wish him well, that would be a major investment.”
“I don’t know Todd to be a director at all. It’s kind of like Stan Lee: He created the character but he doesn’t direct him and I guess somebody would have to pony up a lot of money for Todd McFarlane to direct for his first time, directing this movie idea that he has. I’ve heard about Jamie Foxx starring in it and wish them well. I don’t know, maybe it continues because this is what people like to hear from Todd McFarlane. He can get attention by promising another Spawn; I don’t get it.”
It certainly seems that White’s reservations are less to do with the new film in and of itself, and more in regards to McFarlane’s insistence that he be the one to helm the entire production. The writer’s catalogue of directing credits only amounts to a few music videos, and he’s certainly lacking in the technical experience that you’d think would be necessary for a comic book action movie. Even one such as this which is being made in line with the comparatively modest scale of Blumhouse productions.
Also, the “ethereal fog” idea wouldn’t have much traction. McFarlane is presumably interested in reworking the character into something a little different, but that first requires audience familiarity to pull off with any meaning. Spawn is not the household name his creator seems to think he is, and crafting an unknowable entity out of an antihero with whom many people are unfamiliar in the first place might end up being somewhat redundant, as any big reveal would be essentially meaningless.
While a reboot of Spawn in our current cinematic climate of comic book adaptations being taken seriously is something that a lot of folks may be interested in, it’s hard to not agree with White that perhaps someone with more relevant experience would be a better choice to bring Al Simmons to life in the movie he always deserved to be seen in.