Todd McFarlane’s Spawn has got a very impressive cast, a cool-sounding script and some kickass people behind the scenes. But while all the pieces are in place, the film has spent a very long time in development hell. Possibly because the movie has a rather out-there concept, McFarlane is having trouble getting a studio to finance it.
His plan is to treat Spawn like the shark in Jaws, a mostly off-screen presence constantly talked about but largely left to exist in the audience’s imaginations. A convenient side effect of this is that not having a hellfire-powered nightmare superhero on screen all the time saves on budget, which is why McFarlane hopes to convince studios that they should hand over the movie to him to direct as his debut feature.
But now, in a new interview with YouTube channel Be Terrific, it seems there’s light on the horizon, with Todd saying:
“Right now it’s being polished by another writer-director from the script that we handed him. He’s supposed to be done with it here in a few weeks, and then once we sort of go back and forth and tighten it up a little bit, then we’re going into Hollywood and we’re gonna get a yes or no. Here’s what I can tell you: I have people with money on the sidelines. There are people that are gonna help me make this movie. The question is, do we go into Hollywood, make a deal with Hollywood, go and make the production, and then come back? Or do I take the outside money, go make it, and then come back to Hollywood?”
Either way, the movie’s coming. It’s not an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’ I just think that it would be better for the process if we could attach one of the studios in advance, and then go put it out. Because then we’d be able to make an announcement of the release date, and a couple things that matter to the fans, knowing that it’s coming instead of making it and trying to get the release date later.”
McFarlane then went on to explain that it’s difficult getting other cast members to sign on without a studio’s confirmed involvement:
“Yes. And the reason is because their lawyers and agents and stuff will say there’s a little bit of an unknown, so we don’t know if they’re gonna get a deal, if they do get a deal, how many theaters they’re gonna get it released in, what kind of advertising campaign, blah blah blah. They like the sure thing. So there’s leverage on the studio side, because they know that it may retain some of the talent that is either on or could come onto it.”
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We’ve recently heard that the success of Joker might’ve tipped the balance in Spawn‘s favor. The two don’t share a huge amount in common, but its billion dollar box office haul at least proves than an R-rated, small-scale comic book movie can work. And if all else falls through, McFarlane has indicated that he’s willing to start up a Kickstarter to get a budget that way.
However it eventually ends up getting made, I hope this project finds its way to cinemas. Spawn is a great character with a ton of potential. The 1990s movie may not have been very good, but it was certainly ambitious. Plus, the animated series Todd McFarlane’s Spawn continues to pick up new fans. Here’s hoping that they can get the hellbound antihero in front of the cameras sooner rather than later.