Todd McFarlane’s ‘Spawn’ Won’t, Uh, Feature Much Spawn
When it was announced on Friday that Todd McFarlane would be writing and directing his own Spawn movie for Blumhouse, the non-Weeknd portion of the internet responded with a fair amount of skepticism. Sure, everyone has fond memories of reading Spawn comic books when they were in their teens, but how exactly would an R-rated, low-budget Spawn film stand out from the crowd of bigger and badder superhero movies? Not to mention the fact that McFarlane himself would be directing despite any feature film experience; his entire body of work as a director consists of four music videos shot eight-plus years ago.
But wait, there’s more! If you found all of that confusing, then you’re going to love this: in a conversation with Vulture, McFarlane explained that his biggest challenge was finding a studio to finance an idea for a Spawn movie that didn’t include… well, much of its title character. “The lead isn’t really Spawn,” McFarlane said, “which was always sort of odd when I was pitching it for years and years to Hollywood.” More than that, when Spawn does appear in his own film, he won't actually talk! To hear the writer describe it, the biggest touchpoint for his film is Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws, where the title monster would only appear at selected moments to heighten their impact. “I’m not going to ever have Spawn in a latex suit standing there going, ‘I am here, boys and girls, and I will save you and your day will be grand.’ According to McFarlane, his Spawn will be like “a shark in black water,” something that only pops up a few moments throughout.
I have to admit, I do see some method to McFarlane’s madness, though Jaws doesn’t seem like the perfect touchpoint. Consider something like Shane Black‘s original Predator movie. If McFarlane makes a movie where a group of soldiers (or whatever) are trying to survive while being stalked by a vengeful demon, that could both keep costs down and allow Spawn to do something different from every other superhero movie out there. Can you imagine Warner Bros. making a Batman movie without Batman? Or Marvel making an Iron Man movie without Iron Man? That alone has me somewhat curious to see what Blumhouse and McFarlane can pull off.