Todd McFarlane Talks Low-Budget Spawn Scares

Other than the animated HBO series, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn has never been done right in terms of a good adaptation. In fact, I still have a bit of a headache from the last live-action film. McFarlane knows it sucked, too, and has long been talking about making a new movie featuring the devilish character himself. Today he shed a bit more light on the subject.

Todd McFarlane Talks Low-Budget Spawn Scares“One of the things that happened is after the first movie came out, I started the toy company and sort of got distracted, says McFarlane during an interview with The L.A. Times. “But these days, as you might imagine, with the [Hollywood] success of Batman and Spider-Man and some of the Marvel titles, everybody’s on a comic-book buying binge and the phone constantly rings. My attitude toward it is I can’t get my head wrapped around some big special-effects movie with a supervillain in there. There will be plenty of those and they’ve done pretty well.”

I’ve always seen Spawn as being cut from a different cloth,” McFarlane continues. “It’s more of an urban, psychological story that’s being told. The answer I’ve given the last few years is that Spawn should be a small-budget movie in which the only thing that’s out of the ordinary is this thing that intellectually we know as Spawn and there would only be a handful of people that see it. I call it ‘it’ because it never talks, it’s just a force of nature. Really, the story revolves around the people who are trying to decide: ‘Is the ghost alive? Is the shadow actually moving?’ When I give that pitch, some of the executives scratch their heads. To a lot of people, a movie where the [title] character doesn’t talk doesn’t make any sense. There have been a few movies like that. Alien, you know, that guy didn’t say much. Or Jaws, the shark didn’t have too many speaking lines. Jaws is the closest example, the movie wasn’t about the shark, it’s about the people chasing the shark.”

On what his pitch for the film would be, McFarlane tells the Times, “The idea I pitch is that the movie shouldn’t be about superheroes and laser beams — it’s about the id of people and the group of people caught up in the story and seeing things out of the corner of their eye. And when I give the pitch, I also say that I will write and direct it. There’s the non-negotiable pieces of it. Then I have four suitors who say, ‘Yeah, cool, when do we start?’ It means we’re not looking for a $20-million actor and we’re not looking for a big-budget extravaganza with lots of special effects.

The story that I pitch is very tight, very contained, but done right. I want a movie that gets people’s hearts racing. I want to scare them. Spawn, done right, is a creepy character. Instead of a superhero who just stands there. That’s why Batman was always the coolest of all the good guys. I never had one moment of affinity for [Superman]. He was a Boy Scout right from the moment he hit the ground. He was always polite and said the right thing. I never felt like he was in danger because he could spin planets on his finger. Batman is a guy who could die if you threw him out of a window. More than that, even though he had women throwing themselves at him and millions of dollars, all he wanted to do was to wait until 3 a.m. and the pitch of black and say, ‘Time to put the costume on and scare the bad guys.’ I relate way more to that guy. Spawn is Batman untethered, without the corporation behind it. Batman without limits, Batman who kills the Joker.”

If there’s any justice in this world, we’ll see this flick happen.

Uncle Creepy

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  • Vanvance1

    MacFarlane draws well but that doesn’t mean he can write a decent story.

    I’ve never seen how Spawn is anything but derivative of many more interesting comic characters who came before him.