Jamie Foxx feels Todd McFarlane's upcoming Spawn reboot is "special," and compares it to Todd Phillips' Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Jamie Foxx compares Todd McFarlane’s planned upcoming Spawn reboot to Todd Phillips’ Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix. After he and other artists broke away from Marvel Comics and formed Image Comics, McFarlane created Spawn in 1992. The comic follows Al Simmons, a CIA agent who is double-crossed and murdered by members of his team. In Hell, Simmons makes a deal with the demon Malebolgia so that he can become a Hellspawn and return to the land of the living, to enact revenge and be with his wife.
Following 1997’s panned PG-13 take on the character and HBO’s animated Spawn series, McFarlane has expressed a desire to make an R-rated reboot. The revived version would depict Spawn not as a superhero but as a true anti-hero. The creator plans to direct the horror film and has attracted A-list talent in Foxx as the titular character. It was even previously reported that Foxx convinced Jeremy Renner to star in Spawn as a detective from the source material. However, filming on Spawn was postponed indefinitely, and many wonder if it will come to fruition.
In a recent interview with ComicBook.com, Foxx gave an optimistic update on Spawn. The actor said that he is regularly in contact with McFarlane and believes the their film is “special and original.” Interestingly, Foxx compared the Spawn project to Warner Bros./DC's 2019 Joker. Read the full quote below:
"I will tell you this. I talk to Todd and the thing is that we want to craft something that is so special because I remember seeing the first Spawn movies and then seeing the HBO versions and so we have something that is almost like an original, without giving too much away. But it starts in a way that is so cool. And it's not big budget, you know? And that's what I love about it. It's sort of like how when they did the Joker. The Joker, yes, is here, but the story about this man who was in fire, it's the same with what we're doing with this. And so, we're just like, just getting this right, cooking it right, but staying in contact, keeping the energy going and when we lay it on you, there's gonna be some moments where you go ‘oh man.’ You've been watching everybody shoot their shot and now we're getting ready to shoot ours."
Foxx's comparison between Spawn and Joker is certainly interesting, hinting that the project won't be the usual big-budget fare often associated with live-action super-powered characters. Instead, it may be a more character-driven, almost indie project. What's more, the actor's comments also tease how Spawn will differ in its approach to the titular character. Joker follows a troubled outcast in failed comedian-turned-party-clown Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), who in the film is depicted as an anti-hero. Though while Marvel/Sony movies like Venom and Morbius may label their protagonists as anti-heroes,Phoenix's Joker attempts to be sympathetic before becoming utterly deplorable on a more human level. Given Spawn's anti-hero status, the character's live-action movie may follow Phillips' structure.
Spawn’s delays may have stemmed from studios being reluctant to invest in McFarlane’s unique take on the project. That said, it’s unclear what the film’s budget will even be if/when it moves forward. Regardless, whether Spawn sinks or swims will depend on its story resonating with audiences. Joker was certainly a different kind of comic book movie, and the film was influenced by everything from Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and The Man Who Laughs to Dog Day Afternoon. As Warner Bros./DC Films and Marvel Studios continue to support their filmmakers' creativity, many are experimenting with the superhero genre. However, Spawn is not a DC or Marvel property, so it will be interesting to see who takes a chance on McFarlane and Foxx's vision.