With his creation of Venom hitting the silver screen recently and a new Spawn movie finally happening just around the corner, Todd McFarlane is having one hell of a run with the comic book movie world. Fans will be more than happy to know the creator of our favorite hellspawn is taking on full responsibility to ensure his character’s story is done right. While the original 1997 film had a good use of its visual make-up, casting and the humor actor John Leguizamo brought as Clown and Violator, it was by no means a perfect film and executed disappointingly with critics and fans alike.
But what did exactly hold it back aside from the absence of McFarlane? Leguizamo himself has an idea of why.
The actor, known for portraying the original Clown and his demonic alter ego, was present at New York Comic Con’s Artist Alley, promoting his comic Freak. We stopped by to speak with him about his time on Spawn.
When asked what he really felt was the biggest factor in Spawn’s unfulfilled potential on being a great comic book film, Leguizamo responded:
“The thing that Todd McFarlane brought to the comic book industry, which he saved in the early 1990s, was the edge. The darkness, the vulgarity, the violence. I think the movie would have profited for more violence, more vulgarity and being darker. Let it be truer to the comics.”
With Jamie Foxx confirmed for the titular hell-spawn and a rumored Jeremy Renner as Twitch, we can only be excited who will be cast next. The original actor of Clown, Leguizamo also shared who he would personally like to see take on the role for the reboot:
“Well I know Jamie Foxx is going to be Spawn, so I was thinking for me – maybe Fluffy. You know, the comedian? He’s big, won’t even need a suit. (laughs)”
Fluffy, AKA Gabriel Iglesias, is an intriguing choice. In addition to being one of the most subscribed YouTube channels for his stand-up, Fluffy has had his time in the film world with the likes of Magic Mike, Coco and The Book of Life. Perhaps in addition to his appearance, his experience in voice work may also bring his own unique version of Clown’s voice.
Given the time the film was released and being a comic book writer himself now, the perspective of his response really isn’t too far-fetched. Although the likes of dark hero films like Tim Burton’s Batman showed a serious superhero film was profitable, the late 90s were a “safe space” with the likes of more family friendly interpretations like Batman & Robin, The Mask and Judge Dredd.
Campiness and marketability took the toll over storytelling. Though some films like Blade and The Crow managed to get away with it, it wasn’t until 2005’s Batman Begins that the return of a dark comic book movie would be brought back to the mainstream.
Thankfully, we are living in a more accepting time where not only a darker hero film is more mainstream, but R-rated comic book adaptations are proven to be just as marketable. McFarlane expressed this faithful adaptation with an update in 2016:
“What I can tell you is what I’ve told everybody else: it will be a definite R. I’m not going for the same crowd that Marvel and DC is going for; I’m going for the same crowd that horror film releases going for. People who want to take their boyfriend or girlfriend or go out with the girls and go to the movies and get spooked.”
Speaking of older actors of Spawn, McFarlane mentioned his hopes of bringing back Keith David for the film:
“I’m going to get the [Spawn] movie out and then we still have the rights for TV and animation and we’ll just figure it out. I’ve also got to figure out how to get Keith David in my movie, too. Just for one line.”
It isn’t too long before we get more updates on the film with production starting soon. Stay tuned for more.
Spawn is speculated for a 2019 release date. Leguizamo’s comic Freak is currently available on Amazon.