The upcoming Spawn reboot, based on the Image Comics property of the same name, has finally found its star. Jamie Foxx will play the role of Al Newman in the 2019 film. Additionally, it will be directed and written by series creator Todd McFarlane.
The father of the antihero from Hell has had Foxx in mind for quite some time. “Jamie came to my office five years ago, and he had an idea about Spawn, and we talked about it,” McFarlane told Deadline. “I never forgot him, and when I was writing this script, you sort of plug people in, and he was my visual guy and I never let go of him. When I got done and my agents and everybody was talking about what actor, I said, I’m going to Jamie first and until he says no, I don’t want to think about anyone else because I’ve never had anyone else in my head.’ Luckily, he hadn’t forgotten either. I said, ‘Hey, I’m back to talk about Spawn again,’ and he was like, ‘let’s do it.'”
In Spawn, Foxx’s character, Al Newman, is a part of a CIA black ops team who is betrayed by his friends and murdered. When Newman makes it to Hell, he is offered the chance to become Spawn with the promise he’ll be reunited with his wife. However, his wife has since moved on and Spawn is on a crusade to rid the world of evil.
While Al Newman doesn’t appear in the comic series, his backstory and motivations are nearly identical to Al Simmons, who debuted in Spawn #1, in 1992. The comic was wildly popular and–pun intended–spawned an HBO animated series as well as a 1997 feature film which starred Michael Jai White as Al Simmons.
Additionally, McFarlane discussed horror films and made it seem like once Newman becomes Spawn, he won’t say much or talk at all: “The scariest movies, from Jaws to John Carpenter’s The Thing, or The Grudge and The Ring, the boogeyman doesn’t talk,” McFarlane said. “It confuses people because of the comic book industry, and because they all default into their Captain America mindset, and I keep saying, no, get into John Carpenter’s mindset or Hitchcock. This is not a man in a rubber suit; it’s not a hero that’s going to come and save the damsel. It’s none of that. At the end of the movie, I’m hoping that the audience will say either, is this a ghost that turns into a man, or is it a man that turns into a ghost?”
McFarlane went on to say that he plans on making this into a trilogy, and he’s “not inclined in this first movie to do an origin story.” The writer/director wants this movie to have a hard-R rating and expects the budget to be between $10-12 million.
That could be a pretty big challenge. Dredd, which came out in 2012, was another low-budget movie based on a comic property which cost $50 million to make, but only made $35 million in the box office, even though its beloved by fans and received more positive reviews than negative.