Todd McFarlane has had an illustrious career in the comics industry and is best known to the world as the creator of gritty anti-hero Spawn. During a recent interview, McFarlane revealed Hollywood's changed attitude towards an R-rated Spawn movie, and three things that need to happen for a Spawn reboot to be successful.
"Hollywood is a different place right now; they understand the value of what Spawn can bring to a reasonable budget. Joker lit the fire, up until now it felt like I was pushing up this bolder on my own, but now there are others joining me who know that these stories should be told.
I have very few demands for the movie. It has to be Rated R, there's no debate around that. With the story I want to tell, my intent goes back to that Spawn Cloud. I am less concerned about what happens in the movie as long as Spawn is "cool" and "badass". The last demand is that I am the director. That's it. Everything else is up for conversation."
In the comics, Albert "Al" Francis Simmons worked for a top-secret government organization performing various assassinations. After getting betrayed by a fellow mercenary, Al found himself in hell, poised to spend an eternity paying for his crimes in his former life.
Instead, Al struck a deal with the demon Malebolgia to become a hellspawn in exchange for getting to see his wife one last time. This leads to Al's second life as Spawn, the agent of Hell who uses his necro powers to deliver a brutal form of punishment against mortal sinners.
The Spawn series is famous for pushing the boundaries of violence shown in comics. The previous adaptation of Spawn, a live-action movie featuring Michael Jai White in the lead role, tried to tone down the graphic content, and the result was a watered-down retelling of Spawn's journey that left both fans and critics dissatisfied.
It is understandable that this time around, Todd McFarlane would be pushing for an R-rated Spawn movie that can finally embrace all the bizarre, violent and graphic elements of the storyline. With the success of Deadpool and its sequel, and Joker, producers are finally willing to make comic book movies with plenty of blood and gore, even if it means the rating prevents a key demographic of such films, the underage teens, from going to the theater.
McFarlane's other two demands, apart from an R-rating, reflect his desire for more creative control over the movie of the character that he created. A big part of Spawn's appeal has always been his gothic style of presentation, and making him look 'cool' and 'badass' like in the comics would go a long way towards making him appealing to new audiences.
While McFarlane does not have any live-action movies to his credit as a director, he has been closely involved in producing animated Spawn movies, so it is not too much of a stretch to imagine he has very specific ideas for how a proper Spawn movie should look, and would want to make it himself. This story comes from Shoryuken.