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Script-Writing Process Under Way with Todd McFarlane/Steve Niles at the Helm

Good news for Spawn film fans. After recently purchasing the rights to the second movie, Columbia Pictures executives held a sit-down with Todd McFarlane (who will produce and co-write the screenplay), Steve Niles (screenplay co-writer) and Terry Fitzgerald (also producer and president of Todd McFarlane Entertainment).

    Columbia Pictures approved the project after hearing Todd's story concept pitch. Though there are still many hurdles to overcome before there's a finished product, production could start as soon as a script is approved, barring any industry strikes. Todd and Steve are currently at work on the script.

    The second Spawn film will be very different from 1997's Spawn, the $100 million-grossing superhero, special effect film. The new movie will be R-rated and much darker in tone.

    "Columbia essentially bought into the franchise," Todd said, "based on the first film and the Spawn name. However, they're fully behind the fact that I envision this to be a very different movie."

    McFarlane sees the new Spawn movie as being a film in which the protagonist (Spawn) isn't necessarily the focus of the film. Thematically imagining a cross-pollination of "Silence of the Lambs" and "LA Confidential" would get you in the ballpark, according to McFarlane.

    "Spawn is sort of an elemental force of nature. " Todd said, "Plus you've got cops, serial killers and of course Spawn."

    As a matter of fact, the lead characters in the film will be Sam and Twitch, the two New York City police detectives who began life in the first issue of the Spawn comic book, eventually branching out into their own monthly crime drama series.

    "Sam and Twitch as the lead characters, will be much like (Richard) Dreyfuss and (Roy) Scheider were in Jaws. Although the movie was called Jaws and featured a shark, the story was really about those two guys hunting Jaws," Todd said. "Ours is similar: It's called Spawn, but it's really about people chasing shadows. It's a story about the people in Spawn's world, and you'll find that Spawn had an influence on these people's lives. It's not an action movie in the truest sense; it's more of a psychological thriller."

    McFarlane hopes fans will understand and support the reinterpretation of his creation.

    "At no time, in my mind, will you ever see Spawn in his full regalia, standing there in his cape and his costume. You're not going to get that," Todd said. "I think the translation of the character may bug some people. But I'm more concerned about making the best movie possible."

    The only downfall? The pending writer's and actor's strikes in Hollywood, which could seriously affect the release date of the movie. Very likely the film will be released in 2002.

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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