Fans of the iconic Image Comics character Spawn got the news of a lifetime during San Diego Comic-Con when creator Todd McFarlane announced Blumhouse Productions — which produced indie horror hits Get Out and Insidious — as the studio behind the R-rated reboot, written by McFarlane himself. Now, in a new interview, the indie comics revolutionary reveals he had Leonardo DiCaprio in mind to play the lead role in his film.
If McFarlane had his way, the Oscar-winner (finally!) wouldn’t be playing Al Simmons, the ex-Marine reborn into hell’s greatest weapon Spawn, but Twitch, one-half of the hard-boiled detectives who investigate the seedy underworld of McFarlane’s universe.
In a new video interview with Vulture, McFarlane talks a little bit about the making of his new Spawn script and why he thought DiCaprio was so prominent in his head. Turns out, it was all because of DiCaprio’s performance in Martin Scorsese’s 2013 black comedy, The Wolf of Wall Street.
“When I was writing, I had Leonardo DiCaprio in my head,” McFarlane says in a conversation with Vulture. “I don’t know if people have seen The Wolf of Wall Street, but there was a manic-ness in him. He was going up and down, up and down, it was almost dizzying emotionally to go with him.”
McFarlane then explains why that sort of dynamic range is so important in Spawn, which based on McFarlane’s previous comments will likely follow two city detectives, Sam and Twitch, who investigate a supernatural force. “There are parts in this movie where I’m gonna need an actor to be able to make those movies, in terms of normality, in terms of manic, in terms of anger, in terms of joy, and be able to go to some extremes in it.”
Twitch was last played by Mike McShane in the Emmy-winning animated series, Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, which aired in 1997.
One reason why McFarlane’s choice in DiCaprio is so compelling is that McFarlane’s target budget of $10 million is just a fraction of most films that DiCaprio stars in. The Wolf of Wall Street, the movie that led McFarlane to DiCaprio, was shot for $100 million, literally ten times more than what McFarlane wants for Spawn. The Revenant, the 2015 film that earned DiCaprio the award for Best Actor, was shot for $135 million.
But, historically, budgets aren’t make-or-break for all actors. So long as the material is good, actors will take a severe pay cut — just ask any star who’s been in a Wes Anderson movie. And with Blumhouse bringing its indie cred to Spawn, maybe DiCaprio could be convinced to play Twitch.