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Todd McFarlane Offers Spawn Movie Update & Teases Big Announcement

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Exclusive: Comic creator Todd McFarlane teases “a big announcement” to come about his Spawn movie reboot later this year at New York Comic Con.

Comic book creator Todd McFarlane teased a big announcement at Comic-Con 2022 for the upcoming Spawn movie reboot. First created in 1992 for Image Comics, Spawn is a dark antihero who was once a government assassin before he was killed and returned to the realm of the living after making a Faustian deal to become a Hellspawn. In 1997 the first live-action film adaptation starring Michael Jai White in the titular role was released in theaters, but it failed to strike a chord with critics and it mostly garnered negative reviews. The film also suffered from having its original R-rated cut toned down by producers to achieve a PG-13 rating. These disappointments aside, it still resulted in the creation of an animated series that would run on HBO for three seasons.

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In early 2015 McFarlane announced that he was working on a fresh reboot of the property which he not only intended to pen but also to serve as his directorial debut. Set to be produced by horror film production company Blumhouse, and at one point Jamie Foxx was attached to star in the title role alongside lead Jeremy Renner (who helped convince Foxx to join too). Since its original announcement however, the project has faced numerous delays though McFarlane has remained ardent in his constant attempts to get the film off the ground. Then in August last year, a new writer, Brian Tucker, was brought on board to provide a new version of the script.


Screen Rant hosted the comic book legend at their San Diego Comic-Con 2022 media suite and asked McFarlane about whether he had any further news on his planned Spawn film. Confirming that despite delays due to the pandemic the project is still moving forward and is “adding pieces.” McFarlane reveals that he has some big news planned for New York Comic Con in October:

We decided, “You know what, let’s just do it in New York.” We’ll do it in New York [Comic Con].

Are we moving? Are we adding pieces? All of the above, yes. The best I can say right now, besides all that’s been happening, is that it kind of got slowed down during the pandemic and then picked back up. Especially given that, for a while, the only movies people were going to during the pandemic were superhero movies – minus James Bond. Now you get Maverick, and some of the big blockbusters that are coming back to normal.

But at New York Comic Con, there is going to be a big announcement.

With comic book movies dominating a significant portion of the box office, the time for Spawn to make a theatrical return is riper than ever especially as it can explore a different tone than the competition. Movie-going audiences are also far more accustomed to the prospect of an R-rated comic adaptation, with films like Joker, Deadpool and Logan proving that studios can branch out beyond a family-friendly PG rating and still do well at the box office. In order for a Spawn reboot to properly honor its comic book origins and succeed it will inevitably need to chase a similar rating, unlike its predecessor.


While it is disappointing that McFarlane does not have more specific news to share at this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, fans will be overjoyed to hear that the project is still firmly in the pipeline. With any luck the big news he is teasing for October will include a potential release date, allowing Spawn fans to begin marking their calendars in anticipation. Fans will undoubtedly also be keeping their fingers crossed that Foxx and Renner are still involved in the project after all this time.




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‘Day Shift’ Stuntman-Turned-Director J.J. Perry on Shooting Intricate Vampire Action Sequences

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J.J. Perry started his career in Hollywood by getting hit by cars. Now, he’s taking on his first project for the big screen. In “Day Shift,” Perry used his extensive knowledge of stunts and action scenes to create vampire-slaying sequences with garlic grenades, katanas and silver bullets.

“I prepped this movie so hard,” Perry told Variety Wednesday evening at the red carpet premiere for the film in Los Angeles. “I think we ended up with, like, 65 setups. [The first day on set] was the opening fight in the grandma’s house. We shot that in three days. It would usually take people about five or six days. We were ready. We knew what we were doing. A bunch of action guys doing action stuff.”

“Day Shift” stars Jamie Foxx as a father and vampire hunter in the San Fernando Valley. Alongside friends, played by Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg, Foxx takes on the villainous “Uber vampire” Audrey (Karla Souza) before she takes over the entire valley. The supporting cast is rounded out by Meagan Good, Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Zion Broadnax. And in Perry’s eyes, directing his first feature film wasn’t that tall of a task.

“I’ve been directing second unit for 20 years now, which is arguably harder to do than first unit,” Perry said. “Because you’re driving 17 cars, six motorcycles, explosions, motorcycles, helicopters. So getting an opportunity to direct first unit was a real challenge, but a lot of fun. And I checked it off my bucket list and hope everybody loves it. And hopefully we’ll be doing it again.”

Bordizzo plays a katana-wielding vampire in the film that fights alongside Foxx, cutting enemy vampires in half with outstanding acrobatics. Bordizzo, a seasoned vet of action movies due to appearances in “Guns Akimbo” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny,” recalls the ease that comes with having an ex-stuntman helming a film.

“He’s very visual,” Bordizzo explained. “It was very snappy. Like you come to work and he knows exactly what he wants. He also has a very military-like stunt team… It’s actually amazing.”

“Day Shift” premieres this Friday, Aug. 12 exclusively on Netflix.



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Prey Makes 1 Arnold Schwarzenegger Predator Trick Even Better

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Hulu’s Prey takes what made Predator successful and puts a new spin on the formula, including a clever update on one of Dutch’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) tricks from the original movie. Prey strips the series back down to its basics, pitting underdog survivors against the ultimate hunter. The Predator movies have strayed from what made the original movie special, instead trying to one-up each other by bringing in different Predator species, introducing the Alien Xenomorphs as rivals, and focusing on creating a cinematic universe rather than a cohesive singular film.

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Prey distances itself from the convoluted timeline of the Predator franchise by setting it 300 years in the past in the Northern Great Plains, with the main characters being First Nation Comanche members played by Native American actors. Another major change of pace in Prey compared to the other Predator movies is that Prey‘s protagonist Naru (Amber Midthunder) is female. Even with these changes, major aspects of the Predator franchise are still intact, and many plot developments and Easter eggs connect this prequel canonically to the other movies.


One of Dutch’s best tricks in the original Predator was covering himself in mud to lower his body temperature and avoid detection from the Predator, and there is a similar scene in Prey that uses the image of a mud-covered protagonist in a new way. Early on her journey, Naru falls into a bog and is almost swallowed whole by mud, but she uses her new “leashed” hatchet invention to rescue herself. Naru emerges from the bog covered in mud, and instead of being predictable by having the Predator show up and teach Naru about Dutch’s famous mud trick, she instead uses the bog later to trap and defeat the Predator. She does discover lowering her body temperature makes her invisible to the Predator, but it’s because she uses the orange tutsia flower established earlier in the movie.


Prey’s Best Easter Eggs All Service Naru’s Story

The clever allusion to Dutch’s mud trick from the original Predator is not the only reference to the Predator franchise that Prey uses to enhance its plot. The famous line “If it bleeds, we can kill it” is said by Naru’s brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), and it isn’t used as a throwaway reference to Dutch’s line from the original. Naru spends the entire film trying to prove herself as a hunter, and Taabe is shown to be supportive but skeptical of her abilities, so reciting this line to her helps her evolve as a hunter. She gains the confidence to outwit the Predator at the end of the film because she knows it can be hunted and killed. The reference to Predator 2 at the end of the movie also furthers Naru’s story. The flintlock pistol she gets from the French fur trappers is the same pistol that was given to Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) in Predator 2, which, along with the cave painting teaser during the end credits, suggests that this is not the last time Naru will have to face a Predator.


Prey takes elements from the Predator movies which came before it, but it never feels like a retread. Instead, it uses the knowledge of the previous movies to further the story of Naru becoming the hunter she always wanted to be. While it connects to the other movies in the franchise with direct references, Prey is a successfully unique Predator movie with a different cast and setting from the rest of the franchise, and it uses the other movies as a jumping-off point for a new take on a familiar property.

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‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Will Feature More Mythology and More Ninjas, Director Chad Stahelski Teases

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While “John Wick: Chapter 4” is reportedly the longest “John Wick” film yet, director Chad Stahelski ensures that the newest installment will use that extra runtime wisely.

“I love mythology,” Stahelski told Variety at the red carpet for “Day Shift” on Wednesday night. “I love a good myth. I don’t really believe — at least for the ‘John Wick’ movies — in a three-act structure. I believe in storytelling and leaving it. You know, we’ve always seen John Wick as Odysseus. So we take the time we need to tell the story. As long as we don’t fall asleep watching it, we keep it going. But I guess there is a bathroom limit.”

“John Wick: Chapter 4” finds Keanu Reeves back in the title role as the beloved head-smashing gun-fu action hero. While plot details for the fourth installment remain largely under wraps, an action-packed teaser that debuted at Comic-Con saw the title character once again brutalizing opponents with everything from handguns to nunchucks. Now, it seems that Stahelski is teasing that the fourth film will venture more into the mythology behind the Continental and the expansive world of assassins.

The last film in the franchise, “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum,” saw a wide array of wild action set pieces, from ninjas on motorcycles to a fight in New York City horse stables. So what do you do to up the ante from ninjas on motorcycles?

“Ninjas in cars, I guess,” Stahelski said. “I don’t know! It’s always ninjas, man.”

Currently, Stahelski serves as producer on the Netflix original film “Day Shift.” The vampire-hunting movie, starring Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg, is helmed by first-time director J.J. Perry. Stahelski and Perry met 33 years ago doing stunts together on “The King of the Kickboxers.” With “Day Shift,” Perry has become the newest member of their friend group to venture out of stunts and into feature film directing.

“That’s the thing about our circle of friends,” Stahelski said. “Everybody’s their own guy. Everybody helps everybody. The hierarchy is circular. Look, we came up with one of the best generations that have been in stunts for a long time. So for a bunch of us that used to get hit by cars for a living here on the red carpet, it’s pretty awesome.”

“Day Shift” premieres Friday on Netflix. “John Wick: Chapter 4” hits theaters on May 23, 2023.



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