I have previously proclaimed my love for Daredevil as one of the most impressive street-level vigilantes in comics. Thanks to my brother’s collection, I came into the series at a time when he was popular with readers and receiving unparalleled attention from the media. The comic started as a kind of Spider-Man meets Barnaby Jones series in which a blind lawyer took the law into his own hands and prowled Hell’s Kitchen to mete out his own brand of justice. When Frank Miller took over, he infused pulp sensibilities into the comic (by way of the late Will Eisner’s The Spirit) and Daredevil had more in common with 1970’s urban crime and martial arts cinema than anything else. It remains a cult hit.
The 2003 Daredevil movie directed by Ghost Rider’s Mark Steven Johnson starring Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/DD, Jennifer Garner (who went on to star in a solo Elektra movie), Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin and Colin Farrell as Bullseye sought to pay homage to the Marvel comic book. To accomplish this, various storylines were smashed together and the end result is something of a mess. Many fans love this movie. It had a $45 million dollar opening weekend and grossed $102 million in North America, and an additional $76 million worldwide. The only thing holding back a sequel was Affleck’s reluctance to step back into the red togs. This is interesting because he got a lot of flack from haters of the movie as being the biggest flaw in the picture. In some ways, he agreed.
Even so, plans were afoot for a reboot or soft sequel, possibly written by Frank Miller who was hot off of Sin City and 300 while The Spirit was hotly anticipated (and has since become forgotten). ‘Crank’ action star Jason Statham was cited by Miller as a likely candidate for Daredevil, but nothing came of it.
A script by Brad Caleb Kane, David Scarpa, and David James Kelly is rumored to be an adaptation of the Frank Miller/David Mazzuchelli masterpiece Born Again in which Matt Murdock loses his secret identity and law practice. His main villain the Kingpin obtains information regarding Murdock’s dual identity as Daredevil from a close friend and ex-girlfriend, Karen Page who sold the info for heroin. Reduced to living on the street, he becomes desperate and somewhat insane as he suspects almost anyone of being part of some plot to destroy him. Murdock has to crawl up through the wreckage of his life and claw his way back to a confrontation with the Kingpin.
It’s a superb and cinematic story, but I’m not sure if it would work as a reboot which is probably what we will see if this film is released.
Since the success of their previous effort, 20th Century Fox has ruminated on a new DD film, seeing him as their answer to Warner Bros’ Batman, but nothing has come of it. Finally, it is looking like time my have run out on their option and the rights may revert back to Marvel… who are now in the movie making business.
There came an interesting development yesterday when director Joe Carnahan shared his sizzle reels that were used as a something of a proof of concept to the studio in order gain studio support. It’s a completely new take on the character and one that the studio was excited about. A period film ‘grindhouse’ version of Daredevil would surely gain attention… but what does Marvel think?
While Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Studios have not released a statement, it looks to be official. The Daredevil movie rights are reverting to Disney/Marvel Studios after Fox’s extension request was rejected, says Variety. Fox was supposed to have the reboot in production by October 10th.
The news comes after director Joe Carnahan’s tweets last night that said his “idea for a certain retro, red-suited, Serpico-styled superhero went up in smoke today kids.”
Carnahan continued talking about the film today on Twitter and asked if fans wanted to see his sizzle piece that he presented to Fox. He said, “DD pitch was tremendous and everyone flipped for it. The clock ticked down at Fox, that’s why it went t*ts up.”
He posted two versions of the sizzle piece, an NC-17 and a PG-13 version, and you can watch both below.
Daredevil sizzle reel
Daredevil sizzle reel (NC-17)
More as it comes…