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Behind Marvel's attempt to reboot the vampire thriller

Behind Marvel's attempt to reboot the vampire thriller
Behind Marvel's attempt to reboot the vampire thriller


Marvel Studios continues to try to draw Blade, but the vampire thriller is stuck in its sheath. The latest setback occurred in recent weeks when the feature lost director Yann Demange, the second director to leave the project. Some sources say both sides were frustrated Bladeprolonged development process.

Star Mahershala Ali is also reportedly growing increasingly frustrated. Ali, attached to the project since 2019, selected Demange after the project lost director Bassam Tariq in September 2022. At the time, Blade was in pre-production and about two months away from principal photography, but Marvel came to believe that Tariq was not the best candidate for the project, according to sources. Marvel then presented Ali with a list of directors to consider, but Ali conducted his own search after becoming concerned that the list largely included filmmakers who had not been tested at the major studio level.

Ali sometimes had undue influence on the project in a way few other actors have on Marvel films. This comes partly from Blade's, which began when Ali called the studio after winning the Oscar for his work on Green Paper and said he wanted to do Blade. Ali envisioned Blade as his Black Pantheraccording to sources.

Demange's Blade was flapping its wings for filming beginning in May 2023 and hired another writer, True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, also an Ali pick, to bring the script to the finish line. But it was all for nothing, as the writers went on strike, then the actors went on strike and stopped the film. “People missed about three windows to shoot other films or shows,” notes one agent.

But unlike several other Marvel projects that were shut down and then restarted, including Deadpool and Wolverine And Love at first sight Blade instead, he let most of his cast, including Delroy Lindo and Aaron Pierre, go and brought in more writers. Marvel hired Michael Green in November. And just after Demange's departure, Marvel's essential writer, Eric Pearson, who had pleased the studio with his recent work on Love at first sight And Fantastic Four, jumped in.

The road has been so long that the memories of an elderly Ali at the premiere, in the distant future, of Blade took over social media after the last pilot split. Even Wesley Snipes, who played the vampire hunter in three films released by New Line, spoke out. “Blade, lordylordylordy,” Snipes called out to X.

Ali's attorney, Shelby Weiser, said THR in a recent interview: “This deal is from 2019, and they still haven’t closed it yet, which is pretty much the craziest thing in my professional experience. »

In addition to last year's strikes, Blade was a victim of pandemic delays and Disney's pivot to full-steam streaming, which forced Marvel to overproduce and overdevelop its roster.

“Not enough attention has been paid to it,” says one insider. “He’s truly a casualty of the era of ‘too much’.”

This could explain why Blade continued to change storylines and time periods. The version that was supposed to be filmed last year was set in the 1920s, according to sources, and starred Mia Goth as an evil vampire named Lilith who wanted the blood of Blade's daughter. (Goth remains attached to star in the project.) For another iteration, under Tariq, Marvel built a massive trainset, but it was never used. (It may be transferred to another Disney production.) The new version Blade it is said to be today.

It's unclear how many millions Marvel spent Blade, including development and pre-production costs. But it doesn't stop now. Marvel has learned in recent years that it's not worth rushing into production. And the studio prides itself on having a high development-to-production ratio, which eludes most other companies. The new plan calls for the script to be written over the summer and then sent to the directors.

Marvel chief Kevin Feige holds a special place for Bladeconsidering the 1998 film Snipes a revelation for him and one of the inspirations for focusing on B-list characters in the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Like him REMARK in 2017: “A character that no one had heard of, had only appeared in a few issues of Tomb of Dracula or something like that, turned into a big franchise. That's always been a big lesson for me, where you say, “It doesn't matter how famous the character is, what matters is how cool the movie is.” »

Scribes who tried to sharpen Blade

February 2021: Marvel is hiring Guardians Writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour will pen the script for a project that stars Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali as the horror hero.

Fall 2022: Beau DeMayo, who created X-Men '97takes its own initiative, described as a period piece.

April 2023: With writers' strike looming, Marvel is shelling out for True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto to write. (He worked with Blade star Ali in the third season of the HBO series.)

Fall 2023: After losing original director Bassam Tariq, Marvel brings in Michael Starrbury (When they see us) to write a new screenplay for new director Yann Demange.

Fall 2023: Studio hires star scribe Michael Green, known for well-received genre films Logan And Blade Runner 2049.

Summer 2024: With Demange's departure as director, Marvel brought in studio stalwart Eric Pearson, who pushed the scripts for Thor: Ragnarok, Black Widow And Fantastic Four on the finish line.

This story appeared in the June 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter review. Click here to subscribe.




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