Did you know that famed director Quentin Tarantino contemplated making a Luke Cage film? Me neither. I know the guy is a super-geek, but didn’t realize he had enough love to bring a Marvel superhero to the big screen. And, to be clear, this was before X-Men, Spider-Man, or even Blade made their way to the big screen.
“There was a time before all this Marvel s**t was coming out,” Tarantino said on the podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith. “It was after Reservoir Dogs, it was before Pulp Fiction, and I had thought about doing Luke Cage. Growing up I was a big comic book collector, and my two favorite [comic books] were Luke Cage: Hero for Hire, later Luke Cage: Power Man, and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu. I also liked Werewolf by Night, that was a great one, and Tomb of Dracula was great, but my absolute hero was Luke Cage.”
Thanks to when it came along in his career, this Luke Cage movie would have replaced Jackie Brown as his third movie, not Pulp Fiction. It’s actually quite interesting to me that he seemed completely into the idea of adapting an existing property. Of course, Jackie Brown was based on the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, and the fact that the other thing he was considering making was based on a comic shows what kind of mind space he was in.
But why didn’t he do it? Based on his comments, it’s clear there was a lot of love for the character.
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“What actually dissuaded me from doing it,” Tarantino said, “was my comic geek friends talked me out of it. Because I had an idea that Larry Fishburne would’ve been the perfect guy to play Luke Cage. And I’m talking King of New York era Larry Fishburne. ‘My name is Jimmy Jump.’ … But All my friends were like, ‘No, no, listen, it’s got to be Wesley Snipes.’ And I go, ‘Look, I like Wesley Snipes, but Larry Fishburne is practically Marlon Brando. I think Fish is the man.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, but he’d have to get in shape in a big way. Snipes is that way already!’ And I go, ‘Fuck that! That’s not that important! Fuck you, you ruined the whole damn thing!’”
I love this argument with him and his friends, as it shows that the same kind of arguments happened then and now. Even today, we talk about whether or not someone is fit enough to play a superhero. Though, unlike Tarantino, few of us have the power to actually get a comic book movie made. Admittedly, I’m pretty bummed that Tarantino let this kind of argument get to him in this way.
Of course, Wesley Snipes went on to play the beloved superhero Blade, so every cloud has a silver lining, but I think we really missed out on something here. Yes, I love Jackie Brown, but a ‘90s Luke Cage movie could have been pretty sweet. Would it have changed the trajectory of comic book movies? Most definitely not. But it would have been fun to look back on with nostalgia goggles.
What do you think of Tarantino’s comments? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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SOURCE: 3 Girls, 1 Keith (via MovieWeb)