Marc Silvestri talks WITCHBLADE andTHE DARKNESS film adaptations and more

5 min read
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Contrary to how it may appear, there actually are comic book publishers other than Marvel and DC and they too have creations they’re busy adapting for movies. One such publisher, Top Cow, has had a few fan-favourite titles in development for a while now, although it’s been a while since we heard anything about them.

But finally the bovine has spoken, and it’s sounding promising.

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Mark Silvestri, acclaimed artist, CEO and co-founder of Top Cow spoke to the folks at Unleash The Fanboy, and dished out on what’s happening with the feature film adaptations of their two most popular titles, Witchblade and The Darkness, both announced earlier in the year at Comic Con, which now look to be under the purview of director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall reboot, Live Free or Die Hard).

“We’re partnered with Len Wiseman on The Darkness film. It’s over at New Regency, which is on the Fox lot. We’ve gotten one draft of the script and we’re working on that right now. It’s going to happen. Witchblade is in the Darkness film. Originally she was going to be in there as an easter egg for the fans, who would know: hey, that’s Sara Pezzini, that’s the Witchblade.’

Now if the name “Witchblade” sounds familiar, it’s because it was already adapted into a highly successful TV show starring Yancy Butler back in 2001. The show was a critical smash, but had to be cut short when Butler’s alcoholism forced her into rehab.

Witchblade tells the story of Sara Pezzini, a tough New York City cop who discovers a mystical gauntlet that bonds with her. The gauntlet grants her all kinds of abilities and supernatural armour, and back when the book first started, had the habit of tearing off all of her clothes except for a few strategically places wisps of clothing. Luckily, the gratuitous cheesecake approach of the book changed when writer Ron Marz took over the reins on the title a few years ago and turned it into a sprawling fantasy epic, with some police procedural undertones, making it the best it’s ever been.

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Part of that “sprawling fantasy epic” effect was achieved when the Witchblade artifact got linked to the Darkness and all the other major mystical objects and powers in the Top Cow universe. In the Darkness comic, said power was an ability to manipulate, shape and summon demonic creations out of darkness itself. This ability, like the Witchblade, has been passed down from generation to generation, with the latest user, and star of the comic, being Jackie Estocado, a young, ruthless mob boss, who inherits this gift on his 21st birthday, and promptly begins using it to build up an empire of his own.

Jackie and Sara would battle countless times, but eventually became romantically linked and even produced a – literally – magical child together, so for their two stories to be linked up in a single movie is certainly not far fetched at all.

That wasn’t always the intention though, as a Witchblade solo film has been stuck in development lobo for years now, with a web site and teaser poster for the production once boasting a 2009 release date. Clearly, they missed that deadline. But now Sara Pezzini’s story is getting another lease of life in the dark.

“As we were going along, it just made more and more sense storywise to have Witchblade in there. I’m not going to spoil too much more, but it makes perfect sense. First we were kind of worried, how do you, two origins, but it started to come together.  It started to make more and more sense. We’re excited about that, that’s a big project that we’re working on right now.”

And Wiseman, the man tasked with making that big project a reality, wants to see this succeed this time as much as us fans… because he is one.

“Len loves this, which is great because Len loves The Darkness, and that’s what you want on your team. He knows more about The Darkness than I do. He’ll say, oh, remember when this happened in this issue, and I’ll go, ooooh, why yes, I do. He’s awesome, his enthusiasm is awesome. Obviously, he’s this talented director, so we’re really excited to have him In there.’

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There’s more to Top Cow though than just scantily clad cops with magical bracelets and mobsters who can grow dark gremlins out of his butt though. They have a slew of other properties to leverage, like Think Tank – the story of a super intelligent government worker who gets tired of dreaming up creative ways for the government to kill people for the greater good, and decided to take them on himself -and that’s exactly what they plan to do. Although they won’t forget their roots.

“We have TV things that are going on, other movie projects going on. Think Tank, we’re developing that as a feature film. Today it’s all about making things happen in comics, and then working for the extra gravy that could be in other media. But our first love is comics, and I’ll always tell people that I dip my toes in all forms of entertainment, from gaming to TV and film, and there is nothing that is more satisfying politically and more directly, without any filters between the creator and the end product, than comic books. We’ll always be a comic book publisher, we’ll always make comic books, and if we do something over and above that, you know the media, games, whatever, great.”

Last Updated: December 4, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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