Morbius (film)

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Morbius
Morbius - official film logo.png
Official logo
Directed byDaniel Espinosa
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Matt Sazama
  • Burk Sharpless
Based on
Starring
Music byJon Ekstrand
CinematographyOliver Wood
Production
company
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • March 19, 2021 (2021-03-19) (United States)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Morbius is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, produced by Columbia Pictures in association with Marvel. Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing, it is intended to be the second film in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters. The film is directed by Daniel Espinosa from a script by the writing teams of Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, and Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, and stars Jared Leto as Michael Morbius alongside Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. In the film, Morbius becomes a vampire after attempting to cure himself of a rare blood disease.

After announcing plans for a new shared universe of films inspired by Spider-Man characters beginning with Venom (2018), Sony began developing one based on Morbius. Sazama and Sharpless had written a script by November 2017, with Marcum and Holloway joining later. Leto and Espinosa officially joined in June 2018. Work began in earnest at the end of the year with further casting, ahead of a production start in February 2019 in London. Filming was confirmed to have been completed by June 2019.

Morbius is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 19, 2021, delayed from an original July 2020 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premise[edit]

Suffering from a rare blood disease, Michael Morbius tries a dangerous cure that afflicts him with a form of vampirism.[1][2]

Cast[edit]

  • Jared Leto as Michael Morbius:
    A scientist suffering from a rare blood disease whose attempts to cure himself afflict him with a form of vampirism,[2] gaining superhuman abilities but none of the superstitious weaknesses associated with vampires. Leto was drawn to the character's struggle with his disease and the moral implications of a hero who has a thirst for blood.[3]
  • Matt Smith as Loxias Crown:
    Morbius' friend who suffers from the same rare blood disease.[4][5] Smith joined the film, after previously turning down other superhero film roles, due to director Daniel Espinosa's involvement and encouragement from Karen Gillan, who portrays Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and previously worked with Smith on Doctor Who.[6]
  • Adria Arjona as Martine Bancroft: Morbius' fiancée.[7][8]
  • Jared Harris as Morbius' mentor.[9][5]
  • Al Madrigal as Alberto Rodriguez: An FBI agent hunting Morbius.[10]
  • Tyrese Gibson as Simon Stroud:
    An FBI agent hunting Morbius.[5][10] Gibson noted that the character is white in the comic books, and the producers "made him black" to cast the actor. Stroud has a "hi-tech weapons-grade arm" in the film, and Gibson described him as a superhero.[11] Gibson signed a three-picture deal when he joined the film.[12]

Additionally, Michael Keaton will appear in the film. He previously portrayed Adrian Toomes / Vulture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), but has not been confirmed to be reprising that role.[13][3]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Artisan Entertainment announced a deal with Marvel Entertainment in May 2000 to co-produce, finance, and distribute several films based on Marvel Comics characters, including Morbius, the Living Vampire.[14] In May 2017, Sony announced plans for a new shared universe named the "Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters", to feature Spider-Man-related properties beginning with Venom in October 2018.[15][16] That November, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless submitted a script to Sony for a Morbius film, after a "secret development process" at the studio for the character.[17] Jared Leto became "loosely attached" to the project to potentially star in the title role, but would not fully commit to the film until he was happy with the direction it was going; Leto asked to personally meet with several of the directors that Sony was looking at for the film.[18]

By the end of April 2018, Sony had approached Antoine Fuqua about potentially directing the film. He expressed interest in taking on the project, and said that if he was to make a film in the superhero genre he would want to make it "something that's closer to what I get excited about."[19] He ultimately chose not to take on the project.[18] Other directors that Sony approached about the film included F. Gary Gray, who considered directing the film but ultimately turned down the role,[20] and Daniel Espinosa, who previously directed the film Life (2017) for the studio.[18] In May, while on tour in Germany with his band Thirty Seconds to Mars, Leto met with Espinosa to talk about the film,[18] and the pair were both confirmed for the project at the end of June. Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Lucas Foster were set to produce,[2] and Sony was expected to give the film a release date shortly after with filming set to begin by the end of 2018. The studio hoped the film would fit in with its already-set Marvel slate, including Venom and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).[18]

Pre-production[edit]

By the end of September, Sony was intending for production on the film to take place in Atlanta, Georgia—where Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Venom were previously produced—but had still not set a release date for the film.[21][22] Screen Rant's Cooper Hood opined that Sony was likely waiting to see the response to Venom in early October, with Arad confirming at that time that there was excitement at Sony to produce Morbius, especially due to the story of a "healer that becomes a killer, and how do you deal with [that?]"[22] Tolmach said the project was "very far along" at that stage and they were now planning to begin filming in early 2019,[23][24] with the intention that Morbius would be the second film released as part of Sony's shared universe after Venom.[23] He added that Leto was bringing the same "intensity" to the film that he had playing the Joker in Suicide Squad (2016).[25] By November, box office analysts believed that Venom had been successful enough for Sony to move ahead with other films like Morbius,[26] and at the end of that month the studio dated an untitled Marvel film that was believed to be Morbius for a July 10, 2020, release.[27] Adria Arjona entered negotiations to portray the film's female lead, Martine Bancroft, in December;[7] her involvement was confirmed a month later when Sony pushed the release date to July 31,[8] and Matt Smith also joined the cast.[28][4]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography began during the last week of February 2019 in London,[29][30] under the working title Plasma.[31] Oliver Wood served as cinematographer for the film.[32] With the start of filming, Jared Harris and Tyrese Gibson joined the cast as Morbius's mentor and an FBI agent hunting Morbius, respectively.[9][33][5] Smith was revealed to be portraying the villainous Loxias Crown.[5] In March, filming took place in Manchester's Northern Quarter, doubling for New York City.[34] A month later, Gibson revealed that he was portraying Simon Stroud, and that Al Madrigal had been cast as his partner, Alberto Rodriguez.[10] At the end of the month, Justin Haythe was believed to have contributed to the film's script.[35] Filming was scheduled to take 12 weeks,[29][6] and Venom producer Amy Pascal said in June that production had "just wrapped" on the project.[36]

Post-production[edit]

In September 2019, Sony announced a new agreement with Disney that extended a previous deal to have Marvel Studios and its president Kevin Feige produce a sequel to Far From Home, keeping Spider-Man in Marvel's shared universe, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). As part of the new agreement, Feige stated that moving forward the MCU's Spider-Man would be able to "cross cinematic universes" and appear in Sony's own shared universe as well.[37] This interaction was said to be "a 'call and answer' between the two franchises as they acknowledge details between the two in what would loosely be described as a shared detailed universe".[38] The film's first trailer, released in January 2020, included an image of Spider-Man that commentators equated to the Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man films though it appeared to be used as a reference to the ending of Far From Home.[39] The trailer also included a brief appearance by Michael Keaton, who previously portrayed Adrian Toomes / Vulture from the co-produced Marvel Studios Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: Homecoming.[13][3] At that time, Sony also revealed that Art Marcum and Matt Holloway had contributed to the film's script.[40]

Reshoots for the film had begun in Los Angeles by early February 2020.[41] A month later, as film productions around the United States were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony was said to no longer be in production on the film.[42] At the end of the month, the film's release date was pushed back to March 19, 2021, due to the pandemic closing theaters around the world.[43]

Music[edit]

By October 2019, Jon Ekstrand was set to compose the score for Morbius after doing the same for Espinosa's previous films.[44]

Marketing[edit]

The first trailer for the film was released on January 13, 2020.[3] Julia Alexander at The Verge described the premise of the film as presented by the trailer as "ridiculous",[45] while Matt Goldberg of Collider felt it looked "silly" and also noted that the film looked very similar to Venom, which he acknowledged was commercially successful.[46] Scott Mendelson, writing for Forbes, agreed with the comparison to Venom which he felt was a good move by Sony due to the success of their last few Spider-Man films, but cautioned that Leto may not have the same box office draw for general audiences that Tom Hardy gave to Venom.[47] Much of the discussion surrounding the trailer centered on the revelation of Keaton's role and the visual reference to Spider-Man, which led to questions about the film's relationship with the Spider-Man films and the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.[3][39][45][46]

Release[edit]

Morbius is scheduled to be released in the United States on March 19, 2021,[43] in IMAX.[48] It was previously set for release by Sony on July 10, 2020,[27][8] before moving three weeks later to July 31, 2020.[8] The film was then delayed to the March 2021 date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ramirez II, Hector (January 14, 2020). "Morbius: Sony Releases Spider-Verse Vampire Film's Official Summary". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Fleming Jr., Mike (June 27, 2018). "Jared Leto, Daniel Espinosa Team For Sony's 'Morbius' Spider-Man Spinoff". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Yehl, Joshua (January 14, 2020). "Morbius Trailer First Look: Jared Leto Talks Debut as the Iconic Marvel Monster". IGN. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
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  10. ^ a b c "He just wrapped for that day.... I come back to our shared tent and once again he ate ALL the snacks... I can't sleep around this dude cause he's funny as hell and I guess he really didn't think I would notice that he's eating everything in sight.... My #PIC partner in crime aka Agent Alberto Rodriguez aka @almadrigal the bad guys are doomed!!!! #Marvel #Morbius #SetLife #AgentSimonStroud". Instagram. April 19, 2019. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
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  40. ^ Barnhardt, Adam (January 13, 2020). "Morbius Taps Iron Man Writers for Rewrites". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
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  44. ^ "Jon Ekstrand to Score Daniel Espinosa's 'Morbius'". Film Music Reporter. October 9, 2019. Archived from the original on October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
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External links[edit]