2012 was a turning point year. Marvel would unleash a – more is better – film strategy on the world with Avengers while Christopher Nolan finished his run on Batman in a polarizing way. 2012 was also the year I read a comic created by Joey Esposito and Jonathan Moore called Footprints. A book that I hold as one of the best independently published comics of the past five years.
For those who’ve never read it; Footprints is a murder mystery set in a world where urban legends like Bigfoot and the Jersey Devil are not only true, they freely walk among the world of man. When Bigfoot’s brother, Yetti, is brutally murdered, he’ll have to trudge through his own past filled with crime, betrayal, violence, and monster sex in a search for the killer. It’s a combination of the sensibility Ed Brubaker’s Criminal has with the over the top characters of a Godzilla story.
2016 is giving us more comic book moves than we can shake a stick at, but we also get new Footprints. Joey and Jonathan are back to tell more stories involving new legends in Footprints: Bad Luck Charm. So Comics Beat enlisted Joey to craft out his vision of a Footprints movie from casting to director.
David Nieves: Starting with the lead. Who could you see playing the missing link turned private eye? Are you thinking a Ron Perlman in Hellboy type thing or more in line with the CG Ruffalo Hulk?
Joey Esposito: I think a motion-capture performance would be the way to go, like Cesar in the APES movies or Gollum, but also think just some really great make-up a la Mickey Rourke as Marv in SIN CITY could work great. I think my dream casting for Foot would be Idris Elba — he’s dream casting for every role, isn’t he? I’m a huge fan of LUTHER and think that those same sensibilities apply to Foot. In particular, Luther’s complicated relationship with Alice is pretty reflective of Foot’s relationship with Motheresa. I also think Elba is underrated as a sensitive actor, something that Luther doesn’t possess that Foot most certainly does.
Nieves: Really! Starting this out of left field. I probably wouldn’t have agreed with you until I’d seen Beasts of No Nation. He’s got a dark side to him which would fit well with everything happening under the surface of Bigfoot.
Nieves: The enigma and hook of Footprints. Motheresa serves as the dangerous antagonist of the book. She really is a poignant example of a femme fatale in a noir crime story as well as a character in this, which could be portrayed in live action. Who would you pick to step into those wings?
Esposito: Rachel Weisz, no question. She’s a stunning performer and I love when she goes a little bad. She’s elegant, charming, funny, and can make a room light up, but she can also be a little devilish. You can see her in how Jonathan draws the character (at least, I can) and I think she’d absolutely nail it.
Nieves: We could talk about and IMDB her all day, but I can’t remember her from anything other than The Mummy. It would definitely be different from anything I can picture her in.
Nieves: Bigfoot’s brother who we only get to know in flashback. It’s almost like Brando being Jor-El to Reeve in Superman. How do you see this playing out on screen?
Esposito: I’d like to see Liev Schreiber. He’s got this husky, brash presence that I think serves Yeti well, not to mention comedy chops that would let him play well off of Elba in their scenes together. Elba’s sort of stoic, introspective Foot vs. Schreiber’s extroverted sloppy loudmouth. I’d eat that up.
Nieves: You’re putting the best Sabretooth with the best Heimdall there will ever be. Between them and Rachel you’ve already got the sexiest comic book movie ever made.
Nieves: The Lochness monster; in the book she’s sharp, headstrong, and scary to say a bit sensual. For a Footprints film she’d have to be complete CG, but who would you see voicing such a character?
Esposito: Niecy Nash would be my pick. I think she’s one of the funniest people on television, and she can turn on a dime from a sweet, sultry voice to this cutting assertiveness that Nessy needs. Seeing (or, I guess, hearing) her riff with Elba’s version of Foot would be a blast, and listening to her cut down Jersey Devil would be even better. Plus, I’m just a huge fan of RENO 911 so any excuse to see more of those folks is a good one.
Nieves: Footprints really does have loads of great banter between them. It would be fun to hear her take on Nessy’s “promiscuousness” ( I don’t know that we can print the words monster sex).
Nieves: It always gets me seeing Moore’s drawing of a giant menacing shark in a tank and everyone simply referring to him as “Don”. Before readers learn what’s behind those menacing eyes, he comes off as sophisticated. Who would voice him?
Esposito: This one was the toughest, to be honest. As you said, Don comes off as sophisticated. But is he really? I don’t think so. I think he wants to be, and tries too hard. So it has to be someone that has the full range between “lovable goof” and “utter backstabber.” As such, I landed on David Tennant. Sort of an obvious choice in retrospect, but Tennant’s adorable Number 10 from DOCTOR WHO mixed with his absolutely terrifying Kilgrave in JESSICA JONES is where Megalodon falls.
Nieves: Tennant was pure magic as Kilgrave in Jessica Jones and I can’t argue how good he would be voicing a prim and proper giant shark. Though when I first read the book, I couldn’t get Niles Crane’s voice out of my head in those parts.
Nieves: Reading him was like watching every Sopranos stereotype roll into a small demon. Yet, the character added needed levity to a really hard nose story. While I don’t think this could be a PG film, JD could be the Rocket Raccoon of this movie. How would you see him playing out?
Esposito: He’s totally the Rocket Raccoon. I’d love to see Dan Stevens in the role, actually. He’s sort of known for these very intense roles in THE GUEST and A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, but I’d love to see him take advantage of his comedy chops. He plays this really sheepish baffoon in a movie called CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES that I think could probably be related to Devil (though probably a little too smart to be in the family). I’m fond of giving actors the opportunity to play against type and I think while there are plenty of great actors known for playing the dopey Jersey gangster role, we’ve seen them do it again and again. It’d be fresh to see Stevens have some fun with JD.
Nieves: Let’s not forget Downton Abbey here. I get that choice, it’s always fun to hear British actors do American. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but sometimes you get a guy like Dominic Cooper doing a bad ass Jesse Custer.
Nieves: Now that we’ve picked the ensemble; in your eyes who’s got the filmmaking chops to direct such a project?
Esposito: Probably an obvious, egotistical, and unrealistic answer, but myself, first and foremost.
Nieves: Let’s say it’s typical Hollywood, “you’ll do the next one” talk.
Esposito: But if I HAD to give it up to another living filmmaker, I’d love to see Shane Black do it, of course. Deceased? Robert Altman.
Nieves: We certainly didn’t account for the Bill and Ted phone booth time machine existing in real life so we’ll leave it at Shane Black. I probably would have gone with Angelina Jolie. She seems the perfect amount of weird in real life to see what a story like this should be like.
That right there is what a Footprints movie should be. See if you agree with Joey’s choices by checking out Footprints Vol 1 on Comixology. Don’t worry there’s even more monster noir after that with the recently released Footprints: Bad Luck Charm also available on Comixology as well.