"This isn't a vampire story," declares producer Peter Frankfurt
"This isn't a vampire story," declares producer Peter
Frankfurt. "It's an introduction to a phenomenal action
hero, the likes of which we've never seen on the screen before.
It's an encounter with a world audiences have never even imagined."
Blade was first introduced to comic book fans in 1973 as a supporting
character in Marvel Comic's Tomb of Dracula. Over
the years, the character was built into a franchise culminating
earlier this year when he teamed with Spider Man.
One of the first African-American comic book heroes, it was this
distinctive characteristic which attracted the attention of Frankfurt.
The producer had just finished Juice when he had a chance
conversation with the head of Marvel Films about the absence of
black superheroes in the comics. "A few days later
I got a copy of the Blade comic book in the mail,"
Frankfurt said. The producer, who wasn't much of a comic
aficionado at the time, was immediately intrigued by the idea
of bringing Blade to the screen.
"Blade appealed to me because he's not your typical
hero. He lives to kill vampires and exact vengeance,"
"Blade has a dark side," confirms Executive Producer
Stan Lee, who began his legendary career at Marvel in 1940 and
is currently responsible for the company's movie, television and
Frankfurt met with Lee and fellow Marvel executive Avi Arad, who
suggested he contact Michael De Luca, president of production
at New Line Cinema. De Luca, who acquired and developed
a number of hit film properties based on comic books, including
The Mask and Spawn, was instantly receptive to Frankfurt's
idea for a feature film based on Blade. "Mike's reaction
was a definitive 'Go,'" recalls the producer.
After acquiring the rights to the property, the filmmakers sought
a writer who would connect with the complex, tormented superhero.
They demanded a writer who would have an entirely original interpretation
of Blade's tough, gritty world. Frankfurt and producer Bob
Engelman were highly impressed with David S. Goyer, who had the
right training and sensibility for the job.
Goyer wrote the martial arts packed, action adventure, Death
Warrant, and the unearthly science fiction thriller The
Crow: City of Angels. The writer was hired to pen the
script for Blade, and he produced a first draft eight weeks
Goyer shared the producers' vision of the material. Blade
had to have a completely fresh take on the vampire theme; it would
defy all of the ordinary vampire clichés. And the
script Goyer delivered was anything but ordinary.
According to Stan Lee, who is often disappointed in film adaptations
of comic books, Goyer's screenplay didn't miss a beat. "He
nailed it," proclaims Lee. "This is a very, very
scary script, with a surprise on every page. The vampires
are terrifying and fantastic at the same time. You've never
seen anything like this before, anywhere," warns the Marvel
At New Line, De Luca was ecstatic. Recalls Frankfurt, "Mike
read the screenplay and said, 'This is an epic action film, and
it needs an action superstar.'" The producers realized
their hero was inherently different from the vast majority of
goody-two-shoes comic book characters; Blade wore combat boots
and they would not be easy to fill.
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