Luke Cage is now part of Netflix’s Marvel slate, ably played Mike Colter, but did you know Quentin Tarantino nearly adapted the comic for a film? We wrote about this before, when Tarantino spoke about how he nearly did a Luke Cage hero for hire movie right after Reservoir Dogs. He wanted Laurence Fishburne to play Cage, saying Fishburne was interested, and Tarantino even spoke with rights holder Ed Pressman. He ended up filming Pulp Fiction instead, and this week we’ve finally learned why he abandoned his Luke Cage project.
On the Nerdist Podcast, Tarantino spoke about his (unsurprisingly) favorite comics — Luke Cage, Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu — and revealed what derailed his Luke Cage movie. Nope, we can’t blame the Coke Wizard. The real reason comes down to a disagreement about casting. Blastr transcribes his explanation:
“In the case of Luke Cage, it was my comic geek friends that almost talked me out of it, because I thought Larry Fishburne back in the day would’ve been a great Luke Cage, and they were talking about Wesley Snipes. And I could see them both, but it was like ‘I think Fish would be better.’ And they go ‘Yeah… he could work out and everything, but he doesn’t have the bod that Wesley Snipes has, and Luke Cage needs to have the bod.’
“And I literally was so turned off that that would be their both starting and ending point, that it literally put it in my head that, if I do a comic book movie, it should be an original character. It should be something I create rather than try to fit in.”
To be fair, who didn’t want to see Wesley Snipes play Luke Cage back around 1992? Hell, I want to see him play Luke Cage now. But we can understand why Tarantino would decide to film his own characters instead. Luke Cage is just one of many adaptations Tarantino never got around to doing, like projects based on James Bond, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Modesty Blaise, and several Elmore Leonard novels. Oh, yeah, and he was also rumored to be working on a Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! softcore porn remake at some strange point in history. We are going to blame the Coke Wizard for that one.