Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to comic books. He passed on Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern “in the very early, early, early, early stages,” and was brought in by his friend Robert Rodriguez as a “special” guest to direct a scene in 2005’s Sin City. Oh, and DC Comics is publishing a miniseries based on his screenplay for Django Unchained.
But in a new interview with MTV, the filmmaker reveals that much earlier in his career, he was interested in bringing Marvel’s Luke Cage to the big screen.
“After Reservoir Dogs, I had considered doing a Luke Cage, Hero for Hire movie,” he says. “[Producer] Ed Pressman owned the rights at that time, and we talked about it,” he told us. “I talked to Larry Fish [Laurence Fishburne] about being Luke Cage, and he really liked that idea. Then I ended up writing Pulp Fiction.”
As the time frame suggests (Reservoir Dogs was released in 1992), a Luke Cage movie has long proved elusive, with Paramount Pictures perhaps coming the closest to getting the project off the ground in 2003, when the studio attached John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, Shaft) to direct; Tyrese Gibson was frequently mentioned for the lead role. The adaptation was targeted first for 2004 release, and then for 2005, but nothing ever materialized. More recently, Isaiah Mustafa (aka “the Old Spice guy”) campaigned to play Luke Cage, and even met with Marvel Studios executives, but again, there appears to be no movement on a movie.
Given the character’s blaxploitation roots, it’s easy to see why he would appeal to Tarantino, who paid homage to the genre with 1997’s Jackie Brown. An expansion to Heroes for Hire could’ve allowed him to scratch that kung-fu itch that took center stage in 2003’s Kill Bill.