Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Spider-Man Spinoff MORBIUS Casts Jared Leto as...Morbius

The Living Vampire is coming to life.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that Sony Pictures' upcoming film Morbius, based on the Marvel Comics character, has cast Jared Leto in the lead role as Dr. Michael Morbius.  The project was first announced in November 2017 as one of several Spider-Man related movie projects being developed by Sony.

Additionally, they report that Daniel Espinosa, who helmed the movies Life and Safe House, will direct the film.  Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, who worked on the recent Power Rangers movie, have written the script.  The two previously wrote the screenplay for the vampire movie Dracula Untold, as well as the movies Gods of Egypt and The Last Witch Hunter.

Leto, 46, is best known as the frontman for the band Thirty Seconds to Mars, as Niander Wallace in the film Blade Runner 2049, and as The Joker in the movie adaptation of DC Comics' Suicide Squad.  In addition, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club, and has also appeared in the films The Outsider, Phone Booth, Panic Room, Requiem for a Dream, American Psycho, Fight Club, and The Thin Red Line.

Created in 1971 by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, Morbius first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man (vol.1) #101 as Dr. Michael Morbius, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, who had attempted to cure himself of a rare blood disease with an experimental treatment involving vampire bats and electroshock therapy.  However, he instead became afflicted with a far worse condition, "pseudo-vampirism," that mimicked the powers and bloodthirst of legendary vampirism.  Morbius had to digest blood in order to survive and had a strong aversion to light.  He gained the ability to fly, as well as superhuman strength, speed, and healing abilities. His appearance became hideous, with his canine teeth extended into fangs, his nose flattened more like a bat's, and his skin became chalk-white.

He later sought a cure for his condition, but battled Spider-Man, the Human Torch, and the original X-Men.  In another battle with Spider-Man, Morbius was hit by a lightning strike, which cured him of his pseudo-vampirism while retaining a thirst for blood.  While cured, he was charged with the crimes he had committed as a vampire and was represented by Jennifer Walters, whose dual identity as the She-Hulk was not yet publicly known.  Morbius selflessly saved Walter's life and stabilized her erratic transformations into the She-Hulk with a serum that he had created to cure the remnants of his own transformation.  He eventually resumed his pseudo-vampire state, and first met Doctor Strange.  Alongside Doctor Strange and Brother Voodoo, he battled Marie Leveau, and witnessed the resurgence of true vampires.

During the events of Spider-Island, Morbius was revealed to be the mysterious Number Six working at Horizon Labs.  When Peter Parker tried to investigate the identity of "Number Six," he accidentally provoked Morbius, who had been using the cure to try to develop a basis for his own condition, prompting the staff at Horizon to step up building security.  This drove Morbius to leave, where it was revealed that he had been working with the Lizard, presumably trying to find a cure for both of their conditions.  It was also revealed that Michael Morbius was a college friend of Horizon Labs founder Max Modell.  Using DNA samples from the corpse of Billy Connors, the Lizard's son, Morbius was able to create a cure that would restore the Lizard to human form, but he failed to recognize that the Lizard had fully destroyed Curt Connors' human persona.  They left the Lizard alone in Morbius' lab, allowing the Lizard to release blood into the lab's air supply to provoke the injured Morbius into attacking the other Horizon scientists.  This prompted Morbius to flee the lab with Spider-Man in pursuit.  Morbius was captured by Spider-Man and locked up in a cell in the Raft.  While Peter Parker was trapped in Doctor Octopus' dying body, Morbius offered to help capture Doctor Octopus, who was using Peter's body as Spider-Man, but was turned down.  Morbius eventually escaped from the Raft and fled to Brownsville.

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