It’s a conversation that we’ve been having for years at this point: when will there be a traditional superhero movie with a female character donning the mask? There’s a terrible history of them over the past twenty years, with blemishes like Elektra and Catwoman on the record, but those aren’t just bad female-led superhero films: they’re bad films, period. With the superhero genre still going strong, and films like The Hunger Games and Frozen tearing up the box office, audiences have been hungry for a female-centric superhero franchise, and it looks like we’ll be getting one from one of the most unlikely sources I can think of: Sony Pictures and their Spider-Man spinoffs.
Deadline reports that the studio is “doing a top-to-bottom revamping” of their Spider-Man property, and that they have plans to release a female-led superhero pic from the Spider-Man universe in 2017. There’s no word yet on which character they’ll concentrate on – Black Cat seems like the most obvious choice to me, but we’ll see how it plays out – but they do know who will be writing the project.
That’ll be Lisa Joy Nolan, who, yes, is married to Chris Nolan’s brother Jonah, but I know how the internet works, and I’m guessing there are already people who are crying foul on this because of some perceived nepotism or something. Lisa has plenty of experience as a writer on her own, having co-produced and written “Burn Notice” for USA and written on Bryan Fuller’s cult classic series “Pushing Daisies.” She recently sold a spec script called Reminiscence to Legendary Pictures, and if that wasn’t enough, she’s co-writing and producing “Westworld” for HBO alongside Jonah, J.J. Abrams, and Jerry Weintraub. (Please excuse the watermark on the photo – it was one of the few I could find of her online.)
This hiring is incredibly important, especially in the wake of this past weekend’s controversy surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy and the contributions of its co-writer, Nicole Perlman. It’s clear that fans and progressive thinkers want to embrace the fact that a female is writing a major superhero movie (it’s 2014, and sort of sad that this should even be a big deal because women writing superhero films should be a normal thing by now), but since Perlman developed the concept for Guardians and then her script was completely overhauled by co-writer/director James Gunn, there’s been a lot of ugliness online about who deserves credit for what in Marvel’s newest success. Having Lisa Joy Nolan on board from the onset to write this female-led superhero movie hopefully means that if the story turns out well, we can assign the credit to her and maybe it will open the door for other female writers to take on similar opportunities.
(It’d be ideal, for the purposes of this argument, if Nolan’s script is great from the start and no one has to come on and rewrite it, but at the same time, my understanding is that it was Gunn’s work on the Guardians screenplay – adding the Walkman, playing up Rocket and Groot, etc. – that made it really sing. So I acknowledge that sometimes tough decisions have to be made in order to make the best movie possible. It’d just be nice for the ladies to get a “win” once in a while, you know?)
We don’t have much more concrete information than that when it comes to Sony’s new film, but I’m sort of shocked that we aren’t hearing an announcement like this from Marvel Studios first. There has been some whispering about a solo Wonder Woman movie, but WB has refused to confirm that, and it seems like a lot of studios are just plain scared to greenlight a female-led superhero film with the dismal reception of Elektra and Catwoman in their minds. Kudos to Sony for stepping up to the plate and making this happen. We’ll definitely keep you posted on any further updates as we get them.
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