EXCLUSIVE: Women may comprise only 2.9 percent of director hires at Warner Bros. in the past five years, according to a recent viral infographic (the best numbers, over at Disney, hit only 7.4 percent), but the studio is off to a solid start with their female-centric action pic The Athena Project. Neophyte scribe Ashleigh Powell has been hired to adapt Brad Thor’s New York Times bestseller about an all-lady commando team, which has UFC fighter Ronda Rousey attached to star.
If you’re keeping tabs on up and coming female voices in genre, here’s one to add to a woefully short list. Powell landed on WB’s radar with the 2012 spec sale of her Black List script Somacell, a dystopian thriller about a female prison guard who discovers that the virtual reality process that rehabilitates convicts is not all it promises to be. The Dark Knight‘s David Goyer is producing that project with The Iceman director Ariel Vromen attached to helm.
Thor’s 2011 novel The Athena Project tracks a top-secret quartet of deadly Delta Force operatives hunting down an arms dealer after a terrorist attack. Billy Gerber and Casey Wasserman are producing the pic, with Andy Fischel and Cate Adams overseeing for Warner Bros. Project has yet to attach a director. Powell is repped by Gersh, Benderspink, and Eric Feig. Rousey next appears in The Expendables 3, Fast & Furious 7 and the Entourage movie. She is repped by WME.