EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is not only growing its slate of its Universe of Marvel Characters but is building on the female characters at the center of it, and looks to have landed one of the most sought-after female directors in Hollywood. Sources tell Deadline that Olivia Wilde has closed a deal to direct and develop a secret Marvel film project revolving around a female character in the universe. While not confirmed, it is expected that the story will be centered on Spider-Woman.
Sony had no comment.
The film will be penned by Katie Silberman with Amy Pascal producing. Rachel O’Connor will exec produce.
Wilde, Silberman and Pascal already have strong ties and the three are working on a Christmas buddy film at Universal they hope to do prior to this one. Gary Spinelli penned a previous draft of the script.
The Spider-Woman character has actually been the alter ego of several characters in the Spider-Man timeline over the years including Gwen Stacy, Mary Jane Watson and Jessica Drew, who was the first to sport the costume in the late 1970s. Since the concept is being completely revamped by Wilde, it’s unknown the direction the studio will go with her.
The project has been a high priority since the top of the year and Wilde came close to passing on it as her dance card has begun to fill up quite quickly. At the end of the day, the idea of having a chance to launch her own female superhero was too hard to pass up, and she eventually came around to fully committing to the project.
This marks the second film based around a female character in Sony’s universe of Marvel characters to land a director after S.J. Clarkson was tapped to direct a Madame Webb movie. Sony is also developing Black Cat and Silver Sable movies and is clearly making the effort to diversify the universe.
Around the industry, more and more female filmmakers are getting their shot at directing big-budget comic book movies. Nia DaCosta most recently landed the Captain Marvel 2 job at Marvel and along with Wilde and Clarkson will follow in the footsteps of Patty Jenkins, Cathy Yan and Chloe Zhao, the latter who has the upcoming The Eternals.
It has been quite the year and half for Wilde, who after spending the past decade as an A-list actress decided to make her move to directing with the coming-of-age tale Booksmart. The film was one of last year’s best reviewed films and earned Silberman a WGA nomination for best original screenplay.
She would follow that up by attaching herself to the psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, which eventually landed at New Line following one of the more heated bidding wars of 2019. That film recently set Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson to star and will shoot this fall.
Wilde is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham. Silberman is repped by UTA, MXN Entertainment and Myman Greenspan.