The actor has been cast as Madame Web in the studio’s next standalone superhero movie. It would mark Sony’s first modern comic book adaptation to feature a female in the title role. Insiders close to the project stress that Johnson’s deal is not closed but confirm she is in talks to secure the role.
S.J. Clarkson, known for her work on Netflix’s darker Marvel series “Jessica Jones” and the MCU-set spinoff “The Defenders,” has been hired to direct the “Madame Web” film. Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the duo behind Jared Leto’s upcoming vampire chiller “Morbius,” will write the screenplay.
In the comics, Madame Web is key in the interconnected multiverse, a somewhat confusing concept that Sony, Disney and Warner Bros. have each separately started to tease in on-screen adventures. In effect, the mind-bending theory involves multiple versions of characters from different timelines that, in the case of Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” can intersect to varying degrees of chaos.
Web often appears as a side character in “Spider-Man” comics, where she is depicted as a blind, paralyzed elderly woman who has myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune disorder requiring her to connect to a life support system resembling a spiderweb. The character was introduced in issue 210 of “The Amazing Spider-Man” comic series in 1980, where she’s a clairvoyant mutant whose abilities prove to be greatly beneficial to Spider-Man and his fellow arachnid allies, like Spider-Woman.
Since Johnson’s breakout role in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” she has cultivated an eclectic resume with roles in Luca Guadagnino’s supernatural horror remake “Suspiria,” the romantic comedy “How to Be Single,” the feel-good film “Peanut Butter Falcon” and director Maggie Gyllenhaal’s psychological drama “The Lost Daughter.” Johnson recently received acclaim for two Sundance films, director Cooper Raiff’s sweet coming-of-age story “Cha Cha Real Smooth” and the romantic comedy “Am I OK?”
“Madame Web” is one of several Spider-Man related spinoffs in development as Sony spawns its own separate and expanding film franchise, one that is anchored by baddies like Venom, Morbius and Kraven. It’s not (at least, at this point) related to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which Tom Holland plays the popular web-slinger. He last appeared in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” a box-office behemoth that has grossed $1.74 billion globally.
Deadline Hollywood first reported Johnson’s casting.