Dakota Johnson in talks to Play ‘Madame Web’ in the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters
Dakota Johnson is in talks to play the title character in Madame Web, the Sony spinoff centered on the Spider-Man character. The actor cast 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.
Introduced in the 1980s The Amazing Spider-Man No. 210, Madame Web is a clairvoyant mutant who is known for her ability to predict the future of Spider-themed superheroes, having mentored not only Peter Parker’s alter ego but also multiple generations of heroes calling themselves Spider-Woman. Traditionally depicted as a blind, paralyzed old woman, she is surrounded by a web-like machine necessary to keep her alive, meaning that she stays away from direct conflict and sends others on missions.
S.J. Clarkson is set to direct the feature, part of Sony’s growing stable of films based on Marvel characters. 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.
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Madame Web marks the most prominent studio feature in years for Johnson, who broke out in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise and has since focused on smaller and independent fare. Recently, Johnson was at the Sundance Film Festival with two features — Am I OK? and Cha Cha Real Smooth — both of which she also produced under her TeaTime banner.
Madame Web is vital in the interconnected multiverse in the comics, 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.
Madame Web is one of several projects in development as the studio builds out its Sony Universe of Marvel Characters. Sony, which controls the film rights to Spider-Man and other related characters, has already released Venom (2018) and Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2020) and has the Jared Leto starring Morbius due out in April. Sony also has Kraven the Hunter in the works with star Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
The studio is riding high following the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has grossed $1.74 billion globally, the highest in Sony history.
Johnson, repped by WME, Untitled Entertainment, and Johnson Shapiro, can currently be seen in Netflix awards contender The Lost Daughter. Clarkson has directed TV series including HBO’s Succession and the Netflix/Marvel series Jessica Jones. In addition, she is currently helming Anatomy of a Scandal, a six-episode Netflix adaptation of the novel of the same name. Clarkson is repped by WME.
As for Johnson has had quite the year, starting with her acclaimed role in Netflix’s The Lost Daughter. Her Sundance film Cha Cha Real Smooth sold to Apple for $15 million after premiering at the festival. She can be seen next in Persuasion.
Clarkson is currently directing and executive producing the bestselling novel Anatomy of a Scandal. In addition, she directed an episode of Jesse Armstrong’s Emmy-winning series Succession and directed and executive produced the miniseries Collateral, starring Carey Mulligan. She was also a lead director and executive producer on Marvel’s The Defenders and Jessica Jones.
Johnson is repped by WME and Untitled Entertainment.