When it came to S.J. Clarkson’s approach to Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Woman origin story Madame Web, “It all started with clairvoyance,” says the filmmaker.
Clarkson, who makes her feature directorial debut with the movie, has already dipped her toe in the Marvel universe as an episodic director in such Netflix series as Jessica Jones. In fact, it was her visceral work in handling feminine PTSD in a psychological thriller vein that made an impression on Sony Motion Pictures Group chairman Tom Rothman, who was struck by the pilot’s finale scene in an elevator.
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Clarkson talks about designing a psychic visual, slipstream of images style on today’s Crew Call.
In addition, the British filmmaker discusses how she landed her killer cast of Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced and Celeste O’Connor.
What floored Clarkson about Johnson, in addition to being a “grounded” performer, was that the actress could drive like a bat outta hell.
“[A director] asks actors a lot: Can you drive? Can you ride a horse? Can you speak French? And you get to set and they’re like, ‘Oh, I actually can’t, I’ve never ridden a horse or whatever,’ ” Clarkson says.
“She literally was like, ‘I can drive.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, let’s see.’ And on our first day of stunt rehearsal, she did a 180 stop turn and landed perfectly between the two cones. So, I was like, ‘We’re gonna be all right.'”
For all the rumble out there that fanboys are turning their backs on female-led superhero movies, Clarkson answers, “My hope was to make a great film, to make a great psychological thriller within the Marvel universe that obviously has female characters at the center. Yeah, but they’re also great characters. And I think great characters transcend gender and genre.”
In addition, Clarkson chats up her Game of Thrones prequel pilot Bloodmoon, which starred Naomi Watts.
Madame Web opens on Valentine’s Day with an outlook of $20 million-$25 million at the domestic box office over the six-day Presidents Day stretch.