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Marvel Studios’ Blade, the Vampire Slayer feature has found its writer.
Stacy Osei-Kuffour, a playwright who acted as story editor and writer on HBO’s acclaimed limited series Watchmen, has been tapped to pen the script for the feature reboot of Marvel’s vampire-hunting franchise. She will be the first Black female scribe to write a Marvel movie. (Nia DaCosta, working on Captain Marvel 2, is Marvel’s first Black woman director.)
Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar for his performance in Green Book, is attached to star as the horror hero. Plans for a new incarnation of the character, played by Wesley Snipes in a string of movies in the early 2000s, were revealed during Marvel’s senses-shattering presentation at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con.
The studio has spent the last six months meeting with writers in what was described as a meticulous search, with Ali directly involved. Only Black writers were seriously considered, a reflection of Marvel’s focus on diversity and making representation a key factor — especially when tackling nonwhite characters. (David Goyer wrote the three original Blade movies released by New Line between 1998 and 2004.)
Created as a supporting character by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, Blade first appeared in Tomb of Dracula No. 10 in 1973, becoming a cult favorite. He is a human-vampire hybrid thanks to his mother being bitten and killed by a blood-sucker during childbirth.
Osei-Kuffour earned an Emmy-nomination for outstanding writing in a comedy series for her work on Hulu’s Pen15. But it was being part of the writing team on Watchmen, HBO’s heady spin on the Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons comic, that got her noticed, as well as a WGA Award win for best new series. She worked on Hunters, Amazon’s blood-soaked limited series that saw Al Pacino and Logan Lerman as Nazi hunters in 1970s America, and HBO crime thriller Run, starring Domhnall Gleeson.
Despite her seemingly rapid ascent in Hollywood, Chicago-born Osei-Kuffour spent years writing plays and poetry — she has a Master’s degree in the former from Hunter College in New York — but struggled to find work as a writer. Her jump from story editor to now a Marvel movie, and breaking down a barrier while doing so, makes for quite a Cinderella story.
She is repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel.