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Red Sonja is back on track.
Transparent creator Jill Soloway will write and helm the film, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Red Sonja was originally to be directed by Bryan Singer, but Millennium Films put the film on hold in February after The Atlantic published an investigative piece in which multiple new accusers claimed Singer raped them when they were underage.
In the wake of the exposé, Millennium Films CEO Avi Lerner released a controversial statement to THR in which he called the Atlantic article “agenda driven fake news” and said he intended to let Singer keep his job. After the statement was widely criticized, Lerner told THR that crisis PR guru Howard Bragman had written the statement and Lerner said he OK’d it without reading it.
A Red Sonja movie has been in the works at Millennium for over a decade, and Soloway’s boarding so quickly after the Singer debacle shows the company’s dedicated intent to make the film.
In 2008, Robert Rodriguez teamed with his then-girlfriend Rose McGowan for the project, making a big splashy announcement at Comic-Con that year. But they subsequently fell off the project and it has languished in deep development, with writers coming and going, ever since. The comic book property, currently published by Dynamite, previously spawned a 1985 movie starring Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Sonja first appeared in the pages of Marvel Comics’ Conan the Barbarian comic and has headlined her own series for Marvel and other publishers as the license to the works of creator Robert E. Howard shuffled around. The character’s origin has changed over the years, but it initially involved her being raped as a teen by mercenaries before then going on a journey of revenge.
Hiring Soloway is in some ways a coup for the project, whose character sometimes found herself in the trappings of adolescent fantasy clichés and trapped in the male gaze. Soloway is known for elevating a strong female perspective and for themes of gender and inclusivity.
Soloway has won two directing Emmys for work on Amazon’s Transparent, which is ending its run this year with a musical finale. She also directed the 2013 Sundance feature Afternoon Delight, and worked on the acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under as a writer and producer.
Millennium Films is producing Red Sonja with Topple Campbell/Grobman Films and Cinelou Films. Andrea Sperling, Soloway’s partner at Topple Productions, joins as a producer, and Luke Lieberman will executive produce.