Zatanna writer Emerald Fennell is looking to cast a spell over the DC universe with a film that is “big and scary” and “quite dark.” In March, DC Films and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot tapped the Promising Young Woman writer-director and Killing Eve Season 2 showrunner to pen the script for the film first revealed to be in development in late 2018. Now Fennell, fresh off an Oscar win for Best Original Screenplay for the Carey Mulligan-starring Promising Young Woman, reveals the tricks she’ll pull out of her hat for a big superhero movie starring the backward-speaking sorceress:
“There are lots of things about her that felt like they could be really, really interesting,” Fennell told Empire Magazine. “And it’ll be an opportunity to make something really quite dark. And that appealed to me, to make something big and scary. I love that stuff.”
On transitioning from works like television’s Killing Eve and her black comedy thriller Promising Young Woman to the world of DC, Fennell said, “The scale of [these movies] is so massive and so thrilling. Like, why wouldn’t you want to write something like that when you can write huge, massive, crazy sequences and fights? Normally you’re like, how can I show this in the smallest cheapest way [laughs]? To have complete freedom to really let your imagination run wild is such a joy.”
In March, Fennell said directing Zatanna is “not a conversation that’s happened at all” and that the DC Comics adaptation is still in “the early days.”
“It’s so exciting. That’s not a conversation that’s happened at all, so I have no insight, and also, we’re still in the early days,” Fennell told Variety. “It’s something that we’ve been working on for a while. I’ve been speaking to Bad Robot [Productions], who are amazing. You want to get the first bit right, which is the script, before you think of anything else.”
Fennell added: “It’s a very specific thing – the world of superhero movies is incredibly exciting, but it’s also a new different challenge. The main thing for me is making sure that it’s really, really good. I’m such a genre fan. I’m a fan of witchcraft, magic, and comic books, and this is scary and intense.”
Zatanna does not have a release date. Upcoming DC Films productions include The Suicide Squad (August 6), The Batman (March 4, 2022), Black Adam (July 29, 2022), and The Flash (November 4, 2022).