The ‘Bumblebee’ screenwriter was previously tapped by DC for a ‘Birds of Prey’ movie.
The cameras haven’t yet started rolling on Batgirl, but the quest to bring Barbara Gordon back to the big screen has already been through a number of twists and turns. Joss Whedon, experienced in writing both superheroes and strong female characters, was originally attached to write the script, and at first glance, he seemed like the perfect choice. However, he dropped out in February amid claims that he didn’t have a story that Batgirl deserved.
Whether you believe those claims or think Whedon’s departure had more to do with the negative reception of his work on Justice League and/or his ex-wife’s allegations that the filmmaker celebrated for his feminism was actually pretty gross towards women, it’s clear that Whedon leaving the project was for the best. After all, his exit opened the door for a woman writer to come on board. And despite her best efforts to win the job via Twitter, it’s not Roxane Gay.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that screenwriter Christina Hodson will be writing the script for Batgirl. She has written scripts focusing on complex women characters and scripts involving big franchise properties — an ideal combination when it comes to taking on one of DC Entertainment’s most popular women characters. Her first feature script, the thriller Shut In, was on the 2012 Black List of the best un-produced scripts before it was made into a film starring Naomi Watts in 2016.
Hodson followed Shut In with Unforgettable, a mostly-maligned thriller in which a spurned wife played by Katherine Heigl starts torturing her ex-husband’s new fiancee (Rosario Dawson), in 2017. She also wrote the script for the upcoming Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, set to hit theaters in December. Whatever you think about the Transformers franchise, that’s an impressive item to have on your resume when trying to convince folks you can write a big-budget superhero movie.
However, the most interesting project on Hodson’s resume is another one that hasn’t yet seen the light of day. She was previously recruited to work on a script for a potential Birds of Prey film, featuring — you guessed it — Batgirl. Clearly, her work on this project was impressive enough to convince Warner Bros. that she deserved the gig despite not being the most high-profile candidate connected to it. Plus, Hodson’s previous work writing thrillers makes me wonder if Batgirl will have a cool noir vibe. The previous DC films are somewhat lacking in style (and substance, with the exception of Wonder Woman). A noir take on Barbara Gordon would definitely be a nice palate cleanser following the simultaneously bland and bombastic style of the Zach Snyder films.
Of course, it doesn’t matter how awesome a script Hodson turns in if Warner Bros. makes a less-than-inspired choice of director. They have said they would like to echo the success of Patty Jenkins and Wonder Woman and hire a woman to helm the project. Rachel Talalay (Tank Girl), Karyn Kusama (The Invitation) and Lexi Alexander (Punisher: War Zone) should all be on their shortlist. Talalay, in particular, has crucial experience handling special effects-laden projects (including multiple episodes of Doctor Who) and mystery-driven stories (Sherlock) with style. If Warner Bros. can hire someone like her to direct the movie, we’ll all definitely have to keep Batgirl on our watch lists.