‘Madame Web’ Director On Fanboys & Female Superhero Pics; ‘Game Of Thrones’ Prequel

When it came to S.J. Clarkson‘s approach to Sony/Marvel’s spiderwomen origin story Madame Web, “It all started with clairvoyance,” says the filmmaker.

Clarkson, who makes her feature directorial debut here, has already dipped her toe in the Marvel universe as an episodic director such Netflix series 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 elevator finale scene.

Clarkson talks about designing a psychic visual, slipstream of images style on today’s Crew Call:

In addition to 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 regales.

“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-lead 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 $20M-$25M at the domestic box office over the six-day Presidents Day stretch.

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