Actor-writer-director Emerald Fennell is the toast of Hollywood these days, as her directorial debut Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan has been showered with attention, praise and nominations throughout awards season. It’s only natural to use that exposure as a launchpad to high-profile gigs, and Fennell has now landed an interesting one, as writer of the upcoming Zatanna live action feature film from Warner Bros.’ DC Films and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. The film has not been attached to a director yet, so it’s unclear if Fennell might be in the mix to direct as well as write, or whether she’s interested in that particular job.
Promising Young Woman was a dark, witty black comedy centered around social justice and revenge, in which a woman takes it upon herself to avenge her friend’s rape years earlier. Fennell has received critical adulation and Oscar nominations both for her direction of the film and its original screenplay—an impressive duo of accolades for any first-time director. Previously, Fennell was a showrunner on the second season of thriller series Killing Eve.
Zatanna, meanwhile, is a character well known to DC Comics geeks, but not one who has appeared in the live action DC Extended Universe to date. She’s an extremely powerful sorceress who hides her abilities behind the guise of being a conventional stage magician, but is considered one of the most powerful magical beings in the DC Comics universe. This has made her a frequent member of the Justice League in many iterations, as well as the Justice League Dark, which specifically tackles magical and occult threats. Zatanna has appeared in various animated DC properties, and was once played by actress Serinda Swan on the TV series Smallville.
There’s been no news on who might be in the running to play the magical heroine this time around, but she would be only the second female DC superhero to front her own movie, after Wonder Woman. A Supergirl film is also planned, and actress Sasha Calle has been cast in the role, but she’ll first debut in The Flash, and doesn’t have a standalone movie scheduled yet.