A replacement for Bryan Singer on Red Sonja has been found.
Jill Soloway, the creator of Amazon’s Transparent, has been tapped to write and direct the movie after Singer was dropped from the project, a rep for Millennium Films confirmed to EW.
“I can’t wait to bring Red Sonja’s epic world to life,” Soloway told Deadline, which was the first to report news of the 53-year-old’s involvement. “Exploring this powerful mythology and evolving what it means to be a heroine is an artistic dream come true.”
Singer was once attached to helm the film, which has been in development for years. However, he was dropped from the project after The Atlantic published new accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against the filmmaker. Avi Lerner, CEO of Millennium Films, released a controversial statement in January in which he seemingly referred to the allegations as “agenda driven fake news.” Lerner later told The Hollywood Reporter that his publicist wrote the statement and he approved it without reading it.
Red Sonja is based on the 1970s comic book spin-off to Conan the Barbarian. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith for Marvel Comics, Red Sonja was introduced as a swords-and-sorcery heroine who was given incredible powers by a goddess. The material, which tended to lean into the visuals of a risqué male teen fantasy and includes an origin about Red Sonja being sexually assaulted by the leader of a group of mercenaries that also killed her family, prompted many comic fans to take issue with Singer’s early involvement, considering the allegations against him.
Brigitte NielsenIn played Red Sonja in a 1985 film with Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2008, Robert Rodriguez came close to reviving the franchise with his then-girlfriend Rose McGowan, as announced at Comic-Con that year. They eventually fell off the project. Based on Soloway’s involvement, it would seem like this new reworking will bring a more progressive approach and less sexualized version of the character to the screen.
Soloway, who’s virtually unknown to big Hollywood blockbusters, has been involved with pushes for more inclusive storytelling in entertainment, notably through Transparent. The Emmy winner’s movie musical based on the show will cap off the Amazon series later this year.