Jessica Chastain's superhero project Painkiller Jane has taken a step nearer to the theaters, as the writer of the adaptation has been announced as writer/producer Christine Boylan. Painkiller Jane is based on the cult comic heroine and is a movie that the busy actress has been keen to produce and star in for some time. So the news that Boylan is now attached to the movie is a clear indication that the production is moving forward.
Painkiller Jane is also known as Police Officer Jane Vasko, and the star of a comic book miniseries created by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada for Event Comics in 1995. After the character took off, she became popular enough to crossover with the comic incarnations of The Punisher and Hellboy. The illustrated version of Jane isn't necessarily super-powered - apart from extensive knowledge of martial arts and firearms - but she is practically indestructible, having Wolverine-levels of regenerative powers. She still feels pain though, hence the nickname. The character has been brought to life before in a Syfy channel movie and short-lived series, being played by Emmanuelle Vaugier and Kristanna Loken in 2005 and 2007 respectively.
Chastain announced her intention to produce and star as the central character last year, but there doesn't seem to have been much movement on the project since then. Deadline now reports that Lotus Entertainment has signed Boylan to adapt the material for the big screen. Boylan has worked as a writer/producer on the TV shows Once Upon a Time, Constantine, and the crime drama Castle, and would seem to be a good choice to bring the character to life again.
The actress certainly bears a good resemblance to the character and it will be interesting to see just how closely it will compare with the comic book version. Her origin has changed slightly over the years, but she gets her powers when working undercover infiltrating a mob meeting, not realizing that a bomb has been planted on her. She recovers after the blast when one of her targets apparently bestows the superpowers onto her, causing her to become the titular vigilante. It's not known if the film will incorporate this version of her origin or go for a different approach.
Chastain is currently getting some serious plaudits for her performance in the upcoming Molly's Game, but she's already displayed her eagerness to become part of superhero lore, with her as-yet-unidentified character due to play a major part of X-Men: Dark Phoenix. It's still early days yet with Painkiller Jane, but hopefully we'll get further news eventually regarding a release date, and details about the rest of the cast and plot. We'll keep you updated on this promising project.