Although Angelina Jolie's 2010 spy thriller Salt did good business at the box office, progress on Salt 2 has been slow going. Last summer, Kurt Wimmer (who wrote the original film) was hired to write the screenplay, but Jolie was reportedly unhappy with his draft.
Since then, we haven't had many updates on the project, which would see Jolie reprise her role as the butt-kicking spy Evelyn Salt. However, it looks like Columbia may again be moving forward on the film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has hired Becky Johnston to write a new draft of the screenplay. Johnston's previous credits include The Prince of Tides and Seven Years in Tibet. Johnston has also recently worked on the comedy-drama Arthur Newman, starring Emily Blunt and Colin Firth.
Although Johnston's writing credits don't scream "action movie," there are a few good reasons why Johnston could be a great fit for Salt 2. While Jolie didn't specify the problems she had with Wimmer's script, one can speculate that perhaps the A-list actress was seeking a draft that gave her a meatier and more compelling character. With her background in character-driven dramas, Johnston could provide a fresh take that explores the complexity of Evelyn Salt.
Another potential factor at work here could be that Johnson is a female screenwriter, a highly underrepresented group in Hollywood. The action genre is largely driven by males - both in front of the camera and behind it. Given that Jolie is one of the few actresses in Hollywood that can open an action franchise, it's not unreasonable to speculate that she would be interested in having a female screenwriter write the movie.
Of course, that's pure speculation. The only thing we know for certain is that if Columbia has put its faith in Johnston to continue a potential blockbuster franchise, then she's got a great idea and plenty of talent to bring it to life.
There's no word yet on when (or if) Salt 2 will go into production.