So either I'm starting to develop a certain amount of clairvoyance about the movie biz, or the 'Rant is starting to really influence the powers that be. Just yesterday we reported that Marvel is making movies based on their lesser-known heroes, and in that post, I pitched a list of characters I believed would be perfect for the small-scale films Marvel is angling to make.
Among the names on my list was Spider-Woman, a.k.a. Jessica Drew. Now, a day later, we're hearing rumor that a Spider-Woman movie may in fact be in the works, with none other than High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens being eyed for the titular role.
The report comes by way of MTV UK, which claims that Hudgens is the current frontrunner in a pool of actresses being considered for Spider-Woman. Check out the quote from MTV UK's "movie insider" source:
"The idea is for this to be a fun, comedic movie and Vanessa is perfect for the title role..Spider Woman is strong and sexy but in this case hilarious.Vanessa is apparently very interested in the idea,"
When it was reported that Marvel was going to be taking these lesser-known heroes and using them to make small-scale movies ($20-40 million budgets), the blogosphere reaction (including my own) was that this would be a positive thing. Less money circling the films would likely mean new faces in the starring roles and emerging talent in the director's chair. The hope was also that with smaller budgets, the filmmakers would have to be more creative with their visions (see: District 9, made for about $30 million).
However, this Spider-Woman RUMOR is a definite step down the wrong path. Hudgens is far from being an unknown actress, and the bubble gum teen icon is certainly not any fanboy or girl's top choice (or even tenth choice) to play Spider-Woman.
More to the point: When I pitched Spider-Woman as a great candidate for a "Marvel Indie Movie" (I'm officially coining that term, Btw) it was because I thought the history of the character would make for a great cinematic story.
In the most recent telling of her origin, Spider-Woman gets her powers from an experiment her pregnant mother and father were working on, involving human/spider DNA. Jessica Drew grew up an orphan who is eventually recruited and trained by the terrorist organization HYDRA to be a super-powered spy and assassin. Of course after that bad start she does a heroic 180°, becoming a private investigator, and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and eventually an Avenger.
From that origin I just described, how do you get a "fun, comedic movie" starring a teen bubble gum queen? Suffice to say, I'm praying this RUMOR is strictly that.
Spider-Woman would (and should) be gripping spy/action/thriller movie. Done right, it would introduce a whole new corner of the Marvel Universe to moviegoers (the HYDRA and A.I.M. terrorist sector - basically the bad guy versions of S.H.I.E.L.D.), one that has peripheral ties to a lot of other Marvel characters, including Iron Man, Wolverine (he has a history with HYDRA's leader, Viper), The Avengers and of course, the obvious parallels to Spider-Man.
The film would also introduce us to a character who has enjoyed a great resurgence in the Marvel Universe as of late. Jessica Drew is a fantastic character because she's not your stereotypical "pure hero." Her powers (especially her love potion pheromones and lethal "venom sting") make her the spy/assassin version of Spider-Man, and because of her shady past, her motives and morals are, at best, always gray. A film following her turn from bad girl to hero (with an ambiguous finale about whether she's truly playing for the good guys), would not only make for a good movie, but also a great launchpad into other Marvel Movie crossover events (Spider-Woman vs. Black Widow anyone?).
For me it's an absolute NO THANKS on Vanessa Hudgens playing this role. If I had my pick, I'd give the part right to Smallville alum Kristin Kreuk. Forgetting about that Chun-Li fiasco, Kreuk has grown a lot since her Smallville days and has that good girl/bad girl duplicity that would make for a great Jessica Drew.
Again, let's hope this Hudgens playing Spider-Woman talk is JUST RUMOR. Marvel, we love the idea of "Marvel Indie Movies" but steer the ship right - we DO NOT want to end up with another Elektra.
How do you feel about this RUMOR? Do you agree that a Spider-Woman movie should be in the vein of Bourne-meets-Spider-Man? Do you think the character even deserves her own film? And who should play her?