For reasons beyond my (or anyone’s for that matter) understanding, Millennium Films hired Bryan Singer to direct a film adaptation of the Red Sonja even though the filmmaker has a reputation for poor on-set behavior and has been surrounded by a myriad of sexual assault allegations.
Though many have tried to take the pages of the comic book to the big screen, Singer’s hiring was as close as it got to getting the project off the ground. While the director has been quick to deny the sexual assault allegations, guilds and societies have made an effort to distance themselves from him. This includes the people behind the Oscar-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody, the Queen biopic from which Singer was fired.
Now it looks like enough is enough, as Millennium has put Red Sonja on hold. More on the report here below.
Deadline says “the project is not on the slate at the moment and is not for sale at the EFM in Berlin.”
The project would have been the first major step towards production in its decade-long time spent in development hell. At one point, Robert Rodriguez was to direct with Rose McGowan playing the title role. Amber Heard, who went on to the DCEU, was even considered to play Red Sonja. However, plans for that fell through as well. And now we are here.
For those who are unfamiliar with the character, Red Sonja is a sword-and-sorcery comic-book heroine created for Marvel Comics in 1973 by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Smith (which was based on a Robert E. Howard character). She is known for her mastery of swords and is in peak human physical condition. She is also a martial arts expert and has knowledge and experience of fighting the supernatural. The character previously had a self-titled big-screen adaptation in 1985 with Brigitte Nielsen as the lead and co-starring Arnold Schwarzenegger fresh of the Conan movies.
But the latest development comes after public outcry for giving Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody so much recognition during awards season. And The Atlantic’s expose on Singer’s numerous sexual assault allegations added more fuel to the fire. Furthermore, Millennium’s Avi Lerner tone-deaf justification of Singer’s hiring by saying that the allegations were nothing more than “fake news” just made things worse. Lerner did issue an apology soon after. But by that time, the damage was already done. Though he did say that “the comments came out the wrong way,” he stopped short of taking Singer off the project.
And now the project is on hold. Perhaps now would be a good time to give a female director the opportunity to helm the adaptation. The public is asking to see more females behind the lens of films like these, and films like Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman have proven that woman can direct just as well as men. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen. But for now, it looks like Red Sonja will be spending more time in development hell.