Ned Benson, who scripted the ambitious three-picture package ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’, has been tapped by Marvel Studios to tackle the script for the ‘Black Widow’ solo film. The previous draft was penned by Jac Schaeffer (‘The Hustle’). Clearly, Schaeffer’s draft was just fine and only needs another polish, as Marvel was impressed enough to move her over to their upcoming ‘The Vision and Scarlet Witch’ TV series for Disney+. Schaeffer will not only write the pilot episode but will serve as executive producer and showrunner.
Benson wrote and directed ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’, his first feature film work. The three movies starred James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain as a couple whose marriage dissolves after a series of misfortunes including the death of their son. This project was originally released as two films in 2013, subtitled ‘Him’ and ‘Her’, with each following the story from their individual perspectives. In 2014, the two movies were edited together into ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them’.
Reportedly, it was particularly the ‘Her’ segment, on which Benson collaborated with Chastain, that drew Marvel to Benson, although there might be another. As Collider reports, it is rumored that Benson was hired to work on a film called ‘My Aryan Princess’ for Amy Pascal‘s Pascal Pictures, based on a Dallas Daily News report of a woman who worked to take down the Aryan Brotherhood in Texas. Scarlett Johansson was reportedly attached to star.
While ‘My Aryan Princess’ isn’t 100% confirmed to be happening, it would make sense that Johansson, who will also executive produce ‘Black Widow’ on top of starring, could have suggested Benson tweak Schaeffer’s script, after having worked with him on that picture.
The ‘Black Widow’ movie is reportedly a prequel and will delve into the character’s origin, growing up in Russia’s Red Room to become a master spy. Elements of this plot were hinted at in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.
Cate Shortland is attached to direct. Her most recent film was the indie thriller ‘Berlin Syndrome’, although she has since directed an episode for the new season of Showtime’s ‘SMILF’.
‘Black Widow’ is reportedly set for release on May 1, 2020, but that is not carved in stone. If production doesn’t begin soon, it may be pushed back, but check back for updates!