“Madame Web is unlike any other superhero,” says director SJ Clarkson, who helms Madame Web, the first superhero movie with a female lead in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe.
In bringing to the screen one of Marvel’s most mysterious and inscrutable characters, Clarkson directs a standalone origin story for the character, played by Dakota Johnson, who uses the power of her mind to weave together the fates of everyone around her. “One of the themes of the movie is that you don’t have to be superhuman to have superpowers,” Clarkson continues. “Most superheroes’ powers come from strength and agility. With Madame Web, it’s all psychological.”
I think what fascinated me the most about this was the fact that the superpower was her mind,” continues Clarkson. “One of the lines in the movie is, ‘the power of your mind has infinite potential.’ And I thought that was so strong and so powerful – what an amazing thing to be able to explore in a film.”
Clarkson has earned a reputation as one of the go-to directors for strong female characters, having helmed the miniseries Anatomy of a Scandal, Collateral and Love, Nina, as well as episodes of Succession and Orange Is the New Black. She also set up the Marvel series Jessica Jones and directed episodes of The Defenders. With Madame Web, the director says she sought to bring a unique, cinematic presentation to Cassie’s visions. “Maybe seeing into the future is like remembering something – and memory sometimes isn’t clear, it’s often fragmented. It wasn’t necessarily linear. You never saw it from A to B to C. Visions and sounds don’t always meet up together,” she explains. “So, I thought about how we might find a visual way into this, and it’s almost like a camera shutter, the blink of an eye.”
Under Clarkson’s direction, the film, which also stars Sydney Sweeney, Isabela Merced and Celeste O’Connor, brings a female-forward point of view to its storytelling. “There’s a theme of empowerment throughout the movie that comes from the fact that each of these characters go on their own journey,” says Clarkson. “Cassie has to resolve the wounds of her past in order to fully embrace the future, and each of the girls come to learn that they had strengths within them that they didn’t know.”
“I really like the idea of ordinary people being heroes, because they are,” says Johnson. “There was an opportunity with this movie to reinvent a Marvel world where, first of all, it’s led by women, and it’s made by women – and because of that, the characters are real, and they are messy, and they are complicated, and they are extremely powerful.”
Get ready for a world of change when Madame Web, distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International, opens only in cinemas February 14. Connect with the hashtag #MadameWeb
About Madame Web
In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future… and realizes she can use that insight to change it. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies… if they can all survive a deadly present.
Directed by SJ Clarkson , with screenplay by Claire Parker & Clarkson, story by Kerem Sanga, based on the Marvel Comics. Produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, Tahar Rahim, Mike Epps, Emma Roberts, Adam Scott.
In cinemas February 14, Madame Web is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Connect with the hashtag #MadameWeb