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Oscar winner Emerald Fennell breaks silence on 'dark' Zatanna movie she's writing for WB and J.J. Abrams

By Josh Weiss
Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #3

DC's Mistress of Magic, Zatanna, is coming to the big screen by way of recent Oscar-winner Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman). The writer-director, who recently took home an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, was reported to be attached to the project in March of this year, but we now have a firm confirmation via an interview she did with Empire Magazine for the publication's July 2021 issue. Zatanna has yet to hire a director and set a release date, but we do know that it's one of many films J.J. Abrams is producing under his mega-deal with Warner Bros.

"If you grew up loving things like Jurassic Park and Spielberg and all the kind of Hollywood Hollywood movies, J.J. is just so exciting ... What Warner Bros. are doing, they're letting people be — or at least wanting to be — led by the story," Fennell said. "And there are lots of things about her [Zatanna] that felt like they could be really, really interesting. And it'll be an opportunity to make something really quite dark. And that appealed to me, to make something big and scary. I love that stuff."

Given the character's expertise with magic spells, it doesn't take a Sorcerer Supreme to work out that WB is finally venturing into the weird and supernatural comic book territory blazed by the release of Doctor Strange in 2016. Before Zatanna hits the big screen, however, DC will present its own answer to Strange, Dr. Fate (whose own creation predates Marvel's wizard by more than two decades), in next year's Black Adam movie, where he'll be played by Pierce Brosnan.

Fate can set the stage for mysticism in the DCEU, while Fennell, now unshackled by budgetary constraints, types away at her keyboard. "These are the movies...the scale of them is so massive and thrilling," she continued. "Like, why wouldn't you want to write like that when you can huge, massive, crazy sequences and fights? Normally, you're like, 'How can I show this in the smallest, cheapest way?' To have complete freedom to really let your imagination run wild is such a joy."