‘Saltburn’ Director Emerald Fennell Reveals Her “Reasonably Demented” ‘Zatanna’ Movie Is No Longer Happening
The reshuffling and rebooting of DC at the studio level has led to several perennially gestating projects being scrapped. That list continues to grow and we can confirm that writer and filmmaker Emerald Fennell’s Zatanna film is the latest one to perform a disappearing act.
The Saltburn director spilled this tea to Josh Horowitz on an edition of the Happy Sad Confused podcast where she discussed the script’s development and its ultimate demise as a consequence of the constant regime change at Warner Bros that also phased out producer JJ Abrams and his big plans.
“No, it’s not happening,” she explained to Horowitz via CBR. “This was all before Promising Young Woman, actually. So, this was something I was working [on] before Promising Young Woman, and it was when J.J. Abrams had just arrived at Warner Bros. and was going to reboot the [Justice League] Dark Universe. And they were going to kind of make this new kind of dark, sort of villain universe, or hero, villain universe.”
Fennell was looking forward to working with the Star Trek director. “And I just thought he was the coolest. His team at Bad Robot, Hannah, his producer at Bad Robot, was so cool, and so interesting, because I love genre of all kinds,” she added.
She also admitted to knowing nothing about the superhero genre as well as her intent to make a movie that appealed to herself primarily. “I’m definitely interested in, ‘Oh, okay, I don’t know a huge amount about the superhero genre. It’s not a genre that I naturally gravitate towards,’” Fennell said.
“So, I was like, ’Okay, well, I’d love to [know] how does one make a movie like that for people like me, who maybe don’t know so much, and wouldn’t necessarily buy a ticket the first time around.’ So, it’s sort of that kind of thing. I’m like, ‘Okay, this is interesting.’ And Zatanna is just a really, really cool character,” she continued.
Whether the script was “cool” in any sense of the word would probably be debated endlessly by fans if it ever got produced, but what Fennell – who referred to her screenplay as “reasonably demented” – had in mind for the Mistress of Magic might have rubbed most fans the wrong way.
“It was complicated, because, I think, the regime, the things change,” she reflected. “It’s the classic studio stuff… J.J.’s incredible. His team are incredible, and I think it just… I wrote, in the end, I think, a script that is reasonably demented. In a good way, I think. But, in the end, I think the whole universe was changed.”
Fennell concluded, “But that’s fine. I love writing… I love working with people, so it was kind of really fun to do in the end, whether or not it would be remotely makeable.”