Beloved and beautiful geek scribe Jane Goldman has her hands full. In addition to penning this weekend’s gothic Hammer horror story “The Woman In Black,” she’s lined up a number of big projects. And while there’s a chance one of them may or may not be involved in the forthcoming “X-Men: First Class” sequel, she may have bigger fish to fry.
During a recent interview with The Playlist for “The Woman In Black,” Goldman responded to an X-franchise query with a coy, “That’s not certain yet. But I’d like to, and Matthew [Vaughn] would like me to.” But she expressed reservations about her availability, given her stacked dance card. “I’m working on a sci-fi project for Warners [Bros.],” she told us. “It’s called ‘Nonplayer,’ an adaptation of a really wonderful comic that just won the Eisner for [Promising] Newcomer.” “Nonplayer,” if you recall, is an Image Comic that was recently picked up by the WB for David Heyman (“Harry Potter“) and Roy Lee (“The Departed“) to produce. The story follows a young woman who escapes from her drab life into an online fantasy world. “It’s futuristic, it’s incredible,” Goldman enthuses about the story, which is set in a distant future. “Science fiction is not a genre I’m used to [writing], but it’s my favorite.”
Before that, Goldman has to finish writing duties on her adaptation of “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” which she’s been penning for Tim Burton. Having just completed a first draft, she describes it thusly: “It’s quirky, I would say. It has really dark and scary moments in it, but there will be humor in it, it will be very perky, a little off-beat.” Yep, sounds like Tim Burton! The story involves a child finding an abandoned school for children with supernatural powers who may not have actually vacated the premises, but Goldman made sure to emphasize, “It’s very funny!” Most likely, it sounds like you can bring the kids.
Goldman also reports that her script for “Dan Leno And The Lighthouse Golem” is in active development. Possibly sporting the book’s U.S. title “The Trial Of Elizabeth Cree,” Goldman says, “It’s a very strange period movie with a Jack the Ripper-style serial killer case woven into the story of a star in vaudeville.” She happily reports of the picture, which has funding from the U.K. Film Council, “Hopefully that should be getting a director any time now.” As for another Goldman script in development, the sci-fi romance “Anubis,” don’t hold your breath. “That project is very much on hold, but I’d very like to come back to it in the future,” she says, noting that an unnamed director and she seem to have conflicting schedules.
One project Goldman was linked to was another comic adaptation, of the Valiant character “Bloodshot.” While Goldman’s frequent collaborator Matthew Vaughn had purchased the rights, Goldman considers stories of her involvement “inaccurate.” “Matthew is producing that,” she confirms, though it’s unknown where it fits into his schedule. She doesn’t know much else about the not-very-in-demand character, stating, “I know he had the rights at one point, but he was not planning on directing that.”
In the meantime, Goldman is only thinking forward when it comes to “The Woman In Black.” Though the film borrows from the tropes of old Hammer films, she says, “I think Hammer, right now, is trying to move forward, and not think about the past. So what I was trying to do was write something with that timeless quality, that could play to a contemporary audience. And I tried to think of things that genuinely scared me, times in my life where I jumped, when I was terrified, to try to keep that atmosphere.” But don’t look for any happy endings. “I think we turned it down as far as the saccharine elements,” she says, referring to the surprisingly dark conclusion to the original novel. “There’s a bittersweet element to the entire story, we didn’t want it to be a zombie movie, but it’s definitely dark.”
“The Woman In Black” will be released this Friday.