Screenwriter David Hayter (X-Men) had intended to helm a Black Widow solo movie back in 2004. Of course nothing materialized, but with the character appearing in Iron Man 2 and rumored to be a team member of the forthcoming Avengers film, it is interesting to take a look at what might have happened had the Soviet superspy premiered in her own feature. In the soon to be released book Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories, Hayter spilled the beans on his approach to the Black Widow movie and what happened to the project.
DAVID HAYTER: I had a very solid relationship with Marvel, having worked on a number of films with them, and I was looking for something to write and direct. They brought up Black Widow, and I knew the character very well from the comic book. So I spent about a year working on the script, and I was extremely happy with it.Essentially, the story is a young Russian girl’s parents are killed, so she’s given to the KGB to be developed into a super spy. In her early teen years, the Soviet Union crumbles, so they decide to kill her. But at that point, she’s too tough to kill, so she escapes and makes her way to America. Then, years later, we catch up with her in present day. She’s a freelance mercenary, and she’s called back to where she was brought up to face her past.
What I tried to do was use the backdrop of the splintered Soviet Empire – a lawless insane asylum with four hundred some odd nuclear missile silos. It was all about loose nukes, and I felt it was very timely and very cool.
Unfortunately, as I was coming up on the final draft, a number of female vigilante movies came out. We had Tomb Raider and Kill Bill, which were the ones that worked, but then we had BloodRayne and Ultraviolet and Aeon Flux. Aeon Flux didn’t open well, and three days after it opened, the studio said, “We don’t think it’s time to do this movie.” I accepted their logic in terms of the saturation of the marketplace, but it was pretty painful.
I had not only invested a lot of time in that movie, but I had also named my daughter, who was born in that time period Natasha – after the lead character in Black Widow. I named my daughter after a movie that I wasn’t working on anymore.
(read the entire piece at Latino Review, an excellent site for movie news)
Based on the above excerpt from the book Tales from the Script, Hayter seemed very much in tune with where Marvel Comics was addressing the superheroine in her numerous mini-series. I can totally understand the studio’s reluctance to develop a movie that would have seemed very similar to Ultraviolet and Aeon Flux, but it’s still a shame that Hayter didn’t get to complete his work… especially because he now has to have an awkward conversation with his daughter regarding why she is named Natasha.