• Madame Web follows the story of Cassandra Web, a paramedic with clairvoyant powers, as she embarks on a thrilling journey that forces her to confront her past and her future fate.
  • Director S. J. Clarkson aimed to create a kaleidoscopic and visually thrilling representation of Cassie’s powers, drawing inspiration from memory and non-linear imagery.
  • Clarkson discusses the approach to the character of Ezekiel, highlighting his visceral and survival-driven nature, and expresses excitement about the possibility of Madame Web and Jessica Jones teaming up in the future.

In Madame Web, a Manhattan paramedic, Cassandra Web, is grappling with the manifestation of clairvoyant powers. When she helps three young women escape the clutches of a mysterious threat, Cassandra begins a wild journey that will force her to truly understand her powers. With this comes a confrontation of both her past and the future fate has in store for her.

Director S. J. Clarkson is no stranger to Marvel, having tackled Jessica Jones and The Defenders before taking on Madame Web. The script was written by Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, and Claire Parker with Lorenzo di Bonaventura serving as producer. Madame Web stars Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, Celeste O’Connor, Isabela Merced, and Tahar Rahim.


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Screen Rant interviewed Madame Web director S. J. Clarkson. She explained how she wanted to show Madame Web’s powers and her approach to Ezekiel Sims. Clarkson also shared her desire to see Madame Web and Jessica Jones team up and why it was important to keep Madame Web grounded.

S. J. Clarkson Talks Madame Web

Screen Rant: This movie’s a ton of fun. Here’s the thing, I love superhero movies, but this is really an action thriller that I enjoyed and also reminds me a little bit of Final Destination. I love the kaleidoscope kind of feel of the vision sequences, and I love the way that Cassie’s powers are kind of displayed throughout the film. Can you talk about where that inspiration came from and how you achieved that look?

S. J. Clarkson: I love that you used the word kaleidoscopic because I talked about that, about a kaleidoscope of things coming towards her. I think when I first read the script, I’m not going to lie, I was like, “Clairvoyance is that, how am I going to do that?” And then I thought about memory and you know sometimes how a memory or something from the past can come flying back at you hurdling? I thought, “Okay, let’s think about that, but it’s in the future.”

So it’s like memory, but in reverse or fast-forward, I guess, whichever way you want to look at it. But that to me was the really interesting thing and how memory comes at you in an often non-linear slipstream renetic images, not always sure that they quite marry together. So it was about taking that as a sort of a grounding and then seeing how I could make it as thrilling, terrifying at times, exciting and vibrant as possible.

Speaking of terrifying, I feel like Ezekiel’s character in this is almost like a slasher movie villain like a Spider-Man character. Can you talk about that approach to the character?

S. J. Clarkson: I think what is so interesting about Ezekiel is he’s fighting for survival and he’ll do anything to survive. I think coming at it definitely in a more visceral way was exciting. To be able to sort of take something like the scene on the train and see him in action, both as he is as a person and as he is in his suit as it were. The gift of being able to do that was so much fun. And that I think helped lend into seeing somebody do something really bad, both as a person and as a character.

Jessica Jones about to leave at the end of Jessica Jones season 3

You’ve dipped your toes into the Marvel world before. You’ve directed Jessica Jones and The Defenders. Would you like to revisit that universe and those characters and would you like Madame Web to be included in that large universe?

S. J. Clarkson: Wouldn’t that be amazing? Jessica Jones was my sort of first introduction to the Marvel Universe, and I remember reading Alias and just being blown away. I thought, “Oh, I’ll read a couple of pages,” and I sat down and read it from cover to cover. I thought the brilliance and the brevity of the storytelling and the propulsion that you got from reading this and the actual graphic images were bursting off the page.

They were so cinematic and lend themselves to be sort of put on a screen and I got very excited by that. Similarly, when I read the script of Madame Web, I was like, “Okay, there were some similarities between the character. They’re quite abrasive initially, but when you get beneath the surface, they’ve got a heart.” So I think it’d be really interesting to see those two together.

I love the fact that this is a big action movie, but it feels very grounded. It feels like all the things were done practically. Can you talk about that approach a little bit?

S. J. Clarkson: Yeah, I think it was really important to me that we kept it grounded because it was a psychological cerebral ability, I thought how could we keep this real and grounded and something that we can all relate to in a way, that we all might get, as scary as that might be with some of these scenes. I definitely wanted to use the camera and techniques more that I sort of learned along the way in these many things.

But I knew I had already done PTSD with Jessica, so how was I going to do it differently? So I did things on that like taking the lens off and playing around with it. And on this one I used a diopter that I would personally swipe in front of the lens, which gives you this sort of depth of feel that smashes in and out.

And then we would use that and cut between the frames between what she was seeing, the real world and what also might be happening. So the bummer was we had to shoot everything like three times. So we were always up against it, but it was quite a lot to juggle, but really exciting to do it in camera.

About Madame Web

Cassandra Webb (Dakota Johnson) looking at a spider web in Madame Web trailer

The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who may have clairvoyant abilities. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women destined for powerful futures…if they can all survive a deadly present.

Check out our other Madame Web interviews here:

Madame Web

hits theaters on February 14.

Source: Screen Rant Plus

Madame Web Movie Poster Featuring Sydney Sweeney as Julia Carpenter, Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon, Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, Celeste O'Connor as Mattie Franklin, and Tahar Rahim as Ezekiel Sims

Madame Web

Madame Web is a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Taking place in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, the movie revolves around a clairvoyant woman who can look into different dimensions. Dakota Johnson stars in the lead role, with Sydney Sweeney, Adam Scott, Isabela Merced, and Celeste O’Connor comprising the rest of the cast.

Release Date
February 14, 2024

S.J. Clarkson

Burk Sharpless , Matt Sazama , Kerem Sanga

Columbia Pictures , Di Bonaventura Pictures

Sony Pictures Releasing

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