Young and heralded filmmaker Nia DaCosta is taking reign over the recently announced adaptation of Henrik Ibsen‘s 1891 stage play Hedda Gabler, according to Variety. The upcoming film will reportedly be a re-imagining of the original story, written and directed by DaCosta for MGM‘s Orion Pictures and Plan B.
For those unfamiliar with the play, Hedda Gabler was written by Norwegian playwright Ibsen, who has been described as “the father of realism.” His work in the 1800s was considered to be controversial for the time, and the play that DaCosta will adapt to film deals with the inner workings of a woman’s mind, and her place in society and the world around her. In Ibsen’s letters prior to publishing his play in January 1891, he said of Hedda Gabler, “What I principally wanted to do was to depict human beings, human emotions, and human destinies, upon a groundwork of certain of the social conditions and principles of the present.” The play itself follows an atypical lead, a type of anti-hero uncommon of female leads, but revered in shows like Breaking Bad and The Boys. The titular character, Hedda, is bored with the marriage she never wanted and now feels trapped in, resentful of the home she never desired and is navigating the ennui of her out-of-control existence.
It will be fascinating to see what angle DaCosta takes her upcoming adaptation, following the great box office success of her 2021 sequel Candyman. The sequel to the 1992 horror classic of the same name raked in an impressive $77 million worldwide, subsequently making DaCosta “the first Black woman director to open at the top of U.S. box office charts.” Hedda Gabler will be the filmmaker’s second project with MGM after the horror sequel, and her second collaboration with Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment after announcing that she will be taking up the director’s chair for the film adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ best-selling novel The Water Dancer.
DaCosta began her career early and made waves at Tribeca with her first feature film Little Woods, released in 2018 and starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James. Currently, the modern western sits at a near-perfect 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, and was produced by Gabrielle Nadig, who will be returning to produce for Hedda Gabler. Before The Water Dancer or Hedda Gabler, DaCosta‘s next project to look out for is the highly anticipated MCU sequel to Captain Marvel, The Marvels starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel), and will reunite her with Candyman star Teyonah Parris.
In an interview with Uproxx, while discussing her upcoming sequel The Marvels, Larson spoke on working with DaCosta as a director:
“I can’t say enough about how incredible our director, Nia DaCosta, is and what an honor it was to work with her, what an immense talent she is, how much I just feel like she’s the future.”
Besides its original stage play, Hedda Gabler “has seen numerous adaptations on stage and screen,” since 1891 and earned English actress Glenda Jackson (Women in Love) an Academy nomination in 1975. Of the multitude of adaptations, Hedda has only ever once been directed by a woman, for the BBC in 1993, and that was for a television movie. Under DaCosta‘s careful attention and her ability to write and direct poignant depictions of women onscreen, it’s safe to say this re-imagning will be something to look out for.