Heathen, a movie about lesbian Vikings based on a comic book series of the same name, has landed a director. IndieWire reports that Catherine Hardwicke has taken the job. Hardwicke has previously directed Thirteen, Twilight, and Lords Of Dogtown. The project also has a writer in Kerry Williamson, whose resume includes a writing gig for Netflix’s What Happened To Monday.
The story in the comics was written and drawn by Natasha Alterici and is currently on its fourth issue. With several nods to Norse mythology, it revolves around a Viking woman named Aydis who gets ostracized from her community after she kisses a woman. She eventually becomes a warrior determined to de-throne the patriarchal god-king Odin with the help of a polyamorous goddess named Freyja.
The Wrap reports that the comic’s first arc sold out in one week after a successful Kickstarter campaign which is a testament of how popular the series has been. It has received critical acclaim as well as it was named to the Young Adult Library’s 2018 Great Graphic Novels For Teens list.
“The entire Heathen team and I are incredibly excited about adapting my little lesbian Viking comic for film, especially with a kindred spirit like Kerry writing it,” Alterici said to Deadline. “I’ve been a film fanatic for longer than I’ve been a comics fan, and that my working in one format would lead to another is nothing less than a dream come true.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) July 24, 2019
As The Mary Sue notes, the feminist themes in Heathen line up with some of the statements that Hardwicke has made in the past about sexism in the film industry. After she directed Twilight, a box office smash, she was not hired to do the sequels and found it difficult to find work in the aftermath. She’s previously hinted that it was because she was labeled as difficult and that female directors are held to different standards than their male counterparts.
“At the time I didn’t understand when people were dinging me for being whatever, emotional or difficult,” she said in an interview with The Mary Sue. “Yet they’re praising all the male directors I’ve worked for being passionate and visionary and sticking to their guns, fighting for what they want.”
This new development in the Heathen film project comes after Marvel’s big announcement that Natalie Portman is returning to the MCU to play Thor in Thor: Love & Thunder. So it appears that feminist Norse Mythology retellings are currently on-trend.