Whatever Happened to the Much-Hyped Possibility of a 'Martha Washington' Screen Adaptation?
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Whatever Happened to the Much-Hyped Possibility of a 'Martha Washington' Screen Adaptation?

Earlier this month, Tambay asked whether all the excitement over “Wonder Woman” would lead to screen adaptation opportunities for black women superhero characters, which reminded me of this.

It’s been a long time since 2008 when there was talk of bringing comic book/graphic novel legends Dave Gibbons and Frank Miller’s fictional character Martha Washington to the screen, but given that Hollywood is all about comic book adaptations these days, and we just had a high profile female superhero movie in “Wonder Woman” open strong at the box office, and still performing  well, now seems like a good time to revisit the possibility of a Martha Washington movie or TV series.

While she’s not your traditional superhero like say “Storm,” could a Martha Washington small or big screen adaptation still happen?

Martha Washington first appeared in 1990 in the Dark Horse-published comic book “Give Me Liberty,” where her story begins in the squalid corridors of a maximum-security housing project, where a young girl will rise from the war-torn streets of Chicago to battle injustice in a world insane with corruption. She will be called a hero, a traitor, and nearly everything in between, but all along the way, her courage, her integrity, and her unwavering commitment to that most valuable of rights — liberty — will inspire a movement that will never surrender.

Gibbons and Miller would revisit the character for the titles/series “Martha Washington Goes to War”; “Happy Birthday, Martha Washington”; “Martha Washington Stranded in Space”; “Martha Washington Saves the World”; and “Martha Washington Dies.”

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Here’s what we’ve known about the prospects of a screen adaptation starring the character:

In late 2008, writer Frank Miller expressed his strong desire to see his and illustrator Dave Gibbons’ collaborative effort, the story of Martha Washington, get the screen treatment. MTV quoted Miller as saying, “It’s just a matter of finding the right venue, because ‘Martha Washington’ isn’t a movie, it’s a series,” he said. “It would have to be like 12 episodes to fit the whole story in. I would not let it be truncated.”

That revelation from Miller got comic book fans buzzing, crossing their fingers in the hope that the dream would become reality.

But here’s what eventually happened:

Nothing since then, as far as I can tell. The only piece of public news we’ve heard came from a July 2009 report that Miller’s top choice to play Martha Washington would be actress Rosario Dawson. Needless to say, public reaction to that news was mixed. Taking a look images of both Washington and Dawson, you’d understand why.

But there have been little to no new developments since that time; at least nothing that’s been made public, which doesn’t mean that there isn’t some effort at this moment to bring the graphic novels to the screen. Like I said earlier, now is probably as good a time as any to make the attempt given the comic book adaptation frenzy we seem to be living in.

Is the project dead, or is there still hope that this popular female African American comic book character’s story could one day be told on the big-screen (or maybe as a cable series?).  And if so, which actress would be best suited to embody Martha Washington?  Should they go big-name, or up and coming talent?  Here are a few of my own picks, in no particular order:

1) Shareeka Epps;  2) Lisa Berry;  3) Rutina Wesley;  4) Estella Daniels; 5) Kandyse McClure.

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