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Rebel Wilson’s Comeback Will Include a Comic Book Movie

‘Crowded’ brings some dystopian sci-fi into Rebel Wilson’s lighthearted resume.
How To Be Single Rebel Wilson
By  · Published on June 26th, 2018

‘Crowded’ brings some dystopian sci-fi into Rebel Wilson’s lighthearted resume.

Rebel Wilson had a pretty quiet 2017, with the only release on her docket being a sequel (Pitch Perfect 3). That’s not what many would have anticipated way back in 2011 when she broke out in Hollywood as one of Kristen Wiig’s acerbic flatmates in Bridesmaids. However, she seems to be on her way back to the top of her game. Wilson’s upcoming slate is filled with leading and supporting roles that could very well be memorable, and she has just snagged yet another that may really put her skills to the test.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Wilson is about to delve into the world of comic book adaptations with Crowded, a project that she is developing, producing, and set to star in. If you’re unfamiliar with the title, that’s because the comic in question hasn’t even come out yet. Written by Eisner Award-nominated author Christopher Sebela with art and colors by Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell, “Crowded” is an upcoming comic book out of Image Comics launching in August.

The comic’s narrative traverses crime drama, espionage, and dystopian fiction in what seems like an epic joyride. Crowded is set in the very near future (with the cheeky synopsis on Image’s website noting that it’s a mere “10 minutes” away). It’s a time when the economy is powered entirely by job-shares and various apps, possibly the eeriest moneymaker of all — crowdfunded assassinations via a platform called Reapr — is not just the norm but fully embraced as a hot commodity.

When a regular woman named Charlie finds herself a target on Reapr with a multimillion-dollar bounty on her head, she attempts to hire someone to protect her. Yet unluckily for Charlie, the only person she’s able to afford on the Dfend app (because obviously, this universe has one of those, too) is its lowest-rated bodyguard, Vita. Together, the ragtag duo must race against the clock to figure out who ordered the hit on Charlie in the first place.

The search is currently on for a screenwriter to pen Crowded, but Sebela himself will serve as a consulting producer on the project. In what is bound to be a Black Mirror-esque comic caper inclusive of some serious social media commentary, Crowded seems to be slightly more adventurous ground for Wilson. But fun fact: this wouldn’t actually mark her first appearance in a comic book adaptation, as she played the iconic role of “Girl in Alley” in the Nicolas Cage film Ghost Rider.

Although unnamed, “Girl in Alley” has a fairly amusing, mostly one-sided conversation with Eva Mendes in the film. Between the Girl’s accurate descriptions of Ghost Rider and deadpan delivery, that minor scene allowed Wilson to demonstrate her natural comedic timing. It pretty much enshrined her potential as a funnywoman that would continue to be mined for years to come.

Wilson has primarily made a name for herself in the comedy world in the decade or so since she began her onscreen career. Even prior to her move to Hollywood, the Australian actress starred in comedies, sketch shows, and reality programs back home, putting down roots in the genre. She actually garnered her role in Bridesmaids only shortly after searching for work in the US. Wilson’s post-Bridesmaids career was followed up by notable lead role (Bachelorette) as well as supporting parts (What to Expect When You’re Expecting).

Eventually, Wilson landed the gig that would power her trajectory for years to come — Pitch Perfect — and brought the character of Fat Amy to the masses. The musical comedy took 2012 by storm (thanks in part to “Cups”) and spawned two financially successful sequels, with Pitch Perfect 2 grossing a whopping $287.5 million against its $31 million budget and the third installment grossing $184.7 million from a $45 million budget. The Pitch Perfect sequels are now the highest- and second-highest-grossing musical comedy films of all time.

Despite the dollars that Pitch Perfect made, the films did suffer from a decline in quality. The jokes just got more offensive, and the characters got a little less relatable, so it was difficult to empathize with their arcs. Nevertheless, Wilson remained a standout due to her character’s overt crassness, and she continued landing jobs within her wheelhouse. She starred in Pain & Gain, How to Be Single, and the lesser-known Grimsby. She even tried her hand at some family-friendly fare with one of the Night at the Museum sequels.

But those films didn’t really add much to her resume, be it in terms of acclaim or notoriety. Furthermore, along with Wilson’s stagnating filmography came a certain amount of media scrutiny and controversy when her identity was called into question by Bauer Media Group in their magazine Woman’s Day in 2015. The lawsuit that Wilson then brought against Bauer in 2016 alleged that defamatory remarks about her personal life negatively affected the amount of work she was able to get. In September 2017, she prevailed in court and was awarded $4.5 million (Australian) in damages (the amount was eventually reduced to $600,000 upon appeal, but Wilson will be appealing that decision).

Clearly, regardless of that personal speedbump, Wilson’s career has been due for a reinvigoration for some time. Crowded is just one of the projects that could kickstart that process. She is currently filming Taika Waititi’s Hitler satire, Jojo Rabbit, and will star in both the romantic comedy Isn’t It Romantic, and the Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake with Anne Hathaway titled The Hustle (which is also Wilson’s first production venture via her Camp Sugar banner).

Crowded fits in as an eclectic addition to this mix of projects, although it won’t be shockingly out of Wilson’s established schtick. The story’s science fiction and crime thriller elements will, after all, still include comedy. Regardless, the project could also be a great opportunity for Wilson to finally play a more dramatic and even action-packed role. In Sebela’s own words from an interview with Comic Book Club, Crowded will have a little bit of everything, including lovable characters and an exhilarating story. He assures readers that the comic will be “bloody, funny, cynical, and hopeful.” Meanwhile, Brandt says that “working on ‘Crowded’ is the most fun I’ve had whilst awake.” This certainly bodes very well for Wilson’s adaptation.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)