Ariana DeBose hand to face

Ariana DeBose at the 5th Annual Hollywood Critics Association Awards.

As the studio continues to build the cast for its latest superhero – or in this case, super- antihero – movie, Sony has opted for a popular, award-winning performer to join the cast of 'Kraven the Hunter.' Ariana DeBose, who played Anita in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’, has joined the movie as the character Calypso, according to Deadline.

J.C. Chandor is directing the film, which already has Aaron Taylor-Johnson starring as Sergei Kravinoff, AKA Kraven.

Just in case you’ve somehow forgotten, he’s a regular antagonist for Spider-Man, who in the pages of the comics, has encountered (and caused violent problems for) a number of heroes.

Kravinoff, created by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, made his debut in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 in 1964. A maniacal big-game hunter, he made it his mission in life to prove his abilities by beating Spidey. But he’s also been portrayed as something of an antihero and has even fought alongside the web-crawler at times.

As for DeBose’s character, Calypso originated in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #209 in 1980, created by Denny O'Neil and Alan Weiss. She’s a voodoo priestess who has powerful mind control and potion-based magical powers. She’s most closely associated with Kraven and has been his romantic partner at times. But the relationship between the two has always been combustible.

Kraven animation

Kraven the Hunter in the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' animated series.

The new casting recruit joins the likes of Russell Crowe and ‘The White Lotus’ Fred Hechinger. While Crowe’s role remains a mystery, there has been talk of the film featuring Kraven’s family, so he may well be the character’s father. Hechinger, meanwhile, is playing Chameleon, a master of disguise who is also Kraven’s brother.

DeBose, a celebrated stage actor who has appeared in the likes of ‘Hamilton’ and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, has been winning plenty of plaudits for her performance in ‘West Side Story’, which is no small feat given that the role of Anita was originated on screen by Rita Moreno, who also appears in the new movie and won an Oscar for the 1961 version.

Thus far, DeBose has won both the SAG Award and the Golden Globe for her work, and she’s nominated for the BAFTA and Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She has Matthew Vaughn’s spy thriller ‘Argylle’, starring Henry Cavill, on the way and will also be seen in sci-fi movie ‘I.S.S.’, set aboard the International Space Station. The story for that one feels a little too close to home right now, as war breaks out between Russia and the West and astronauts are ordered to take control of the station.

Chandor is working from a script by Art Marcum & Matt Holloway and Richard Wenk that has been in development for a while now but has taken a big leap forward. ‘Kraven the Hunter’ is currently taking aim at a January 13, 2023 release in theaters.

Next up for Sony’s Marvel productions is ‘Morbius’, which put out its final trailer yesterday and arrives in theaters on April 1. And not forgetting the animated sequel ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One’, due on October 7.