Marvel Studios Head Honcho Talks Hiring Black Directors & Diversity (And Ava DuVernay Directing ‘Black Panther’)

Marvel Studios Head Honcho Talks Hiring Black Directors & Diversity (And Ava DuVernay Directing ‘Black Panther’)

In case you didn’t
hear the news this week, Ava DuVernay has officially signed on to direct Marvel’s
film version of the Black Panther. And if you’re wondering why we didn’t mention
that at all on this site, it’s because it’s not true.

The internet
was all abuzz for a few days after some website, that no one had
ever heard of before, proudly announced that it was done deal for Ms. DuVernay
to direct the film. The news was picked up everywhere with people expressing all
sorts of congratulations to her for getting the gig.

But it’s not
true folks, honest. Even Ms. DuVernay herself had to get on the internet to
straighten things out. Sorry to burst your bubble. However, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had talks with Marvel about it.

And that bit
of news comes straight from the head honcho himself, Kevin Feige, the president of
Marvel Studios. He was asked in a Hollywood Reporter interview yesterday (HERE)
if Ms DuVernay is under consideration to direct Panther, and Feige said: “We’ve
met with her for sure. We’ve met with a number of people for a number of
movies. She has been one of them.”

And when asked
if they intend to hire a black director
for Panther, and more women directors for upcoming future projects, Feige gave
the rather standard reply: “It’s an
issue across the industry, for sure. And the issue is, we need to find the best
director for any given movie. And that’s really where we always start. If
diversity is part of that, it’s great. It’s important. You will start to see
things across the industry as a whole change as more filmmakers come up through
the ranks and become part of making movies like this.”

And he further
added: “I think it will happen sooner rather than later, without giving too
much away. But you look back sometimes, and it’s just the nature of this
industry, or the nature of the culture. But there’s a big shift happening.
What’s exciting about Marvel, go back and look at the source material: It’s
been diverse in a cutting-edge way going back to the ’60s, and I think we’ve
represented that effortlessly and accurately in the movies we’ve made up to
this point, but certainly with Black Panther and Captain Marvel doing it in a
much more overt and purposeful way.”

Well that’s all
well and good you might say, except that Sony and Marvel, just yesterday, announced
that the director they’ve chosen for the upcoming second reboot of “Spider Man” will be Jon Watts.

Jon Who? Jon
Watts is the very young director of the low budget thriller “Cop Car,” with only 7 characters in the entire film, which got attention, though not all
out raves, at Sundance, this past January.

Furthermore, the film won’t be released theatrically until August, so it’ll
still be few months before the public at large will get a chance to even see
the film and judge it for themselves.

Yet Marvel
thought that this guy, who, before he directed “Cop Car,” directed segments for The
Onion news satire TV series, was the best person to direct their big $150 million
new Spider Man movie.

Which means
that despite what Feige says, it sure looks like business as usual.

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Comments

Troublemaker

@M CREW LITE Suit yourself! "I would love to hear your picks for "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel?"" Hmm, I already stated who I supported.

Bernard

I agree it’s obviously a need for more diversity behind the camera. As a black/Latino screenwriter, I couldn’t wave that flag any harder or higher, but… this article implies that simply because Jon Watts is white it’s just "business as usual"? There’s a sentiment about the best director for the job and all that but he can’t possibly be that guy because he’s not what we want to see? We weren’t in his pitch meeting, we don’t know all who Marvel met with but we can give the sly wink-wink "business as usual" label because dude’s white? That type of thing is just as dangerous as the real business as usual that all of us would like to see end. Maybe that’s not the intent, but that’s certainly how the article reads.

RANDOM COMMENTARY

Black Panther should be directed by Ralph Ziman. He directed Jerusalema and Kite. I didn’t see Kite (live action) but I’ve watched the anime. He told a coming of age story similar to Boys in the Hood and South Central with Jerusalema. If given the chance he wouldn’t portray Africa in a condescending light.
Captain Marvel should be directed by Kasi Lemmons. Kasi directed Eve’s Bayou portraying multiple strong female characters. She can portray the dynamics between Monica Rambeau and Carol Danvers.

M CREW LITE

@TROUBLEMAKER You are right, I didn’t answer the question and I don’t intend too. But since you are so interested in who should direct these movies. I would love to hear your picks for "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel?"

Troublemaker

@M CREW LITE This is a free country and you can do as you please! However, you didn’t answered the question of who you think would be the "best director" to direct Black Panther and Captain Marvel?

M CREW LITE

@TROUBLEMAKER "Since when? If I can remember correctly, you were all up in arms about Ava DuVernay directing Black Panther." I am allowed to change my mind like everyone else here. What I say isn’t written in stone. I don’t owe anyone a explanation.

Troublemaker

@M CREW LITE "I don’t care about the race of the director I just want the best person for the job." Since when? If I can remember correctly, you were all up in arms about Ava DuVernay directing Black Panther. I remember Bryan Singer never directed a comic book movie before X-men and was very successful. Then he took on Superman after doing two X-men and he bombed badly at the box-office. So I would love to know who would be "the best director" to direct "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel"?

Miles Ellison

There have been literally dozens of movies like Cop Car on Netflix over the years. If Marvel thinks that the first time director of straight-to-stream hackery is the best person to direct Black Panther, who are we to argue? I don’t think most of the audience will care or notice the difference anyway.

Walter H Gavin

It’s not about the property it’s about the people. White folks just feel more comfortable putting their imprimatur behind other "white" folks. That’s the way of the world in "white" Hollywood. It’s been that way forever and won’t be changing any time soon. The only way for "black" directors, writers, et. al. to get the kind of opportunities their talent deserves is to work for and with "black" producers on more diverse story offerings and properties.

Carl

Well that’s ok because it is just a stupid comic book movie right? Who cares if Ava directs it right?

M CREW LITE

Can we stop having this discussion! Black people have to work twice as hard for the same opportunity. That’s something white people don’t encounter. I don’t care about the race of the director I just want the best person for the job. Marvel should be focused on the best director to helm "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel" not the race or gender.

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