Ever since Black Panther was officially announced by Marvel Studios last year, rumors have circulated over who would direct the highly anticipated film. For a long while, you couldn’t hear about Black Panther without hearing the name Ava DuVernay, especially when it was confirmed that Marvel was in talks with her to direct an unspecified film. Of course, we later learned that DuVernay passed on the gig, citing creative differences as her reasoning, taking her out of the rumor mill. Fast forward a few months, things had quieted down a bit on the director front, while Marvel brought in Joe Robert Cole to write the screenplay for the upcoming flick. It was then that it was said that Marvel Studios wouldn’t continue to pursue directors until after a screenplay was done; It’s worth noting that, at this point, it was rumored that Marvel had gone after F. Gary Gray, who was originally in the running to direct Captain America: Civil War, but he’d already signed on for the next Fast & Furious film. But the folks over at Heroic Hollywood seemed to go against what the trades were saying and insisted that Marvel had their eyes on Ryan Coogler, a director that was sure to be on Hollywood’s hot list with his latest film Creed.
While it’s been said that Coogler has passed on directing the project, that didn’t stop Screen Rant from talking to the director about the importance of Marvel Studios hiring a black director on a project as important as Black Panther.
SCREEN RANT: I know there’s been a lot of rumors about you and Marvel’s Black Panther. I don’t want to talk about that because you are focused on [Creed]. But do you think something like a Black Panther movie from Marvel has to have a black director? We’ve seen just like every prominent black director thrown in—Ava [DuVernay], you, anybody who’s had any kind of success in the last few years…
Ryan Coogler: Yeah, I think it’s important. Perspective is so important in art. It’s an important thing. That’s not to say that you can’t work outside yourself. When I was coming up, I made movies about things that were close to me; I made movies about things that weren’t close to me. But I definitely think that it helps when you are close to a subject. Like, I was an athlete for most of my life before I was a filmmaker. And that helped to inform me when writing this script, when directing. Having had those types of experiences helped me inform this process.
A lot of times with great movies, you find some part of the filmmaker’s life informing what they were doing. You look at Marty’s great movies. It’s like, man, you look at Mean Streets, that was his life. That was what he was dealing with. That was what he was coming up with.
If someone said, “What’s Marty Scorsese’s greatest movies,” they’re going to generally be about the Italian American experience. People are going to throw out Goodfellas, they gonna throw out Mean Streets because it was something that was close to him. That’s not say that Departed isn’t a great movie. But the proximity…you could feel the director’s proximity to a movie like Goodfellas a little better because he grew up in that neighborhood. He grew up in Little Italy. That was his world.
So I think that there is a potential for a greater truth when a filmmaker comes from a particular culture that they’re dealing with. That’s not to say that a filmmaker can’t work outside his or her cultural space. But I do believe that the opportunity for the film to have more nuance will come when you looking at filmmakers that bring a little bit of that from their personal experience.
That’s why I think folks are opinionated about it. But if I was in a position where I’m making a movie about the first woman superhero that’s every going to get released all over the world, I would do everything in my power to find a woman to direct that movie out of the simple fact that I think it will give you a cultural perspective. I don’t think that’s wrong of a studio to do. I think it’s actually responsible. It’s responsible because it’s their job to make the truest, best film.
While Coogler’s words are sure to draw varying reactions out of fans, he does have a point. When it comes to both Captain Marvel and Black Panther, neither of which currently have a director on board, it’s paramount that Marvel Studios understands the importance of these films. And while I understand the “hire the best director” argument to an extent, it’s hard to deny that most of the time, the only people in the running for these gigs are white men. (Of course, Patty Jenkins, who was on board Thor: The Dark World briefly, and Taika Waititi, who will direct Thor: Ragnarok, have been the exceptions.)
Black Panther, which will star Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero, is set to hit movie theaters on February 16th, 2018.
Source: Screen Rant.