Helmer On Turning Down Marvel’s “Black Widow”

Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, who has scored rave reviews for her eccentric drama “Zama” released earlier this year, has spoken about something not many people have previously talked about – turning down the chance to direct a Marvel Studios film.

The Daily Pioneer reports that Martel spoke at the Mumbai Film Festival back in October and detailed a meeting she had with Marvel, where they discussed the possibility of her directing the upcoming “Black Widow” film starring Scarlett Johansson. Those comments have only now come to light and she makes some very valid points about the casual sexism that still goes on in Hollywood:

“What they told me in the meeting was ‘We need a female director because we need someone who is mostly concerned with the development of Scarlett Johansson’s character. They also told me ‘Don’t worry about the action scenes, we will take care of that.’ I was thinking,’‘Well I would love to meet Scarlett Johansson but also I would love to make the action sequences.’ Companies are interested in female filmmakers but they still think action scenes are for male directors.”

Another reason she may have lost the gig is one of the most basic – honesty. Corporate execs rarely respond well to un-massaged straight criticism and she explained to Marvel her concerns with their films so far:

“The first thing I asked them was maybe if they could change the special effects because there’s so many laser lights…I find them horrible. Also the soundtrack of Marvel films is quite horrendous. Maybe we disagree on this but it’s really hard to watch a Marvel film. It’s painful to the ears to watch Marvel films.”

Martel admitted she also signed an NDA of some kind stating she was not allowed to talk about the meeting with Marvel, so ended her comments with the joke: “But just in case any of this is going to be on YouTube, I would love to make Black Widow.”

Cate Shortland ultimately came onboard to direct the film which is rumored to be targeting a 2020 release.