Forget Angelina Jolie: Ava DuVernay is Down to Direct a Marvel Movie

By  · Published on February 9th, 2015

Paramount Pictures

First, let me say that I hate these kinds of non-news stories where someone’s response to a leading question is circulated with any sort of relevance to anything. But we love Ava DuVernay too much to ignore anything she’d be down to do, even if she didn’t know she’d be down to do it until asked directly and specifically by an entertainment journalist. Plus, with ridiculous rumors circulating that Marvel has offered Angelina Jolie $20m to helm Captain Marvel, why not also throw DuVernay’s hat into the ring as a seemingly more plausible contender for the gig?

The non-news that DuVernay would be interested if Marvel came calling is actually via an interview with HitFix from December. I missed the comments then, but Susana Polo posted the video on The Mary Sue today with hopes of getting the studio’s attention. DuVernay doesn’t think they’d offer anything to her, but she admits that as someone who likes deconstructing heroes and myths she would love to do some kind of origin story, “where you get to the core of it before they get their powers.” She’s not familiar with any Marvel characters, and she claims to not be a big fan of comic books (read: she’s not a reader of them, not necessarily a hater of the medium), but she’s open to anything.

DuVernay’s Selma is a kind of superhero movie, if you think about it. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t fly, and as DuVernay intends to show in the movie he’s not exactly a god, but he definitely had unique powers. And unlike Jolie, DuVernay has made a Best Picture nominee, and let’s face it she’s also just the better director. Never mind that Jolie’s Unbroken has made more than $100m more than DuVernay’s Selma worldwide. Marvel doesn’t need pricey directors who’ve already delivered blockbusters. They need talented directors who can do a good job with their characters, who are the real box office draw of the franchise anyway.

Or, maybe Jolie can do Captain Marvel and DuVernay can take on any of the other planned movies of the MCU. Just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she has to direct the one with the woman superhero. She also doesn’t have to direct Black Panther simply because she and the hero are both black. Nor would she be best suited outside the MCU with an X-Men movie because she’s already done a civil rights story. DuVernay is a great director, period, rather than a great female or African-American director. Hell, give her Avengers: Infinity War. It’s not an origin story, but she proved with Selma that she’s good at juggling a decent-size ensemble piece.

Watch the isolated segment of HitFix’s interview with DuVernay about Marvel below. And feel free to change “Marvel movie” to “Star Wars movie” or “Transformers movie” or any other equivalent.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.