We Have a New Favorite Director and Star Duo for Captain Marvel

By  · Published on October 21st, 2015

Marvel Comics

Yesterday we published a profile of cinematographer turned first time director Reed Morano, whose debut Meadowland is headed into theaters this week. At the time, we thought it was simply a very interesting discussion with an up-and-coming filmmaker about her work, about the challenges of being a female filmmaker and about her budding partnership with actress Olivia Wilde. We were pretty happy with that being the gist of it, as Tomris Laffly’s work on the interview was superb.

Little did we know that there was something we forgot to ask. In a crucial violation of film blogger standards and practices, we failed to ask Morano if she would be interested in directing a superhero movie. For this, we feel an amount of shame that cannot be quantified. Thankfully one of our intrepid readers took to Twitter to ask Morano for himself:

@rejectnation @reedmorano dumb question about this superb interview – would you want to direct Captain Marvel? Say, starring @oliviawilde?

— MC Nedelsky (@MC_Nedelsky) October 21, 2015

Not long after, the filmmaker responded emphatically:

@MC_Nedelsky @rejectnation @oliviawilde um…hell yes!!! – Reed Morano, A.S.C. (@reedmorano) October 21, 2015

Olivia Wilde and Reed Morano on ‘Meadowland’ set (Photo: Paul Sarkis)

The thought of this combo has been plaguing the mind of yours truly in the 12-hours since this Twitter exchange transpired in our mentions. First, we have Morano, a seasoned cinematographer responsible for films such as Frozen River, Kill Your Darlings and now the gorgeously shot Meadowland. She’s already receiving acclaim for her directorial debut, which currently sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes following festival showings at Tribeca, San Diego and the Hamptons International Film Festival. Here are a few samples of what critics are saying about her work:

“Meadowland’s visual style is all about the faces: deep close-ups predominate, eyes, mouths, eyebrows, suggesting that the larger world, with its distractions and crowds and lights, has vanished for this couple,” said Sheila O’Malley at RogerEbert.com.

“First-time director Reed Morano comes to Meadowland after a successful career as a go-to cinematographer in the upper tier of American indies. She makes terrific use of negative space in the frame (something’s missing, after all), and avoids cliche when shooting New York. Even heartbreaking, music-drenched wanderings and searches in Times Square are filmed in shallow focus, making the familiar feel a little alien,” said Jordan Hoffman in his review at The Guardian.

This is the kind of stuff that I’d like to see from a director for Captain Marvel: a keen eye. A distinct, yet flexible visual style that matches the sound and image of a film to the emotion of it’s characters. There’s an essentially intimate quality to the story of Carol Danvers, especially as we’ve seen in the books written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Carol is an cool under pressure, but she’s also got a fierce will and is constantly looking to prove herself. These are a lot of the reasons why those who are deeply familiar with the character continue to reject the idea that she should be played by Ronda Rousey. We all think Ronda is great (and terrifying), but that’s not what this character is about.

Which brings us to Olivia Wilde who, as Morano herself describes, is someone whose “talent is just out of this world. She’s just never been given the opportunity. Maybe it’s because people just saw her as: ‘she’s so beautiful so she should just be the arm candy, she can’t possibly be a real actress.’ But actually she’s a mind-blowing, amazingly talented actress. Everyone should see past the stereotypes that they’re making about people.” After seeing her spread her wings a bit in movies like Drinking Buddies, Butter and now Meadowland, we’re finding it hard to argue that. Wilde has all the potential in the world. And she fits into that Marvel Studios archetype of being just famous enough to be recognizable, but ever so slightly off the radar enough to be an unexpected leader of a Marvel film. It’s on par with the list-status of Chris Pine, Chris Pratt and Chris Hemsworth. Her only downside is that her name isn’t Chris, but that doesn’t seem to be required for Captain Marvel.

So there we are. A “dumb” question, asked on a lark by a reader, responded to in good humor by a filmmaker because hell, who wouldn’t want to make a big Marvel movie? All this has led to a brand new filmmaker duo and a little bit of optimistic fan-casting. Having given it about 12-hours of deep thought, we’re all in on this idea. Someone call Marvel. Once again, we’ve answered all of their toughest questions for them.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)