Thanks to giant franchises – like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically – we’ve now become accustomed to the ‘Lack Of Female Directors Explanation’ that’s so often trotted out by senior production executives: ‘Hiring a woman director is a priority for us, but we have to find one who wants to do it, and has experience before we hand them a giant movie.’ This is a frustrating response to calls for more women at the helm, not least because the same criteria doesn’t always apply to male directors hired by these studios. Now, though, it seems that Captain Marvel star Brie Larson could be the perfect answer to that standard delaying tactic.
The Academy Award winning actress has just made her feature length directorial debut with Unicorn Store. The independent comedy – written by Samantha McIntyre – has been highly praised by audiences and critics alike, following its screenings at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, and stars Larson in the lead role. Joining her in the cast are Samuel L. Jackson, Joan Cusack, Bradley Whitford, Ryan Hansen and Karan Soni. Larson’s directorial skills have been singled out as a particular strength of the movie, along with her central performance.
While promoting Unicorn Store at TIFF, the actress spoke to the Huffington Post and had an enthusiastic response when asked whether she would like to direct a Marvel movie in the future.
“Oh yeah, that’s my plan. Why not? My new life philosophy is I’m not going to tell myself no. I’m just going to do stuff until someone else tells me no.”
For context, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has – until the upcoming release of Thor: Ragnarok – been exclusively directed by white men for the past 10 years (and 16 movies). Brie Larson’s debut in the role of Captain Marvel – due to arrive in theatres on March 8th, 2019 – will be the first MCU movie to have a woman at the helm, since it’s being co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
So, now that Brie Larson is a critically acclaimed filmmaker in her own right, doesn’t that make her Marvel’s next ideal woman director? She’s experienced, she’s spent time working within the Marvel machine and is familiar with its processes and expectations, and most importantly, she’s stated clearly that she wants to direct a Marvel movie. She ticks all the boxes that this studio has insisted upon listing. This is a direct shot between the goal posts that the studio has repeatedly moved over the past decade.
As Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins to draw to a close, and Captain Marvel and Spider-Man position themselves to lead the Marvel superheroes into Phase Four, could we see this talented filmmaker taking the helm of Captain Marvel 2? Or perhaps even an instalment focused on a different character? Let’s hope so – because, when it comes to hiring women to direct movies, Marvel is officially out of excuses now that Brie Larson is making her intentions known.