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Black Widow Director Says Coen Brothers Classic Impacted Marvel Movie

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Black Widow Director Says Coen Brothers Classic Impacted Marvel Movie

Black Widow sends Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova on a spy adventure.

Marvel studios

Superhero fans are getting ready to see the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in two years this Friday, When Black widow hits theaters and Premier Disney Plus Access. It was supposed to be out in May 2020, but the pandemic forced Disney to delay Natasha Romanoff’s long-awaited solo adventure. multiple times.

Send Avenger-on-the-run Natasha on a quest tinged with espionage as she unravels a conspiracy linked to her past, in the wake of the one in 2016. Captain America: Civil War.

Black Widow was directed by Cate shortland, whose previous films include the dramas Somersault other Scienceas well as the 2017 thriller Berlin syndrome. Black Widow is her first MCU project, and I stayed up late in London to talk to her about Zoom when she started her day in Australia.

We stayed away from spoilers, but we touched on the impact of the pandemic on production, Marvel Studios collaboration aspects, and how a Coen Brothers classic influenced Natasha’s first encounter with one of the movie’s villains.

Here’s an edited transcript of our Zoom conversation.

Cate Shortland and David Harbor at SDCC 2019

Cate Shortland and David Harbor talk about Black Widow at SDCC 2019.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

I really enjoyed the movie, I didn’t want it to end, which I suppose is the highest compliment. Did it change at all due to the delay? Or has it been in the can since 2020?
Shortland: It’s been in the can. It took us longer to finish because we were in separate houses; We couldn’t be in the same room And all the digital effects labs started shutting down due to COVID, so we exchanged visual effects with different people. The whole process took longer because of that. But we’re done and haven’t touched it in a year.

What do you think of the simultaneous release of Disney Plus and in theaters, since that was not the original plan?
Ultimately, I want people to see it in a theater if they can do it safely. These movies are designed to be enjoyed in a theater with an audience, a community, with beautiful sound. That is the latest. But because of the situation we’re in, it’s great that some people can see it at home on Disney Plus.

black-widow-marvel-bbu-18105-r

The scene where Taskmaster meets Natasha for the first time was influenced by No Country For Old Men.

Marvel studios

Which action movies had the most influence on you when you made Black Widow?
The movie I watched the most was No country for old men, even if it is not an action movie. But it’s so beautiful how the Coen brothers create suspense in stillness and rhythm. That was really influential for the Taskmaster moment when he stops on the bridge and walks towards her.

Also love [Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Fallout director] Christopher McQuarrie’s work, and it was really generous. He talked to me on the phone when I was in pre-production, about how to work with second unit choreographers and directors, how to team up and make sure they all make the same movie.

And then some things from South Korea: we made montages of different action and fighting sequences. Before we started, I cut 10 minutes of fights that I liked from the last 30 years so that we could talk to the choreographers about it.

What was really important to me was that Natasha felt human and fallible, because she’s up against these really formidable fighters. So you want to feel the blows. You won’t want to pour yourself a cup of tea, this is a fierce fight to the death you want to see.

Let’s take a look at the classic James Bond in Black Widow. What is your favorite movie from that franchise?
Skyfall. I think it’s an amazing movie.

Dreykov [Black Widow’s main villain] He has an intense misogynistic streak that I found both repulsive and fascinating. Why does it work so well here?
I think because he is pragmatic, he sees women as something he can buy and sell, he has no problem with that. Instead of getting caught up in your morality, you see it as a business. You have people whose entire lives have been wrecked by someone like that, then you put them in the room together and they are still intimidated by him. In a way, Natasha is still under his spell.


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What’s it like to work with the Marvel Studios Parliament? That group of names always jumps out at me in the credits, it seems to be a group of executives.
Yeah, that’s a really beautiful process — I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it. But the studio is incredibly collaborative. So you don’t feel like you’re working with executives, you feel like you’re working with filmmakers.

We got some beautiful plot points from people that were involved in other films — Nate [Moore], which produced Black Panther, or people who were producing other projects would read the script and give feedback to [Black Widow producers] Brian Chapek, Brad Winderbaum and myself.

And it’s not just the producers. A 24-year-old’s assistant would read the script. It’s really egalitarian, it’s about “the best idea wins.”

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