‘The Marvels’ Director Says Blue Screen “Just Isn’t Working”

This post is by Alyssa Miller from No Film School

The Marvels director Nia DaCosta had good reason to question whether entering the Marvel world was a good idea.

In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, DaCosta revealed that she was in frequent contact with previous Marvel directors before and during the making of her first Marvel film.

Before agreeing to make The Marvels, DeCosta asked Chloé Zhao (Eternals), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy movies), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) what the stakes are for directing a superhero film in an era where the genre feels redundant and uninspired.

“Are they going to kill me and destroy my soul? Is Kevin Feige a bad man?” she joked. “And they were like, ‘No, he’s just a good guy who was a nerd.’”

DaCosta agreed to helm The Marvels, which stars Bree Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, and Samuel L. Jackson, and follows the trio of Monica Rambeau, Kamala Khan, and Carol Danvers as they try to untangle their powers. DaCosta is the youngest filmmaker and the first Black woman to direct an MCU theatrical release.

“When I was reading the outline that they sent me initially before I was pitching, I was like, ‘This is insane,’” DaCosta said to The Associated Press earlier this month. “It felt so comic book-y. I was like, ‘Wow, they’re really going for it.’”

DaCosta on the Challenges on a Marvel Set

During the making The Marvels, DaCosta revealed that there were many tough shoot days that “overwhelmed” and “stressed” her out.

As DaCosta told Vanity Fair, “Sometimes you’d be in a scene and you’d be like, ‘What the hell does any of this shit mean?’ Or an actor’s looking at some crazy thing happening in space, and they’re [actually] looking at a blue X. There were obviously hard days, and days where you’re like, ‘This just isn’t working.’”

The Marvels is the MCU’s big-budget attempt to try something new, and, unfortunately, DeCosta has been thrown into a world that doesn’t fully prepare filmmakers to work within the world of VFX. As Marvel films become more and more reliant on VFX work, directors who have little experience working on blue screens tend to create more problems for VFX teams later in post-production.

DeCosta, who is a brilliant filmmaker who has worked on CGI and practical effects-heavy films like 2019’s remake of Candyman, understands the pressure she is under.

It has been a shaky year for superhero films. Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania brought in $214.5 million domestically (according to Box Office Mojo), barely passing its $200 million budget. Other superhero films like The Flash and Shazam! Fury of the Gods bombed at the box office.

Marvel is hoping The Marvels find similar success to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($845 million) or its other woman-led film, Captain Marvel ($1.131 billion).

While DaCosta tried to bring as much of her distinct style that makes her one of the fastest rising directing in Hollywood, she noted to Vanity Fair that The Marvels is “a Kevin Feige production, it’s his movie. So I think you live in that reality, but I tried to go in with the knowledge that some of you is going to take a back seat.”

“It was really great to play in this world, and to be a part of building this big world,” she added, “but it made me just want to build my own world more.”

The Marvels is set to open in theaters Nov. 10 from Disney.
Source: Vanity Fair