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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"I'm not allowed to have layers?"
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July 17 2015

Bugs in the system. "From 'Ant-Man' to 'Thor,' why does Marvel clash with its directors?" An attempt to answer the question: "...why, in a world of friends and heroes, do Marvel directors so often walk?"

Interesting. I think of the phenomenon as the Disneyfication of Joss's storyline. Movies released with metronomic regularity and cookie cutter plots with all of the internal substance of a Lorna Doone. All plot points neatly tied up in a bow after 140 minutes.

They are obviously not there yet, but Ant-Man was a huge step in that direction.
Lorna Doone as in cookie, not the novel?
Well, I disagree with this point:

“Marvel is so unlike anything Hollywood has quite seen before […]”

Marvel Studios reminds me of the old Hollywood studio system. Where producers heavily meddled with the creative decisions––as shown in The Bad And The Beautiful (1952)*––which gave us great classic movies as well as edited messes, where we had to wait for a “directors cut” for 40 years.**


[ edited by Udo Schmitz on 2015-07-18 15:20 ]
Is it really that often compared to other studios? I see news about directors switching on movies all the time.
To some extent, it mirrors television production, where the executive producer manages series direction and continuity. Directors just do episodes.

Plus, the burnout factor. Two to three years on a movie is a long time for a director, and the good ones will want to move on to something else -- something bigger, something more personal, something where they have more control.
Indeed interesting. Is there anywhere I can read a transcript of Joss's interview that he talks about. I would be very interested in knowing how differently Joss wanted to make the farmhouse and other scenes.
I´m not surprised. I work in the german TV business and hierachy is a big thing here as well. There´s no thing you can do about it, it seems and thats why german film is so bad right now and has been for years.
I think it's simply rare for a production studio to be so protective of their IP. It's normally a mix of IP Holder, Studio and Director/Producer. With Marvel it's a bit different. They know what films they want to make, they just need a third party to pull the trigger. Ultimately, it's a good thing though - just look at what Duncan Jones is doing on Warcraft with Blizzard. It took them a long, long time to find a director to do their world justice, but when the partnership finally clicks - it's better for everyone.

Marvel probably don't want another Edward Norton situation either.
Thanks Simon.
I wonder how Joe and Anthony Russo are going to deal with doing 4 movies in a row. Granted there are two of them, and they aren't writing the screenplays, but that's like 8 years out of their lives just working for Marvel.
I wonder how Joe and Anthony Russo are going to deal ... that's like 8 years out of their lives just working for Marvel.

St. Peter, don't call me cause I can't go.
I owe my soul to the comic book store.
You load 16 Puns, whataya get ...
Yeah, my head was flashing to all the people in truly crappy jobs who get minimum wage (more or less). All these directors get burned out, but they're compensated better than most cogs in the corporate machinery.
The beat goes on,
Ava DuVernay has turned down the opportunity to direct Black Panther because (wait for it) "It might have been too much compromise."
Full article.
This seems to be much ado about nothing. It's just another way the MCU is run more like a TV series than like auteur director films. Works pretty well. I hope it never changes.
It's just another way the MCU is run more like a TV series than like auteur director films.

Because we all know how dangerous it is to mix artistic edginess and big ideas with television...

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2015-07-21 00:28 ]
I just don't buy that there's any story here at all.

How many directors have been announced for a Superman movie, only to never do it? Batman and Wonder Woman (Joss can attest to this), too. I just saw something yesterday about Stan Lee writing a soap box article about how excited he was that James Cameron was going to direct Spider-Man.

It's not just comics. Directors come and go on James Bond, Harry Potter, and tons of one-off movies.

I don't accept that Marvel is clashing with its directors more than any other studio.
How many directors have been announced for a Superman movie, only to never do it?

Completely different situation. This article is about what seems to be patterns of behavior with directors starting from the time after they've successfully completed chapters in the MCU.
Kinda like how Tim Burton completed two Batman movies, then left. Or how the director of the latest Bond movie just recently said he'd never do another one again because it's just too much time out of his life. JJ Abrams only did two Star Wars movies. There have been three different directors for the Harry Potter movies.

Also, the article is not *just* about directors who've completed chapters in the MCU. A big chunk of it is on Edgar Wright.

Plus, this article makes a big deal of how "challenging" Whedon found the second Avengers movie. The thing is, we all know he had several reasons for leaving the franchise. He's been saying for awhile that he needed to start working on his own stuff again.

The article is also misinterpreting things. It specifically mentions Kenneth Branagh not returning for the Thor sequel, but that wasn't because he had problems with the studio. He's specifically said that he'd really like to work with Marvel again. The article forgot to mention that.

They held up Pixar as being able "sell its directing chair on a wish", whatever that means, but they didn't report the fact that Pixar has had to shuffle directors as well. Brad Bird was a replacement on Ratatouille, for example.

This is all just pattern recognition. They're looking for patterns that show Marvel losing lots of directors. If someone is looking for evidence to support that, they'll find it. However, that's not at all unusual for any studio. Whether we're talking about directors working on something for a long time without making a movie (like Wright), making a couple of movies and moving on (like Whedon) or just making one movie and moving on amicably (like Branagh), all these things happen all the time for major studios.

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