While fans thought that Selma director Ava Duvernay would be signing onboard for Marvel’s “Black Panther,” it turns out that’s not exactly the case. Duvernay has turned down the offer and for what is a pretty good reason.
At the recent blogger confer “BlogHer,” Duvernay discussed why she had passed on the project. She started with how the negotiations had been going. She wanted to make sure the people involved were ones she could “go to bed with” as she put it. Collaborating is always a kind of marriage, so she had to be certain that she could do that for three years. “It’d be three years of not doing other things that are important to me. So it was a question of, is this important enough for me to do?” she said.
Duvernay said she was very close to signing the contract, as she was excited about the cultural opportunities that came with it. A superhero movie with a black lead is a huge deal when it comes to the film industry and the reach the movie might have given her was what had initially drawn her to the project. “At one point, the answer was yes because I thought there was value in putting that kind of imagery into the culture in a worldwide, huge way, in a certain way: excitement, action, fun, all those things, and yet still be focused on a black man as a hero — that would be pretty revolutionary. These Marvel films go everywhere from Shanghai to Uganda, and nothing that I probably will make will reach that many people, so I found value in that. That’s how the conversations continued, because that’s what I was interested in. But everyone’s interested in different things.”
In the end, Duvernay decided to pass on the project due to different views on how the movie would fit into the overarching universe Marvel prides itself on.
“What my name is on means something to me — these are my children,” she said about her work. “This is my art. This is what will live on after I’m gone. So it’s important to me that that be true to who I was in this moment. And if there’s too much compromise, it really wasn’t going to be an Ava DuVernay film.”
While it’s sad to see such an amazing director pass up on a film like this, you have to admire her integrity. She’s not about to sell out on something she doesn’t believe in, a quality that seems to be lacking in the film industry lately.
Black Panther will feature Starry Chadwick Boseman in the title role and is expected to premiere July 6, 2018.