Director Nia DaCosta, the visionary behind “The Marvels”, has offered a candid glimpse into the complexities of her role within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In a recent interview, she discussed the challenges of creating epic scenes that defy reality and the importance of staying true to oneself in a vast and sometimes daunting franchise.
DaCosta, who is helming “The Marvels,” the sequel to “Captain Marvel,” shared her candid thoughts about the intricacies of directing a Marvel film. Speaking about the daunting scenes involving fantastical elements, she remarked, “Sometimes you’d be in a scene, and you’d be like, ‘What the hell does any of this shit mean?’” She highlighted the challenge of actors reacting to computer-generated effects, emphasizing that what they often saw on set was far from the final product.
The MCU is a colossal playground of imagination, but it also poses unique challenges. DaCosta revealed that Marvel encouraged her to connect with some of her predecessors in the MCU, including Chloé Zhao (“Eternals”), Taika Waititi (“Thor”), and James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). She humorously recalled asking them, “Are they going to kill me and destroy my soul? Is Kevin Feige a bad man?” Their response was reassuring, with DaCosta noting, “And they were like, ‘No, he’s just a good guy who was a nerd.'”
In navigating her role as the first Black woman to direct an MCU movie, DaCosta emphasized the importance of staying true to herself. She had sought advice from Ryan Coogler, director of “Black Panther,” who encouraged her to bring her unique perspective to the table. “You can’t do anything but be yourself, so bring that to the table,” she stated, highlighting the value of authenticity in her creative process.
Prior to her journey in the MCU, DaCosta co-wrote and directed “Candyman,” a project that catapulted her into the film industry and made her the first Black woman with a No. 1 box office debut. She credited Jordan Peele, who produced “Candyman,” for teaching her to navigate the challenges of both creativity and studio demands. “One of the most important things I learned from him is how to be fearless and how to navigate studio stuff,” she acknowledged.
While DaCosta found support in Peele during “Candyman,” she shared that she encountered moments of discrimination and inappropriate behavior from crew members based on her gender, race, and age. However, her experience on “The Marvels” was more positive, as she was able to assemble a team of her choice. Reflecting on her journey, she emphasized the impact of the people she surrounded herself with and expressed her surprise at the respect she garnered from colleagues in the industry.
Nia DaCosta’s directorial role in “The Marvels” marks not only a significant moment in her career but also a groundbreaking moment in the MCU as the franchise’s first Black woman director. Her journey underscores the importance of authenticity and creative fearlessness in navigating the challenges of the film industry.
Derek Chan – Editor