Nia DaCosta offers frank comments about directing Candyman, The Marvels

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Nia DaCosta, director of the MCU’s next big cinematic outing The Marvels, was surprisingly candid in a recent interview. 


Marvel Studios finds itself in an interesting spot ahead of the upcoming release of its latest film, The Marvels. While several of its latest projects have largely failed to ignite at the box office, James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 performed well both commercially and critically, reversing a wave of negative momentum and setting the studio up for a stronger end to 2023.

The upcoming release of The Marvels, however, looks to be another tricky spot that Marvel will need to carefully navigate if it wishes to positively alter the narrative regarding its future. That won’t be easy given that the film will inevitably (and perhaps unfairly) be compared to the spectacular financial performance of its 2019 predecessor, Captain Marvel, a billion-dollar grossing movie that arrived between the zeitgeist-defining Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame and no doubt benefited from a release window that occurred when Marvel was at its absolute cultural zenith.

What’s more, the new film has to pick up threads from Captain Marvel, not to mention the Disney+ shows, Ms Marvel and WandaVision. That’s a lot to ask, and in a recent Vanity Fair piece, director Nia DaCosta has spoken to some of the difficulties she faced with helming the film, stating “sometimes you’d be in a scene and you’d be like ‘What the hell does any of this shit mean? […] There were obviously hard days, and days where you’re like, this just isn’t working.”

DaCosta added that The Marvels was very much “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.”

While these comments have inevitably picked up a lot of traction online, they shouldn’t be taken out of context. Most directors question whether films are or aren’t working while they’re in the midst of things and we all know full well that a Marvel Studios film is first and foremost a Kevin Feige film. DaCosta has just said it out loud.

Read more: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 review: Marvel hits a winner

Perhaps more surprising (and alarming) are her thoughts on directing the 2021 remake of The CandymanThis part of the interview has been reported less, but DaCosta reveals that “some ridiculous things happened on that set, with crew members saying things that are super inappropriate, that you would just never say to anyone else because they were so specific to my gender, my race, my age.”

DaCosta is quick to point out that in that regard, her experience with Marvel was markedly different, adding that, “the thing that I’ve been most surprised by lately is how much respect I’m getting from these middle-aged white dudes that I work with.”

Up next for Nia DaCosta are two very exciting projects, a adaptation of the Ibsen play Hedda Gabler followed by a take on the acclaimed Ta-Nehisi Coates’s novel, The Water Dancer. 

The Marvels releases in November.

Read more: Candyman review | a confident and daring feature

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