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Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck on directing a Marvel film and who Carol Danvers is in Captain Marvel
Before they got the gig directing the first female-led superhero film from Marvel Studios, the last film Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck directed was the low-budget independent film Mississippi Grind.
"It seems crazy moving from making little movies to making literally movies with Marvel, which are like the biggest movies that they make," said Boden. "But it's actually probably the easiest transition into making movies like this just because we're working with so many people who are so good at their jobs and collaborating with people who are literally the best at what they do and so we're, we kind of feel very well supported and with creative people at Marvel who are also just really into being storytellers at the end of the day."
Back in May 2018, we visited the set of Captain Marvel with a group of journalists and sat down with the pair to discuss directing a Marvel film, what drew them to the project, and who Carol Danvers is in Captain Marvel.
Characters are what make a story work and ultimately whether big budget or small, that's something Boden and Fleck know how to write and direct.
"I mean at the end of the day we're still telling stories and so we're just trying to stay focused on characters that we love and we've loved characters in all of our movies, we love the characters in this movie and just trying to tell a story as best as we can," said Fleck.
The main character in Captain Marvel is, of course, Carol Danvers, played by Brie Larson. It's clear the film's directors love Carol and are excited to bring her to the screen as well. Certain aspects, in particular, drew them to this project.
"The idea of this superhero who's one of the most powerful superheroes but like you, she also has this like scrappy personality this dirty, get down and dirty personality," explained Boden. "Because she wasn't always like that. Before she was a superhero she was a woman in the Air Force you know and in the story that we're telling a woman in the Air Force before women were allowed to fly in combat and just that part of her history and who she was and always having to fight. And you know that 'higher, further, faster' ethos is just part of who she is so even when she's super powerful and can just blow everybody out of the galaxy she still has that core, that center of just you know having to fight for it."
Carol Danvers first took up the mantle of Captain Marvel in the 2012 run of comics by Kelly Sue DeConnick, who also consulted on the film. When pitching to Marvel, they had plenty of source material to go on but locked in on DeConnick's Danvers as the one they resonated with the most.
"I mean we had to dig into all the comics, the history," said Fleck. "There's a lot this character has gone through, a whole bunch of different changes over the years and so we just kind of locked into the character that we liked from the Kelly Sue DeConnick run. We were like, 'This is the Captain Marvel we love.' Everyone else loves that version of the character too so that was great to be on the same mind with the Marvel people on the Captain Marvel story we wanted to tell.
But who is Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel? The answer isn't so concrete because Carol discovering who she is, is really the whole point.
"I mean, that's the discovery of the movie," said Boden. "And for us I think what makes it what we love telling about this story is that as a character, as a superhero, as she becomes more and more in touch with her own humanity... you know, it's not like she realizes that Thor was a god and was always a god, but it's as she comes more and more in touch with her humanity is when she becomes her most powerful. She would discover she has that. Like her own self-discovery is where she becomes as powerful as she can be and it's just, it's a cool story to tell and it's a cool character to experience that."
Discover Captain Marvel when the film hits theaters March 8.