Director Nia DaCosta made history when 2021’s Candyman made her the first Black female director to debut a film at No. 1 at the box office. Following on that success, she was given the reins to The Marvels, the Marvel Cinematic Universe team-up between Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), which then also made her the first Black woman to direct a Marvel movie. Ahead of the film’s release, DaCosta spoke with RT’s Jacqueline Coley about the new film, talking about the challenges in planning the intricate fight scenes, achieving the right level of humor, and even pitching Kevin Feige her crazy ideas.
Jacqueline Coley for Rotten Tomatoes: I know for a lot of folks, Marvel is maybe something they want to do. But for you, this was a passion, this was a nerdy expertise, and it started with a crazy pitch to Kevin Feige. So I’d love for you to talk about your Marvel fandom and how this started with that pitch.
Nia DaCosta: Oh, it didn’t start with a crazy pitch. I waited until I was inside. They hired me, and then I was like, “Kevin, hello, here are all my ideas.” No, my initial conversations were with Mary Livanos, the exec on this film, and she basically told me that they wanted to have the three women in the film, that they’re going to be switching places, and she told me about some of the sequences that they wanted to do in the film. And I was like, “Oh, this is going to be really exciting. This is going to be really fun and different.”
And so when I went in to pitch, my big thing was like, “On one hand, here’s how I would do some of these big sequences and these set pieces. And then the other hand, here’s the emotional underpinning that I want to bring into this film.” And so that’s kind of how we got started.
RT: Well, the emotional underpinning really, I think, lies within these very three unique, incredibly powerful women. But the relationship everyone’s very interested in is Carol and Monica and where they are. Can you talk a little bit about where they are in the characters and what Teyonah and Brie wanted to bring to this interesting family reunion?
DaCosta: For sure. Yeah, I mean, everyone watched WandaVision and saw that look Monica gave where she was like, “Carol?,” and I was shook when I saw that. And so to be able to actually be the one to show what it was and see them kind of reconcile was really exciting. Carol’s got the universe on her shoulders. She’s got this burden. She feels this burden to take care of everyone in the universe, and obviously that’s an impossible job. And I think we explore that psychology. We explore what that is for her, but also we’re able to just show Monica dealing with grief, not just the loss of her mother, but also the loss of her aunt.
Watch the video for the full interview with Nia DaCosta.