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Taking on an MCU film is a massive undertaking for any director. They have a lot of eyes on them, high expectations from Marvel fans, and blockbuster budgets well over $100 million. That puts a lot on the line for the studio if the film doesn’t do well. So no pressure at all for Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, right?
Captain Marvel is the highest-profile movie the writing/directing partners have ever developed together, by far. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have worked together for years on 2006’s Half Nelson, 2010’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, and 2015’s Mississippi Grind, but orchestrating a superhero origin flick is an entirely different animal. They knew this too well, and looked to past Marvel directors for some advice. In Fleck’s words:
I think the best piece of advice besides [the Russo Brothers] was Ryan Coogler. When we were just starting to have conversations with Marvel -- deciding if it was a fit for us, if we wanted to do this movie -- he was prepping Black Panther, and we wanted his opinion on what the process was like. And he said 'It is so challenging and so difficult that you have to make sure that you love this character and you love this story, because you're going to be spending a lot of time with this character and story over time.' That was great for us. We realigned how we were approaching pitching the movie to Marvel. It stopped becoming 'What do they want to hear from us?' We stopped trying to make the movie we thought they wanted and started pitching the movie we wanted to make.
This is great advice from Ryan Coogler! With the sheer amount of elements and details that have to come together in a Marvel film such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel, the director told Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck that they better be ready to offer up their blood, sweat, and tears for Carol Danvers if they wanted to come out on the other side of it proud of their work.
Anna Boden: They did give us words of advice. We visited them on the set of Infinity War.
Ryan Fleck: Joe and Anthony [Russo], they were so helpful to us. They were giving us advice on things we wouldn’t even think we needed advice on. It was great, they’re great collaborators. They’ve made four of these movies now, and they’re just good guys and great directors.
The Russo Brothers have arguably made the most pivotal contributions to the MCU by directing Captain America: Winter Solider, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and the highly-anticipated installment that comes just over a month after Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame.
Before starting on Captain Marvel, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck got to see what it’s like to make a Marvel film in action on the set of Infinity War. I’m sure this got their gears turning about all the particulars that go into filming an MCU movie, which certainly looks different than directing a drama.
When Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were hired for Captain Marvel, Kevin Feige said they were picked because they “had an amazing way of talking about Carol Danvers and talking about her journey." The Marvel Studios chief said the pair's lack of experience on the big-budget action front wasn't a concern because Marvel has a huge team with experts who know what they’re doing. What was more important was how Boden and Fleck understood the character and how they wanted to tell her story.