Cate Shortland to Direct ‘Black Widow’ Movie

Photo by BabiradPicture/REX/Shutterstock Cate Shortland 'Berlin Syndrome' photocall. Berlinale International Film Festival, Berlin, Germany - 14 Feb 2017

“Black Widow” officially has a director.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Cate Shortland won the coveted job after a lengthy search. Shortland hails from Australia and is known for her 2012 film “Lore” and her follow up “Berlin Syndrome” in 2017. She also directed episodes of Australia series “Bad Cop, Bad Cop” and “The Secret Life of Us.”

Scarlett Johansson will once again play Natasha Romanoff — aka Black Widow — in the Marvel Studios film. Black Widow first joined the MCU in “Iron Man 2” in 2010. Agent Romanoff was part of the SHIELD contingent working to convince Tony Stark to join them. Black Widow was such a popular addition to the franchise, fans immediately began demanding more of the spy with the shady past. Marvel resisted giving her a stand alone film, but she has appeared in six films so far, and is expected to return to the still-untitled fourth “Avengers” film next summer.

According to THR, Marvel’s search for a director took more than six months and included meetings with somewhere between 70-75 filmmakers. The search for a female director stalled at one point, and bosses briefly considered hiring a man for the job. Ultimately, they resumed the original plan and eventually landed on Shortland.

The shortlist reportedly included Amma Asante (“Belle”) and Maggie Betts (“Novitiate”). Johansson herself was apparently involved in the final selection. The THR article states that the star was impressed with the way Shortland handled the female lead in her first feature.

MCU architect Kevin Feige told an audience a few days ago that Marvel’s next phase will feature female filmmakers. He answered an audience question saying, “I cannot promise that all 20 Marvel movies will have female directors but a heck of a lot of them will.”

“Black Widow” does not have a release date yet. It is expected to be a prequel/origin film that tells the story of how the Russian spy eventually became an Avenger.

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