‘Captain Marvel’ Interview: Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck Talk Marvel’s First Female Standalone and ’90s Nostalgia
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Though there have been many strong female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel is the first time that Marvel Studios brings its fans a female superhero standalone film. The film sees Brie Larson play Carol Danvers, a highly skilled soldier of Star Force, an elite Kree peacekeeping force, separated from her troop when she crash lands on the planet Earth. Determined to reunite with her team, she soon discovers that she has a deep connection with this planet, and starts to search for the clues that could help unlock the memories of her mysterious past.

We were invited to attend the Captain Marvel press junket with our fellow journalists to talk to Larson, Lashana Lynch (Maria Rambeau), Jude Law (Yon Rogg), and Gemma Chan (Doctor Minerva). Additionally, MCU alum members Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson) also attended to chat about appearing in the upcoming film.

As much as this is a continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel holds so much more meaning for the studio. It’s Marvel Studios’ first female standalone film, and one with such an empowering message and a character who will be a symbol of inspiration to everyone, especially young girls. And that would not have been possible without directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who took their character-driven story approach to the upcoming film. Find out more about their leap from small films to Marvel Studio blockbuster tentpoles below.

Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige addressed why he chose Boden and Fleck to direct the film. In the many meetings that he had with them, he says a lot had to do with their body of work and their focus on character. “The focus on our belief that they would not have lost the character among the spectacle and the fun of the effects,” Feige said. “And really, Anna [Fleck] spoke very eloquently about Carol Danvers and the female hero. Over the course of filming the movie and producing the movie, Anna [Fleck] went up in a jet, as did Brie [Larson], which was super impressive and I wouldn’t do for a million dollars.”

However, Boden and Fleck’s filmography isn’t known to have VFX-heavy visuals. So it was a bit of a learning curve for them to jump from something like a character-driven film like Mississippi Grind to the visually stunning Captain Marvel. Fleck says that they wanted to bring more of the character-driven story to Captain Marvel than anything else. “In the early conversations with Kevin and with Brie, that’s what we wanted to bring to this story, is the continuation of what we have done in our other movies, which is the intimacy and character focused storytelling,” Fleck said.

He admits that the visual effects were challenging at first for him and Boden, but they “were working with the best in the business” and that they “were in good hands” knowing that they were working with people who had worked on one or two of these before they climbed aboard. He praised the studio for being “collaborative” and “patient” with them. “I can’t think of a better studio to take that leap with,” Fleck said. “They are just the best collaborators at Marvel and really let us tell the story that we wanted to tell.”

Feige chimed in by crediting fellow Marvel Studios’ executive Victoria Alonzo for being a great mentor to these little-known directors. He also gave credit to Christopher Townsend, the visual effects supervisor. But a big reason why the Marvel films are so successful is that they are character-driven stories. “Ultimately, because it is always about the story, the process never overwhelms the story,” Feige said. “It will alter the process if it fits the story if it fits the vision, which is how you end up with a story like this.”

In terms of bringing in those ’90s touches like the music, Boden and Fleck said they would make a big playlist, which they would share with the cast and crew. But the ones that you hear in the film, were a result of putting them in post. “We put the scenes together and see what stuck and it was very much a collaboration with Kevin and the whole team at Marvel to figure out which songs worked the best,” Fleck said.

He added that he actually worked at a Blockbuster in 1995, where that brought back a lot of memories for him, including working on his creative essays.

For Boden, she wanted to bring back Dunkaroos – a kid snack with kangaroo-shaped cookies that you can dunk in sweet frosting.

Captain Marvel opens in theaters on March 8, 2019. Click right here for more on the film, including additional interviews, trailers, and our review.

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