Last week, Jessica Chastain spoke to The Wrap about the lack of quality female roles in Hollywood and mentioned wanting to see Scarlett Johansson get her own solo film as Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Where is the Scarlett Johansson superhero movie? I don’t understand it, why is it taking so long for this?” Chastain asked TheWrap, rhetorically and with no small degree of animation. “This woman clearly shows that people want to go see her in the movies. ‘Lucy,’ didn’t it beat ‘Hercules’ by a lot opening weekend, when it was made for a lot less? She shows that she kicks ass, she’s a great actress. ‘Under the Skin’ is an incredible film, and why are we still waiting for a go-ahead on a superhero movie starring Scarlett Johansson?
“To me, it’s a no-brainer,” she added. “You want to make money, put Scarlett Johansson in a superhero movie!”
It seems that Robert Downey Jr has joined in on the campaign for the Black Widow film after making the supportive comments during an interview with USA Today’s Entertain This.
“Doesn’t Scarlett deserve a break?” he said with a laugh, noting that the actress is about to become a first-time mom. “Look,” he added, noting that Marvel should continue to spread the wealth, “I think that the interesting thing particularly after Guardians with Zoe (Saldana), (or) even from the first Iron Man where Pepper was kind of this really – to me the Iron Man franchise would never have taken off without (Gwyneth) Paltrow. There’s something about her that grounded the story. She’s not your typical lady in a superhero movie, and then by Iron Man 3 she’s swallowing serums and putting on suits and kicking (butt) and all that stuff.”
But, he allowed, “it would be kind of more appropriate for a character that already was like a Black Widow (to lead a movie). It just seems like whatever Scarlett does people want to go see it.”
As I’ve written in the past, there has been rumours of a possible Black Widow solo film which appears to be heating up as more and more people come out in support of it. Personally, I think Black Widow has a rich enough back story to have a Bourne-esque/spy thriller inspired solo film and the time is clearly ripe given Scar Jo’s popularity. I also think that a female lead shouldn’t be established in other films before warranting a film of her own, like Captain Marvel, who is already so enticing to so many fans. When it’s all said and done, Black Widow deserves to shine in her own spotlight.
Kevin Feige talked about a female led Marvel movie with Comic Book Resources this past August where he talked about timing vs the merits of a female led film as well as the unique problem of the number of films Marvel Studios can put out in a year.
I think you’re right about that, and I think it comes down to timing, which is what I’ve sort of always said, and it comes down to us being able to tell the right story. I very much believe in doing it. I very much believe that it’s unfair to say, “People don’t want to see movies with female heroes,” then list five movies that were not very good, therefore, people didn’t go to the movies because they weren’t good movies, versus [because] they were female leads. And they don’t mention “Hunger Games,” “Frozen,” “Divergent.” You can go back to “Kill Bill” or “Aliens.” These are all female-led movies. It can certainly be done. I hope we do it sooner rather than later. But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have — which is a very, very good thing and we don’t take for granted, but is a challenging thing. You may notice from those release dates, we have three for 2017. And that’s because just the timing worked on what was sort of gearing up. But it does mean you have to put one franchise on hold for three or four years in order to introduce a new one? I don’t know. Those are the kinds of chess matches we’re playing right now.
I find it difficult to believe that with ten movies under their belt and another five announced, Marvel won’t have a single solo female film because it wouldn’t fit the universe’s narrative plan. That doesn’t mean one of those five films wont be a Captain Marvel or Black Widow movie but to use “BUT THE NARRATIVE PLAN!!” as an excuse for not having one if that ends up being the case is ridiculous. Same goes for a standalone person of colour film.