One of the Hollywood’s hottest up-and-coming directors has been given the lead on Marvel’s much anticipated Black Panther film.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige noted that Ryan Coogler, the mastermind behind Creed (2015) and Fruitvale Station (2013), is set to direct the film in an interview with Empire Magazine.
The announcement comes after fans had long speculated about who would get the coveted opportunity to craft the storyline on screen. This summer, Selma director Ava DuVernay was rumored to be a frontrunner. However, in a July interview with Essence, DuVernay confirmed meeting with Marvel but ultimately passing on the project:
“In the end, it comes down to story and perspective,” she said. “And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.”
Her reasoning is sound and appreciated. While we have no doubt about the possibilities DuVernay could have done with the film, her concerns were less about her telling the story than making sure the story is told in the way it deserves, which Coogler can do, without a doubt.
Coogler’s first feature-length film Fruitvale Station garnered critical acclaim. He caught the eye of some of the industry’s most esteemed icons, including Academy-Award winning actor Forest Whitaker, a producer for the film.
“I’ve worked with a number of truly unique voices, true auteurs, and I can tell when I’m talking to one,” Whitaker said to the New York Times. “You can see a subtle hand, even in the short films. You could recognize he was going to view this story in a special way.”
Coogler would go on to win the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic Film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for the care he gave to to story of the last day of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old African-American man killed by an Oakland Police Officer on New Year’s Day 2009 at the Fruitvale Bart Station. His death was one of the first police brutality cases to be caught on camera and shared through social media.
His latest film Creed, the latest segment of the Rocky series, starring Fruitvale‘s Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stalone as Rocky Balboa, is already generating Oscar buzz.
Black Panther is the one of the last stand-alone superhero films launched by Marvel Studios in its move to revamp the Avengers series.
It is scheduled for release Feb. 16, 2018.
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