Scarlett Johansson

Director Who Rejected ‘Black Widow’ Slams Marvel for a Bizarre Reason

Marvel isn’t a perfect company, which has certainly been echoed by many people who have worked for the company in the past five years. However, a director once considered to helm Black Widow (2021) stated that Marvel has a penchant for making a particular element of their films “very ugly.”

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Scarlett Johansson Opens Up About Battle With Disney, “I Was Sad And Disappointed”

Though there has not been drama surrounding the film for some time, it is now making headlines again. The first instance was when Disney and Marvel decided to showcase the Scarlett Johansson-led feature on Disney+ instead of showing it exclusively in theaters. This led to a lawsuit between Johansson and the House of Mouse.

Johannson believed there was a breach of contract for Disney decided to stream Black Widow, and the courts certainly agreed with her. She walked away with a rumored sum of $40 million. This number has never been disclosed, but insiders have claimed it’s nearly accurate.

Though there had been bad blood between Johannson and the studio, as she said she was “sad and disappointed,” those feelings have since been forgiven. She is still rumored to be leading the Tower of Terror adaptation that Taika Waititi is directing.

Black Widow was still released and became a hit despite nearly ruining a relationship with megastar Scarlett Johansson. However, a former director who rejected helming the Marvel feature is now stating that the MCU makes the sounds of their films “very ugly.”

Lucrecia Martel Says Marvel Films Sound is “Very Ugly”

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in 'Black Widow' on Disney+
Credit: Marvel Studios

During an interview with The Film Stage, filmmaker Lucrecia Martel (“Zama”) was asked about her involvement with Marvel. Initially, the MCU called on her to direct Black Widow, which she turned down. According to Martel:

“No, no, no — I didn’t see ‘Black Widow. I tried to. They contacted a great number of female directors. I never would have imagined that Marvel could contact and bring together a pool of directors and I would be a part of it; I never thought that would be possible. I would have loved to make a film with them but I would have had to provide something that I would like to see in that world.”

Martel did not have a chance to view the film and what it had become past her rejecting the job of directing it. Unfortunately, she has not been able to view it, though she did state she was given a chance to see some MCU features on a plane.

“It turns out some of the Marvel films are available on planes so I’ve seen a few. I find the sound in them is absolutely in very poor taste, the visual effects and the sound of the effects. It’s the selection of the sounds that they’re connecting to the effects, which is actually very ugly. And the way the music is used is actually horrible.”

Martel hates the music and sound effects Marvel has used in their features. Though that has not been a widespread concern for many people, we will admit that Across the Spider-Verse had to release a new version of the film in theaters, which featured a new mix that alleviated people not being able to hear the dialogue.

Martel went deeper into the interview and revealed what made her reject directing Black Widow; Marvel wanted to bring her along to develop Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff. However, regarding the action scenes in the film, Marvel told her “not to worry about it.”

Naturally, this was a red flag for the filmmaker who said, “Well, I would love to meet Scarlett Johansson, but also, I would love to make the action sequences.”

It is a bit strange that Marvel was attempting to bring along Martel only to give her the job of developing the Black Widow character and not handling the duties of action sequences. The director is meant to be the all-encompassing leader of every aspect of scenes, so we imagine she did not want to step into a role that gave her only half the control she wanted.

Despite Martel rejecting the film, Cate Shortland stepped in, and Black Widow made $379.7 million worldwide. This is huge dividends considering it was released during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and was released simultaneously on Disney+.

scarlett johansson as natasha romanoff (left) and florence pugh as yelena belova (right) black widow on bik
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Across the Spider-Verse Key Figure Made Production a Nightmare, Insiders Allege

Likely, Martel will never want to step into the role of directing a Marvel film unless they allow her to fix the “ugly” sound issues in many of their properties.

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