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Wednesday, December 07, 2022 

The type of writers Marvel Studios won't hire

The Direct highlighted a podcast interview where one of Marvel Studios' managers said they don't hire writers who love the comics:
A new interview with Marvel Studios executive Nate Moore revealed that the MCU team avoids hiring writers who love Marvel Comics for work on their projects.

Marvel Studios and the MCU have enjoyed more than 14 years of success at the box office, with filmmakers from Chloe Zhao to Kenneth Branagh stepping up to take on a Marvel project at one point or another.

These creatives have obviously become well-versed in the world of Marvel (or at least their specific leading hero) by the time their films have come out, but the knowledge isn't always there from the beginning. Sure, there are the Ryan Cooglers of the world who are "huge fans of the comic books," but that is not the case with everyone.

And according to Marvel exec Nate Moore, the studio actually actively avoids writers who are fans of the comics.
Well I guess that could explain why the now largely blacklisted filmmaker Bryan Singer, who'd been accused of sexual abuse, was hired to direct the original X-Men movie from 2000, recalling he balked at allowing any comics related material on the filming sets over 2 decades ago. And lest we forget, Singer and the studio staff decided the X-Men would wear dull black suits, a decision that Joe Quesada sadly mandated for the comics as well during 2001-04. So, some "fans" there alright. And little seems to have changed since. It continues:
In an interview on The Ringer's The Town with Matt Belloni podcast, Marvel Studios VP of Production & Development Nate Moore revealed that the MCU studio avoids writers who love Marvel Comics. [...]

Matt Belloni: “It’s funny when these movies come out and they go through a press cycle, every filmmaker all of a sudden is a Marvel comic superfan, and they were playing with the comics when they were six years old, and they had all the action figures, and they knew ever little thing there was to know about Marvel Comics. That’s bullshit. I mean, we know most of these filmmakers were not comics superfans and they got a call from their agent that said, ‘Hey, this is an open assignment, are you interested in doing a Marvel movie?’ And then they come into your world. So is there some kind of a Marvel bootcamp or something that you do with these filmmakers to get them into this world and knowing all of the things they need to know?”

Nate Moore: “Not really, to be honest.”
In fairness, if any would-be filmmakers are pretending to be fans, it's idiotic to pass themselves off as something they never were. If they do collect the printed comics, but only for alleged profit and not reading, that says quite a bit too. But it could still be possible Mr. Moore and other studio managers don't want to hire even those knowledgeable because they might have a vision that's more respectable of the veteran writers and artists who plied their trade far better than any of these movies could translate into live action (but almost never animation, if we look at this through a mainstream lens). Some more of the transcript:
Belloni:“Exactly. And some of these filmmakers, it’s a stretch. But maybe that’s what works.”

Moore: “Well, no, and I honestly think it does. And you talk about the process, for me, one thing I think is interesting, and specifically for writers, I would say, a lot of times, we’re pitched writers who love Marvel. And to me, that’s always a red flag. Because I go, ‘Oh, I don’t want you to already have a pre-existing idea of what it is, because you grew up with Issue 15 and that’s what you want to recreate...’ I want somebody who’s hard on the material, who goes, ‘What is this? I think there’s a movie here, but maybe we should be looking at it in this way.’

And I think, again, the best example of that for me was Markus and McFeely, who weren’t comic guys coming up, but were like, ‘Wait, Captain America, this seems a bit weird. What if we kinda looked at it in this way?’ And they weren’t married to anything, nothing was, you know, there was nothing sacrosanct. And I think that’s important to be able to go, ‘Look, the source material is great, and I love it, and comics work in the medium they were built in, but that’s not a direct, one-to-one translation to the best version of the movie.’ And sometimes it takes someone who’s out of this culture to go, ‘Hey, I know you think it should be this, but maybe it should be this other thing.’

I mean, Taika’s a great example of that too, right? ‘Hey, I know Thor is traditionally a bit stiff, it’s a bit Shakespearean. What if you tweaked it? What if you tweaked the tone completely?’ … I mean the tone of Ragnarok is all Taika, because he wasn’t married to Thor on the page… I haven’t read every Thor book, I’ve read a lot, I couldn’t tell you a Thor run that is tonally anything like Ragnarok. Like that movie sort of sits on its own, because of the filmmaker.”
Let us be clear. Of course liberties can be taken with the source material. Even manga-to-anime sees this happening in various instances over in Japan. But with the way they're turning things woke these days in Hollywood, that's why creative liberties no longer impresses, because the way they're doing it now is far more disrespectful of the source material. So when Moore says, "hard on the material", it's just hard to believe. On the other hand, if we look at the finished product that's the Thor: Love & Thunder movie, they sure tweaked that alright. With wokeness galore. Maybe that also explains why some filmmakers must see Capt. America as "weird": because they're not very pro-American.

If the studio, little as I care for it now, wanted to, they could surely set up a merit-based hiring system for filmmakers based on how well they've researched the creations in question through reading the pre-2000 comics. But that doesn't seem to be the case. Certainly not now, with the woke direction they're going in, which has begun to lead to their box office declining.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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