'Captain Marvel' Director Search Narrows (Exclusive)

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Niki Caro, Lesli Linka Glatter and Lorene Scafaria are the top contenders.

Captain Marvel is slowly zeroing in on a director.

Niki Caro, Lesli Linka Glatter and Lorene Scafaria are on the shortlist for the highly coveted job of helming Marvel Studio's first female-centric superhero movie, several sources tell The Hollywood Reporter

A decision won't be made anytime soon as Marvel is being very deliberate in its search, according to sources. The movie has a release date of March 8, 2019.

Sources caution that there may be names yet to surface. Marvel had no comment.

Brie Larson is attached to star as Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who gains powers after her DNA becomes fused with an alien after an accident. Guardians of the Galaxy's Nicole Perlman and Inside Out's Meg LeFauve wrote the script.

Insiders tell THR that the next stage will involve Marvel giving a treatment and documents to the directors in order to prepare a detailed presentation.

The three contenders were whittled from a shortlist of about a handful of contenders, which also included Jennifer Kent, helmer of the indie horror hit The Babadook, and Jennifer Yuh, director of Kung Fu Panda 2. Marvel has made finding a woman to direct the movie key in the search.

The three top choices have diverse backgrounds in film.

Caro broke through with 2002's Whale Rider, the Oscar-nominated generational drama that looked at a young woman trying to break through a male-oriented culture. She followed that up with North Country, a rape drama that starred Charlize Theron. She also directed McFarland, USA and has The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain, in the can.

Glatter hails from the television world, a side of the entertainment industry where female directors are better represented than in film. She is the main director on Homeland, the hit spy thriller from Showtime that stars Claire Danes, and is up for the outstanding director in a drama series honor at September's Emmy Awards. Among her numerous helming credits are episodes of Ray Donovan, The Newsroom, True Blood, Mad Men, ER and The West Wing.

Scafaria may seem like the outlier here but actually follows many of Marvel's patterns. She made a name for herself as a writer of quirky material — Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist was her first writing credit — and wrote and made her feature directorial debut with Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which starred Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Scafaria also wrote and directed The Meddler, the semi-autobiographical dramedy which starred Rose Byrne and Susan Sarandon that was released by Sony Pictures Classics earlier this year. 

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