Marvel Studios’ Black Widow stand-alone movie has its director.
Cate Shortland, the Australian filmmaker perhaps best known for the Nazi drama Lore, has signed on to helm Black Widow, Marvel’s action-adventure project that will star Scarlett Johansson.
The move caps off a search that lasted over half a year as the studio met with over 70 directors in order to find its ideal candidate. A female filmmaker was the priority even as the search stalled at one point and the studio looked at male helmers.
The hunt narrowed in June with Amma Asante (Belle, A United Kingdom) and Maggie Betts (Novitiate) being the finalists alongside Shortland. Melanie Laurent (Galveston) and Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry) were also in the next-to-final mix.
Shortland, who does not have agency representation, had a fan in Johansson, who pushed for the helmer. The actress admired Shortland’s handling of the female lead in Lore, a critically acclaimed 2012 drama that tells of a young woman who leads her siblings through Germany as the Allied forces roll in. Shortland’s most recent film was Berlin Syndrome, a 2017 thriller that stars Teresa Palmer.
Jac Schaeffer wrote the most recent draft for Black Widow. She also wrote the upcoming female-centric remake of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which was formerly titled Nasty Women and is now called The Hustle.
Johansson’s Black Widow is reportedly set before the events of the first Avengers movie and sees the actress reprise the role of the Russian spy turned superheroine. The movie will be Marvel’s second female-focused film after Captain Marvel, which is set to open March 8, 2019.