Disney's New $100M Club of Female Directors Pose for Group Photo

Photographed by Amanda Marsalis
From left: Ava DuVernay, Anna Boden and Niki Caro

Ava DuVernay ('A Wrinkle in Time'), Anna Boden ('Captain Marvel') and Niki Caro ('Mulan') talk their responsibility of being a female director when "times aren't changing fast enough."

Never in the history of Hollywood has more than one female filmmaker been at the helm of a feature with a budget of $100 million or more — until now. On the heels of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman (she'll also helm the 2019 sequel), three more women are directing big-budget studio movies (all at Disney).

Power 100 honoree DuVernay, who is in post on A Wrinkle in Time, invited Caro, who'll direct Mulan, to lunch on the lot some months ago. But THR's shoot — which took place on a late December evening on the Disney lot — was the first time DuVernay met Boden, who'll helm 2019's Captain Marvel with directing partner Ryan Fleck.

"Not only are we all making these movies at the same time, but they're all at the same studio. I feel proud taking these pictures with them here [on the Disney lot]," says DuVernay.

Indeed, the next couple years will see Disney release DuVernay's Wrinkle on March 9, and then Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, a year later in March 2019. Caro's Mulan, which just cast Chinese actress Liu Yifei as the titular lead, is also slated for 2019.

"I get inspired by the idea of young people looking up to the characters, and the idea of them dressing up as them for Halloween and having that wish fulfillment," says Boden.

Caro, who most recently directed The Zookeeper's Wife, says that for a long time, she hid from the spotlight, but now, "it's important to be seen. I used to resent the title 'female director' because I'm a director, and gender doesn't really come into it. But times aren't changing fast enough, so for people that look to Captain Marvel or Mulan — and Anna and me standing right behind those characters — I feel that responsibility joyously."

A version of this story first appeared in the 2017 Women in Entertainment Power 100 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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