Mark Ruffalo: ‘Kevin Feige almost quit Marvel Studios over representation issues’

Mark Ruffalo has claimed Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige almost stepped down from his role in 2012 after quarrelling with Disney executives over a lack of diversity and representation.In a new interview with The Independent, the actor, who plays Bruce …

Mark Ruffalo has claimed Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige almost stepped down from his role in 2012 after quarrelling with Disney executives over a lack of diversity and representation.

In a new interview with The Independent, the actor, who plays Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), recalled how Feige once told him that he had approached leaders at the company over concerns about the depiction of women in superhero movies and was so incensed by their reaction that he threatened to quit.

“When we did the first Avengers, Kevin Feige told me, ‘Listen, I might not be here tomorrow,'” Ruffalo shared. “And he’s like, ‘Ike (Isaac Perlmutter, Disney’s largest shareholder at the time) does not believe that anyone will go to a female-starring superhero movie. So, if I am still here tomorrow, you will know that I won that battle.'”

Feige’s passionate pitch eventually prompted a change in the studio, with Captain Marvel, the first female standalone movie in the MCU, fronted by Brie Larson, released last year.

And Ruffalo was full of praise for the Marvel boss, especially in relation to the way in which he is championing equality and diversity.

“Because Kevin wanted black superheroes, women superheroes, LGBT superheroes, he changed the whole Marvel universe,” the 52-year-old explained. “We now have a gay superhero on the way, we have black superheroes, we have female superheroes – Scarlett Johansson has her movie coming out, we have Captain Marvel, they are doing She-Hulk next. No other studio is being that inclusive on that level.

“They have to, though. This is the f**king world.”

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Lashana Lynch thrilled to work with Phoebe Waller-Bridge on Bond movie

Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas were thrilled to discover Phoebe Waller-Bridge had been hired as a writer on their James Bond movie No Time to Die.The Fleabag creator was brought onboard the project by Bond actor Daniel Craig and helped redraft a script…

Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas were thrilled to discover Phoebe Waller-Bridge had been hired as a writer on their James Bond movie No Time to Die.

The Fleabag creator was brought onboard the project by Bond actor Daniel Craig and helped redraft a script written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Scott Z. Burns. Accordingly, franchise newcomers Lynch and de Armas were thrilled to learn of her involvement.

“I very literally squealed when I first heard her name,” the Captain Marvel actress told The Hollywood Reporter. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, British girl just like me. She’s going to know how to actually take care of women onscreen.'”

“I saw Phoebe, and I just blushed – I got red like a tomato,” the Knives Out star added. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, can I hug you? I want to be your friend.'”

The hire was considered an attempt by franchise producers to bring the films into modern times, with more well-rounded female characters that aren’t just Bond’s conquests.

Cuban actress de Armas told the publication it was clear the franchise was evolving by the fact that Lynch is a main character and gets to wear trousers, and while her character Paloma wears a gown and heels, she has insisted there is more to her than her appearance.

“She’s got this bubbliness of someone who is excited to be on a mission, but she plays with this ambiguity — you don’t really know if she’s like a really trained, prepared partner for Bond,” she said. “(Her) brains and looks are equal this time. She’s very smart. She helps Bond navigate through certain things that he wouldn’t be able to do alone.”

Meanwhile, Lynch explained that she approached Waller-Bridge with ideas about her character and they help craft a real woman who was “round enough the edges”.

No Time to Die hits cinemas in April.

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Captain Marvel sequel officially in the works

The sequel to Captain Marvel is officially in development at Marvel Studios.Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson played Carol Danvers in last year’s comic book movie, which followed the story of a military pilot who becomes the extraterrestrial warrior. C…

The sequel to Captain Marvel is officially in development at Marvel Studios.

Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson played Carol Danvers in last year’s comic book movie, which followed the story of a military pilot who becomes the extraterrestrial warrior.

Captain Marvel, which also starred Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Ben Mendelsohn and Djimon Hounsou, raked in more than $1 billion (£761 million) at the worldwide box office, and its huge success has now spawned a sequel.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel executives have tapped Megan McDonnell to write the script and she is in final negotiations to seal her deal.

The action will reportedly shift from the 1990s to the present day and Marvel bosses are eyeing a 2022 release date.

McDonnell is also part of the writing team for the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, which was recently bumped up from a 2021 release date and will now be on the streaming service later this year.

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck co-directed Captain Marvel and it has been reported that they won’t return for the follow-up. They wrote the original script with Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman, and Meg LeFauve.

Larson, who last appeared as Captain Marvel in the huge ensemble blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, has yet to comment on the news.

Back in December, she played down rumours of a sequel and told Variety that she was just looking forward to time off from the extensive press tours surrounding the Marvel movies.

“I don’t really know what job I’m going to do next, which is very exciting,” she said. “I don’t even know what my life’s gonna be!”

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Female directors behind record-breaking number of movies in 2019

Filmmakers including Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Lee, and Anna Boden helped propel female-directed movies to record-breaking levels in 2019.Out of the 100 highest-grossing movies of the year, 10.6 per cent of them were directed by female filmmakers, a jump …

Filmmakers including Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Lee, and Anna Boden helped propel female-directed movies to record-breaking levels in 2019.

Out of the 100 highest-grossing movies of the year, 10.6 per cent of them were directed by female filmmakers, a jump from just 4.5 per cent in 2018, according to the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, reported Variety.

Movies including Gerwig’s Little Women, Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers, animated sequel Frozen 2, which was co-directed by Lee and Chris Buck, and Captain Marvel, which was helmed by Boden and Ryan Fleck, all scored box office hits.

Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart, Melina Matsoukas’s Queen & Slim and Lulu Wang’s The Farewell were also among 2019’s most popular female-directed flicks.

“It illuminates where we’re seeing traction and where there’s room for improvement,” said one of the study’s authors, Stacy L. Smith. “Universal under (studio chief) Donna Langley should be lauded for ensuring that women get opportunities.”

Smith also predicted that 2020 will be even better, with female directors being handed the reins of big superhero movies such as Birds of Prey, Eternals, Black Widow, and Wonder Woman 1984 as well as the Disney live-action remake of Mulan.

“2020 will be an extraordinary year for female directors,” she added. “That’s important, because we’re seeing women being given opportunities to direct action movies and not just smaller, independent films… Progress will come when females are given the opportunity to carry movies behind the camera across genres and budget ranges.”

The study comes weeks after the 2020 Golden Globe nominees were announced, sparking outrage that the Best Director category featured all-male candidates once again.

The prize, which will be handed out on Sunday, will be between Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Quentin Tarantino, 1917’s Sam Mendes, Joker’s Todd Phillips, Bong Joon-Ho for Parasite, and Martin Scorsese for The Irishman.

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Annette Bening ‘enjoyed every moment’ working on Captain Marvel

Annette Bening “enjoyed every moment” working on superhero blockbuster Captain Marvel.The four-time Oscar nominee is well-known for playing complex female characters in movies such as The Kids Are Alright, Being Julia and American Beauty, and she surpr…

Annette Bening “enjoyed every moment” working on superhero blockbuster Captain Marvel.

The four-time Oscar nominee is well-known for playing complex female characters in movies such as The Kids Are Alright, Being Julia and American Beauty, and she surprised Hollywood with her role in this year’s Marvel blockbuster, opposite Brie Larson and Jude Law.

However, she confessed she loved playing the dual role of Supreme Intelligence and Dr. Wendy Lawson in Captain Marvel, and revealed it was a refreshing change to be in a superhero movie.

“It was complete, total fun,” Annette told Deadline. “Often people say it must be fun to be in movies and you always want to say yes, but sometimes it’s just not fun. Sometimes it’s just b**ody hard work. But in this case, I couldn’t have had more fun. I got to die in the dirt and I got to dance.”

The 61-year-old noted that while her co-stars, including Brie, spent months on set, she just “waltzed in and did my thing.”

“And I just had so much fun. God, that was so great, I really enjoyed it,” she added. “I just enjoyed it, every moment quite frankly.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Annette discussed her role of Senator Dianne Feinstein in the fact-based political drama The Report, which focuses on staffer Daniel Jones, played by Adam Driver, and the Senate Intelligence Committee as they investigate the CIA’s use of torture following the September 11 attacks.

She told Deadline that she signed up after her first meeting with writer and director Scott Z. Burns and is “very grateful” to be featured in the film.

“It’s very hard to make a political film that gets you in your gut. I just feel very lucky that Scott asked me to do it, and I’m very grateful to him and to everybody who worked on the movie,” she added.

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Brie Larson and Marvel women have pitched all-female movie to Kevin Feige

Brie Larson and her female Marvel co-stars have joined forces to pitch an all-women movie to Kevin Feige.The Oscar-winning actress played Captain Marvel in her own standalone movie, which was released earlier this year, and appeared in an empowering ba…

Brie Larson and her female Marvel co-stars have joined forces to pitch an all-women movie to Kevin Feige.

The Oscar-winning actress played Captain Marvel in her own standalone movie, which was released earlier this year, and appeared in an empowering battle scene during Avengers: Endgame.

Cinemagoers were blown away when the extraterrestrial warrior united with fellow female superheroes including Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Evangeline Lilly as Wasp, as they protected Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in a battle scene.

And in a new interview with Variety, Larson revealed that she and her co-stars have had talks with Marvel boss Feige about making their dream of an all-female movie a reality.

“I will say that a lot of the female cast members from Marvel walked up to Kevin and we were like, ‘We are in this together, we want to do this.’ What that means, I have no idea,” she explained. “You know, I’m not in charge of the future of Marvel, but it is something that we’re really passionate about and we love and I feel like if enough people out in the world talk about how much they want it, maybe it’ll happen.”

According to editors at Variety, Feige has previously expressed an interest in an all-women Marvel film but has instead pressed forward with standalone films concentrating on one female hero, such as Captain Marvel and Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming Black Widow spin-off, which will be released next year.

Larson later reflected on filming the Avengers: Endgame scene alongside her female co-stars, and said it felt like being part of a “coven”.

“It was just a great day. To get to be with all of those women for the day… it felt like we were a part of this like coven working together for this goal,” the 30-year-old smiled. “So, we get so excited and feel so much energy when you get to be around your peers and share stories.”

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Cate Blanchett divulges her favourite Marvel movie

Cate Blanchett has named Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel as her favourite Marvel movie.Larson played Carol Danvers in this year’s blockbuster, with the plot following the pilot as she discovers she’s one of the universe’s most powerful superheroes and is …

Cate Blanchett has named Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel as her favourite Marvel movie.

Larson played Carol Danvers in this year’s blockbuster, with the plot following the pilot as she discovers she’s one of the universe’s most powerful superheroes and is caught in an intergalactic war between two alien races.  

The movie made more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, and in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Blanchett picked the female-driven film as her number one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), despite playing Asgardian goddess of death Hela in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok back in 2017.  

“I really, really loved Captain Marvel. No offence, Taika, but it was probably my favourite,” she told the publication.

And Blanchett is also keen to see Natalie Portman become The Mighty Thor and wield the Norse god’s hammer Mjolnir in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder.  

“I’m so, so excited. I’m so looking forward to seeing it, because I absolutely loved seeing them all with my kids,” the 50-year-old shared. “To know that Natalie is going to have such a pivotal role is really exciting.” 

Blanchett was full of praise for the increasing gender equality in the MCU too, and credited Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso with making that happen.

“She has been an incredible advocate for feminising that universe. It’s right and true that those franchises should be actually cutting-edge, because that’s traditionally what (comics) have done,” she added.

The upcoming female-driven projects in the MCU include Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, The Eternals, starring Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie, and Elizabeth Olsen’s joint leading role alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

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Samuel L. Jackson was preparing for new John Singleton film before his death

Samuel L. Jackson is searching for a new director to step in for his late friend John Singleton on what was supposed to be their third film collaboration. The Captain Marvel star reveals he and his Shaft and Black Snake Moan director had just started …

Samuel L. Jackson is searching for a new director to step in for his late friend John Singleton on what was supposed to be their third film collaboration.

The Captain Marvel star reveals he and his Shaft and Black Snake Moan director had just started working on plans for a new project when Singleton died following a stroke in late April.

“John and I were really good friends, we talked,” Jackson shared on U.S. breakfast show Today.

“We were actually about to do a film together this fall (autumn), so we were sort of in pre-production and getting ready to start that whole process…”

Jackson hasn’t named the movie in question, but admits it will be tough to find someone to fill Singleton’s shoes.

He continued, “The film’s still gonna happen. Now we gotta find a director. It’s kinda hard to find somebody who’s got John’s sensibility, but we’ll do what we can and work that out.”

The acting legend was among those invited to eulogise his old friend at his Los Angeles funeral, and Jackson was touched by the honour.

“I happened to be out of the country when he passed, but I was fortunate enough to be back to speak at his memorial service in L.A. the other week, so it was great,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jackson also recalled his time working with Singleton on the Shaft revamp back in 2000, admitting he questioned the writer/director’s judgement when he was urged to utter a quirky catchphrase in character, which has since become one of his most quotable lines among fans.

“There is a group of – especially now that Shaft’s coming back out – ‘It’s my duty to please that booty’ people, which I thought was the corniest line I had ever heard in my life when John said, ‘It’s gonna be so cool!'” Jackson remembered. “I was like, (sceptical)…”

However, when Today show co-host Craig Melvin claimed Singleton was “right” about the catchy phrase, Jackson indicated he still didn’t agree, responding, “Really?!”

Jackson has since reprised the role of private investigator John Shaft II for the new instalment of the movie franchise, also titled Shaft, which was directed by Tim Story.

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James McAvoy confirms X-Men: Dark Phoenix ending was entirely reshot

James McAvoy has confirmed the ending of X-Men: Dark Phoenix was reshot due to “parallels” with another superhero film.The Scottish actor reprises his role as Charles Xavier / Professor X in the latest instalment of the Marvel Comics franchise, with th…

James McAvoy has confirmed the ending of X-Men: Dark Phoenix was reshot due to “parallels” with another superhero film.

The Scottish actor reprises his role as Charles Xavier / Professor X in the latest instalment of the Marvel Comics franchise, with the new movie focusing on how Jean Grey, as played by Sophie Turner, loses control of her telepathic and telekinetic powers and becomes the Phoenix.

However, McAvoy has now shared in an interview with Yahoo Movies UK that the third act of the feature was totally re-written as it bore a resemblance to another movie in production at the time.

“The end (of Dark Phoenix) changed a hell of a lot. The finale had to change. For the better. There was a lot of overlap and parallels with another superhero movie that came out… a while ago. And we had no idea that we were,” he stated, while his co-star Michael Fassbender, who plays Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto, interjected: “They had spies on set and (they) basically stole our ideas. Infiltrated.”

“We were basically trawling through the source material, it seems,” McAvoy added.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix began filming in June 2017, though director Simon Kinberg spent over a year in the post-production phase, with studio executives forced to delay the film’s release twice.

While McAvoy refused to comment on which other film he was referring to, there have been numerous Marvel and DC superhero movies made within the same period, including Thor: Ragnarok, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War, Aquaman and Avengers: Endgame.

Elsewhere, Turner spoke about the changes to the ending of the flick, and added: “I think it’s so much better for the reshoots. It was just one of those things… you watched the first two acts and the third act just didn’t feel cohesive. We went back and we redid all of the third act pretty much and it was such a good decision. I mean, the third act is the best part of the movie, for me.”

X-Men: Dark Phoenix, also featuring Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult, hits cinemas from 5 June.

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Avengers: Endgame rips up the record books with 1.2 billion opening

The Avengers have assembled to shatter box office records with a $1.2 billion global debut Avengers: Endgame, which closes out the star-studded Marvel/Disney Avengers movie series, hauled in over $350 million (£271 million) in North America alone aft…

The Avengers have assembled to shatter box office records with a $1.2 billion global debut

Avengers: Endgame, which closes out the star-studded Marvel/Disney Avengers movie series, hauled in over $350 million (£271 million) in North America alone after breaking preview records on Thursday night (25Apr19), and it is now on track to become the biggest film of all time, set to beat out Avatar and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Endgame crushed the U.S. box office record set by its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, which opened with $250 million (£193.5 million) domestically last year (18) and almost doubled The Fate of the Furious’ overseas opening weekend record of $443 million (£343 million), with a staggering $859 million (£665 million) haul, including a $330 million (£255.5 million) opening weekend in China.

The blockbuster also shattered opening day records in America, adding almost $30 million (£23.3 million) to Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ $129 million (£99.9 million) first Friday record.

Thrilled Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn has released a statement congratulating Marvel boss Kevin Feige on the success of the final Avengers film.

“Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team have continued to challenge notions of what is possible at the movie theatre both in terms of storytelling and at the box office,” he says. “Though Endgame is far from an end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these first 22 films constitute a sprawling achievement, and this weekend’s monumental success is a testament to the world they’ve envisioned, the talent involved, and their collective passion, matched by the irrepressible enthusiasm of fans around the world.”

Avengers character Captain Marvel’s stand-alone movie had another healthy weekend at the U.S. box office, taking its total eight-week tally to $414 million (£320.5 million), while horror tale La Llorona comes in at three.

Faith-based family film Breakthrough, about a real-life miracle, and Shazam! round out the new top five, while Little, Dumbo, Pet Sematary, Us, and nature documentary Penguins complete the new top 10.

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