What Needs To Change About Female Superheroes, According To Olivia Wilde
It started as a mild joke. It’s turning into a movement. A Twitter user suggested that Olivia Wilde and her Meadowland director, Reed Morano, should tackle Marvel’s planned adaptation of Captain Marvel because the movie could use a double dose of female empowerment. But when I asked the ladies about the idea, they shared several big ideas of their own.
Meadowland played on Opening Night of this year’s Savannah Film Festival, and I was lucky enough to sit down with Wilde and Morano to discuss the impact that drama is having on audiences. At the end of our conversation, I brought up the Captain Marvel conversation that the ladies had on Twitter. As it turns out, Wilde has very strong opinions about how Marvel superheroes – particularly female superheroes – are being crafted. She explained to me:
I’m a big fan of superhero films, and I have so much respect for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The thing with female superheroes is that, in order to be powerful, they are flawless. The idea of kick-ass power lacks a certain nuance, at times. There is something to be said for a female director working to create a female superhero that perhaps [has] a little more complexity.
There’s no question that Marvel has been trying to shift in that direction with its recent output. Scarlett Johansson has been trying to explore Black Widow’s complicated history in films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and this summer’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Guardians of the Galaxy introduced two powerful women into the MCU in Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her vicious sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan). And Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) now has to deal with a devastating loss when we see her on screen in Civil War.
Olivia Wilde recognized this, and even elaborated on her claim, explaining in greater detail the changes she’d love to try and implement in a Marvel movie. She told me:
Marvel has been so smart about casting unexpected people for these roles. Look at what Robert Downey brought to Iron Man. A real, dry sense of humor and a complexity to his hero balance. I think that the way these Marvel heroes are written, the female superheroes included, do have complexity and flaws. But I think when they are translated into film, the women can become these ultimate goddesses of perfection and I would love to create a female Marvel character who is just as unexpected and complex as some of the male characters as Iron Man. I think that would be really cool!
Reed Morano, for her part, says that while her phone hasn’t rung since the suggestion hit Twitter, both of their Twitter feeds have exploded with fan interest. She told me that she’d be game for the Captain Marvel gig because:
The most interesting characters are the ones who have issues and are flawed individuals. It would be nice to give a real history, to give a real, tangible background to this character.
Marvel has Captain Marvel arriving in theaters on March 8, 2019. That’s a long way away, but could you see Olivia Wilde in the suit?
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