curated: ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ is yet another example of an inexperienced white guy getting a big Hollywood boost

Until Hollywood starts taking these leaps of faith with directors who aren’t white guys, I’m gonna keep bitching about it.

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Thu, Jul 06, 2017 11:51pm

The first question that comes to mind, if you’re me, is: Why not Miranda July or Nina Paley or Marjane Satrapi or Mira Nair or Jocelyn Moorhouse or Callie Khouri? But I have a bewildered respect for the Marvel Brain Trust. They chose the least obvious director on the planet, and it seems to have worked. The film is getting glowing reviews. So my second question is: Why Jon Watts?

As far as I can tell, Watts has only made one film that was released theatrically in the U.S. I’m cynical enough to wonder if that’s why Marvel hired him: They figured he wouldn’t argue too much when they dictated the plot and the tone of the movie. And he was probably extremely affordable. But his films got terrible reviews and didn’t make a lot of money. So I’m really curious: What quality did they see in him that convinced them he was perfect for this movie? Because, against all conventional wisdom, they appear to have been right.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Fri, Jul 07, 2017 10:54am

The problem isn’t that Marvel (or any other studio) takes a risk on unknown directors, because clearly it does often pay off. The problem is which directors they choose to take those risks on: it’s always white guys.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, Jul 07, 2017 11:53am

Well, yes. I could have added quite a few directors to my list in the first sentence. My question is: What quality did they see in this particular white, male director that made them hire him? His previous career made him look, to me, like a really unpromising candidate.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Danielm80
Fri, Jul 07, 2017 4:34pm

But had you heard of Jon Watts before? Probably not… which means there are likely many many women directors who would be getting a shot if all else were equal.

Why did Watts get a shot? Likely because some older white guy said, “He reminds me of me,” which is what Brad Bird said about Colin Trevorrow when Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy were looking for someone to direct *Jurassic World* and Bird couldn’t do it.

This is how the old boys’ club gets perpetuated: No old white guy is gonna look at a young black woman and say “She reminds me of me.”