Black Panther: Ava DuVernay turns down Marvel directing job

She could have been Marvel's first black female director of a superhero film

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The Independent Culture

Ava DuVernay has confirmed that she will not be the first black female director of a Marvel superhero movie after all.

The Golden Globe-nominated director, widely acclaimed for Selma last year, had been tipped to take on the studio's upcoming Black Panther but has now revealed that she has passed the big job up.

"I'm not signing on to direct Black Panther," she told Essence magazine. "I think I'll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be.

"Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they're fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me."

Chadwick Boseman has been cast in the lead as the comics' first African-American superhero. Black Panther made his first appearance back in 1966.

But while DuVernay "loved meeting" Chadwick and the rest of the team, it came down to "story and perspective" and conflicting visions.

"We just didn't see eye to eye," she said. "Better for me to realise that now than cite creative differences later. I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it."

The story of Black Panther focuses on on a clash between the US government, white industrialists and the local people of fictional African nation Wakanda over the metal Vibranium, from which Captain America's shield is made.

Marvel has been aiming to increase diversity in its film slate of late, casting Idris Elba in Thor and Michael B Jordan in Fantastic Four despite some resistance from fans demanding white actors.

DuVernay has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black actors and directors in Hollywood before, saying during a speech at SXSW in March that "studios aren't lining up to make films about black people being autonomous and independent".

The 42-year-old became the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe award earlier this year as well as the first to have a movie nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

Black Panther is scheduled for US release on 6 July 2018 with a UK date yet to be announced.

DuVernay is currently busy working on an as-yet-untitled romantic drama set at the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She is collaborating once again with David Oyelowo.

"The story we're interested in will explore the complexities of intimate relationships within times of chaos, while also examining the chaos itself," DuVernay said in a statement earlier this year. "I'm looking forward to the journey."

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