True story: Women don’t get to direct big budget properties, women of colour even less so. As of the writing of this post, only four women directors have ever been given a budget of over $100m - Kathryn Bigelow, Patty Jenkins, Ava Duvernay and Anna Boden (with Ryan Fleck for the upcoming Captain Marvel movie). This is particularly galling given that the industry seems only too eager to give 9 figure blockbuster projects to any scruffy young white dude with a baseball cap who vaguely reminds them of Lucas or Spielberg. The cards are stacked against the dishearteningly tiny percentage of women of colour working as directors, although Duvernay’s work as a producer and show-runner on Queen Sugar, wherein every episode was directed by a woman, is helping to chip away at an unfair system.
Now, we’re excited to see a fifth woman join these ranks (we assume, given how superhero movie budgets work these days), as Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball and Fox’s recent even series Shots Fired) was just announced by Sony Pictures as the director for the Spider-Man spin-off, currently titled Silver and Black. Sony are working hard to cash in on the goodwill and public excitement surrounding their sole superhero property thanks to their deal with Marvel Studios by turning it into its own fully fledged universe of movies. Prince-Bythewood’s project will focus on mercenary Silver Sable and thief Black Cat, so not only are we getting our first superhero blockbuster directed by a black woman, we’re getting one focused on two women! Dear lord, Sony, you’re actually being interesting and we thank you for it.
Gina Prince-Bythewood is best known for her impeccable romantic dramas such as Love and Basketball and Beyond the Lights, but she’s also got experience in the comic book adaptation field, as she is the director of the pilot for the upcoming Cloak and Dagger series. Filming is projected to begin later this year, and no casting has been announced, but even if you’re not a comic book fan or blockbuster geek, I think we can all agree that this is great news and an amazing opportunity for a wonderful director (although I not so secretly hope we get her adaptation of Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State first.