“The Marvels” director says she'd text “Shang-Chi” filmmaker to vent: 'What does any of this s--- mean?'

“The Marvels” director says she'd text “Shang-Chi” filmmaker to vent: 'What does any of this s--- mean?'

Making a big-budget Marvel movie can be a huge opportunity for a filmmaker on the rise — but it's a job that comes with its own set of challenges. Fortunately for Nia DaCosta, the writer and director of the upcoming superhero sequel The Marvels, she had some help navigating the MCU ecosystem from those who came before her.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, DaCosta, 33, says she spent some time on set texting frustrations to Destin Daniel Cretton, who helmed the 2021 blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

DaCosta sent messages admitting "I'm overwhelmed" or "I'm so stressed," she said. "Sometimes you'd be in a scene and you'd be like, 'What the hell does any of this s--- mean?'"

Or, she recalled, "an actor's looking at some crazy thing happening in space, and they're [actually] looking at a blue X. There were obviously hard days, and days where you're like, 'This just isn't working.'"

Brie Larson in 'The Marvels'
Brie Larson in 'The Marvels'

Laura Radford/Marvel Studios Brie Larson in 'The Marvels'

DaCosta, who previously directed 2021's Candyman, is the youngest MCU director to date and the first Black woman to helm one of the franchise's films. Before and during production of The Marvels, she also spoke with Ryan Coogler (the Black Panther movies) Chloé Zhao (Eternals), James Gunn (the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder), as well as friends like Tessa Thompson who have experience in the Marvel world.

"Are they going to kill me and destroy my soul? Is [Marvel Studios boss] Kevin Feige a bad man?" she said she jokingly asked them. "And they were like, 'No, he's just a good guy who was a nerd.'"

DaCosta said she attempted to bring her own directorial touch to the Captain Marvel sequel but also knew that it is "a Kevin Feige production, it's his movie." She continued, "So, I think you live in that reality, but I tried to go in with the knowledge that some of you is going to take a back seat."

The Marvels, starring Brie Larsen, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, and Samuel L. Jackson, hits theaters Nov. 10.

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