The MCU has become the most dominant franchise in Hollywood, over a course of 20+ movies spanning more than a decade. While that kind of achievement is impressive, it has also led to some fans complaining that every Marvel movie looks and feels the same, no matter who directs the film. According to filmmaker Xavier Gens, who directed the 2007 action-thriller Hitman, Marvel Studios insists on taking complete charge of the action and CGI sequences of each of their films, which is why Gens turned down the chance to make an MCU feature.

“I was in discussion with diff&érents studios [including Marvel]. But now, I understand that the previews of the digital effects and action scenes are done by VFX companies like the Third floor in London, and that I would be there to take care of only the direction of the actors… As director living in Europe, we are in charge of the entire process of the film. This is, I believe, why most of the European directors decline US studio movies. Because at one point, on these productions, you are reduced to just directing fields/reverse fields on actors in front of a green background. In Europe, we are responsible for the film from the beginning to the end.”

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The question of how much control a studio should grant a filmmaker while making a big-budget movie has long been a source of contention in Hollywood. While some directors, like the Russo brothers and Taika Waititi, have insisted they were given complete freedom by Showrunner Kevin Feige to make the kind of movie they wanted in the MCU, other directors, like Edgar Wright, and Scott Derrickson have exited MCU projects citing an inability to follow their own creative vision rather than the studios’.

These controversies have led some fans to picture the MCU as a giant tv show, which must closely follow Feige’s personal vision with each new film no matter which director is in charge of a particular project. According to Gens, this kind of formulaic approach to moviemaking does no big favors for a filmmaker, even if they are able to get the prestigious Marvel tag attached to their credits.

Directing a Marvel film can make a great calling card, but I’m not even sure that the names of the directors of ‘Captain Marvel’ are remembered today… I have already had a catastrophic experience with a studio, ‘Hitman,’ and I don’t want to do it again, especially at 45. I prefer to direct ‘Gangs of London’ or produce ‘Papicha,’ much more important to me than any Marvel. Besides, I refuse all American orders.”

In the coming days, the MCU is poised to go forward in some interesting new directions, from the Disney+ show WandaVision that is built like a traditional sitcom, to the quasi-horror film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, to the spy-thriller drama Black Widow. Clearly, there is a lot of room for different filmmakers to put their own unique spins on the various MCU properties. The question is, will Fiege and Marvel Studios allow such projects to forge their own path, or will they be forced to conform to the tried and tested MCU formula in terms of cinematography and direction? This news originated at https://thesaxon.org/marvel-why-french-director-xavier-gens-said-no-to-studio-methods/6174/|The Saxon} with additional reporting and updates happening at The Playlist.

Neeraj Chand

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