Jessica Chastain Wants to Know Why Marvel Hasn’t Made a Scarlett Johansson ‘Black Widow’ Movie
The desire for (and subsequent lack of) a female-led superhero movie is a hot topic that continues to be debated. Actually, there really isn't much debate; we're all pretty much in agreement that there should be a female-led superhero movie. Well, you can add one more voice to the chorus of people shouting loudly for a female Marvel movie as two-time Oscar-nominee Jessica Chastain took time out from her current promotional tour to support the notion of a Scarlett Johansson-led Black Widow movie.
The Wrap spoke to Chastain (who was once almost a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a role in 'Iron Man 3') and asked about the lack of strong roles for women in Hollywood. That's was all she needed:
Where is the Scarlett Johansson superhero movie? I don't understand it, why is it taking so long for this? This woman clearly shows that people want to go see her in the movies. ‘Lucy,’ didn't it beat ‘Hercules’ by a lot opening weekend, when it was made for a lot less? She shows that she kicks ass, she's a great actress. ‘Under the Skin’ is an incredible film, and why are we still waiting for a go-ahead on a superhero movie starring Scarlett Johansson? To me, it's a no-brainer. You want to make money, put Scarlett Johansson in a superhero movie!
What she said.
(Props to Chastain on knowing her numbers: 'Lucy' has made $217 million worldwide on a reported $40 million budget, while 'Hercules' has made $174 million worldwide on a reported $100 million budget.)
It's something everyone seems to want, it's something that the numbers would seem to back up, so why are we still facing this issue? When we spoke to Marvel president Kevin Feige back in July about this issue, he told us, "We’re not going to be swayed by the backlash," and remained resolute that they would like to eventually make a female-led superhero movie (whether that's a Black Widow movie or not), but they'd do that on their own timetable.
The old excuse from Marvel was that they only have two movies in any given year. But, in 2017 and 2018 they have three movies scheduled and there are rumors that they are looking to up that number in following years to have one Marvel movie every quarter. So, volume isn't an excuse any more. You've got the money and the real estate.
The other excuse, specifically regarding Black Widow, was what Marvel co-president Louis D'Esposito said: "With Widow what’s great is the interaction with all the team members, and the question is whether we want to pluck her out of that." We'll admit that the chemistry between Johansson and Chris Evans in 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' was great, but why does that preclude Black Widow from getting her own movie? If you can pluck Thor out of the Avengers and give him his own film, why not her? We'd even argue that a Black Widow spinoff could be done much cheaper than your normal Marvel movie: think Marvel meets 'The Bourne Identity'.
Even Joss Whedon is bummed out about this: "It’s stupid, and I’m hoping ‘The Hunger Games’ will lead to a paradigm shift. It’s frustrating to me that I don’t see anybody developing one of these movies. It actually pisses me off."
Joss is very much responsible for the how and why Black Widow is as enjoyable to watch as he is and hopefully he has the clout to help move that needle. The only plausible excuse at this point is that, with the impending birth of her first child, Johansson just isn't interested in a Black Widow movie. And, that's cool and we'd totally respect that. But, if that really is the case, it's incumbent upon Marvel to work on development of that Captain Marvel movie and get us that female-led superhero movie we're all jonesing for.