Marvel teams up with director Cate Shortland for stand-alone Black Widow movie

Image via Marvel

"The Berlin Syndrome" helmer Cate Shortland has been tapped to direct Marvel's "Black Widow" standalone movie starring Scarlett Johansson, sources confirmed to Variety.

In 2017, Shortland directed the movie Berlin Syndrome, a thriller about a romance which turns sinister when a charismatic man suddenly decides to keep a woman he's met as a prisoner in his apartment.

Shortland's hiring caps off months of searching that saw Marvel reportedly meet with as many as 75 different filmmakers for the project.

Little is known about the plot of the Black Widow film, although industry rumour suggests it will explore events in a time period before the first Avengers movie.

Black Widow, who first appeared in Iron Man 2 and has since been a vital part of the Avengers films since, has always been the subject of online support for a solo film of her own.

Shortland was reportedly chosen from a list of finalists that included Amma Asante (Belle), Maggie Betts (Novitiate), Melanie Laurent (Galveston), and Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don't Cry). Johansson was particularly impressed with the director's handling of the female protagonist, reports said. She is the second female director in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) roster, following Captain Marvel co-director Anna Boden.

Shortland doesn't even have agency representation, but Johansson pushed for the filmmaker to land the gig as the actress had a strong hand in picking this director. Jac Shaeffer (who also wrote the upcoming Nasty Women) was recruited to write the Black Widow screenplay earlier this year.

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