Natalie Portman Reportedly Upset Over Marvel Firing Director Patty Jenkins from THOR 2

     December 14, 2011

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Earlier in the month, we reported on director Patty Jenkins leaving Thor 2, and moved on by the time Alan Taylor and Daniel Minahan surfaced as the top replacement candidates.  After all, the departure was attributed to the classic “creative differences,” and it was implied that Marvel would still like to go into business with Jenkins, just not on Thor 2.  However, a new report suggests the split wasn’t quite so amicable, and Thor 2 star Natalie Portman is “deeply upset” over the firing.  Details after the jump.

Portman gave birth to a baby boy in June.  After a busy 2010/2011, Portman has taken a noticeable step back.  THR says the actress was considering a hiatus, but re-engaged at the idea of Jenkins directing Thor 2.  Because it is a cool idea.  No woman has directed a major superhero film outside of Lexi Alexander‘s smaller-scale Punisher: War Zone.  Portman pushed for Marvel to sign Jenkins, and was disappointed when she left the project.  The details surrounding Jenkins’ departure are murky, but various sources gave THR every side of the story:

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  • Marvel fired Jenkins because they were concerned she was not moving swiftly enough toward the November 2013 release.
  • The company felt Jenkins showed “a lack of overall clarity in her choices.”
  • Marvel were initially convinced by Portman’s enthusiasm, but second guessed their choice when they started talking to writers.
  • “Marvel had certain things they needed to achieve.  There were constraints on what [Jenkins] could do creatively.”

I don’t know exactly what to believe here, so I’ll let you sort through the rumors.  The fact that Jenkins reportedly would like to work on another project with Marvel is a good sign that the split wasn’t too ugly.  And Jenkins was very rosy in a previous interview with THR:

“I have had a great time working at Marvel.  We parted on very good terms, and I look forward to working with them again.”

I really am encouraged that Marvel may assign Jenkins to another of their superhero properties.  But I, like Ms. Portman, am disappointed Thor 2 cannot be that property.  I believe it is important that filmmakers come from all walks of life, each contributing a unique voice to cinema.  Currently, the path to directing—especially big-budget filmmaking—is populated by white men.  Jenkins was qualified for the job, and it’s not really fair for me to turn her into a feminist symbol.  But if she could direct this movie that will make, minimally, $300-$400 million worldwide, it would be that much easier for say, Wonder Woman, to be entrusted to the female eye.

We may know more when Marvel officially hires a director.  THR says Marvel is involving Portman in the process of selecting a new director to make up for the offense.  The company seems to like the idea of someone in the TV world.  Someone give them Michelle MacLaren‘s number.

Thor_movie_poster Chris Hemsworth Thor

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