Shang-Chi Director Opens Up on Marvel Work, Choosing Matrix Cinematographer

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel's first standalone super hero film to introduce a new hero since Captain Marvel. Arriving in 2021, Simu Liu will emerge as the titular Marvel hero, joining the ranks of others established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With him, Destin Daniel Crettin will be joining the pantheon of talent to have directed a Marvel Studios movie, known best previously for his work on Short Term 12. For Crettin, landing the directorial gig with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is nothing short of a dream come true.

"I didn’t think I was going to get it, so that helps you feel not as terrified," Crettin tells Collider. "The process of pitching is like anything. You just go in and speak your heart, and speak what you feel is important, and what you would love to do. And if they respond to that, then that’s going to be a good relationship. If they don’t respond to it, you don’t get the job, and it’s probably good that you don’t get the job."

Then, it all came down to a simple notification over the phone. "They just called me back in and told me I got the job," Crettin said, sounding as cool as a cucumber. Still, his inner child would be ecstatic over the news. "It would have been amazing because I would have been able to have a superhero that looked like me, rather than choosing the superheroes that I could imagine looking like me, under the mask," Crettin said. 'I was really into Spider-Man, or even the Incredible Hulk, because they I could picture myself under the Spider-Man mask, or as The Hulk because, when he was The Hulk, he was not really specific to any ethnicity. So, it’ll be nice to give that kid somebody who he can at least say, 'Oh, that one looks like me.'"

Crettin is still dipping his toes in the water with Marvel Studios as he gears up for production in Australia but has had nothing but positive experiences with the team. "They’re all so warm there," he says. "It’s a really warm family. So, it was a lot of hugs, and then it’s just, 'Let’s get to work.'"

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Crettin's first act as director was to select Bill Pope as the lead cinematographer on Shang-Chi. Previously, Pope shot The Matrix. "He has a really beautiful style, that’s both naturalistic and grounded, but also heightened, in the best way," Crettin said. "And anybody who can shoot The Matrix is probably gonna do great with this one."

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on February 12, 2021.