Black Widow Director Cate Shortland on Overcoming Natasha's Bold Facade

The woman of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are undoubtably tough, but it takes a director like Cate Shortland to tap into their softer sides. For years fans have seen the Black Widow present her deadly facade, but we all know there is more to Natasha Romanoff than what she lets on. It fell to Shortland to bring that history to life in Black Widow, and Shortland is opening up how it felt to oversee such a distinctly woman movie for Marvel.

The director spoke with Entertainment Weekly about her role, and Shortland was open in her discussion of the trauma which Natasha had to go through to reach a place where Black Widow could even happen.

“We just bonded over stories about trust and about intimacy and about women surviving,” Shortland said about her first discussion with the film's main players. “You didn’t have to be a superhero to identify with a woman who has had a really tough childhood and has survived and has a huge heart and helps other people.”

black-widow_UvIV7O
(Photo: Walt Disney Pictures)

“When I looked at the past [MCU] films, there’s a lot of sitting outside of the character, so that she is seen and kind of objectified,” she continued. “Oftentimes we don’t really get to see who she is when she’s by herself — who she is when she takes off the action-hero facade.”

In Black Widow, Shortland promises to peel back the layer which Natasha has been showing fans for years. The most difficult pieces of her past will be explored with nothing off limits, not even. family. For star Scarlet Johansson, this freedom to explore is plenty inviting, and she feels now is the best time to explore the past which made Natasha into the hero fans love.

“For anyone who said to me, ‘Oh, this [Black Widow film] should’ve happened five or 10 years ago,’ I’m like, it would not have been as substantial. We just would not have been able to do it," Johansson said. "This film is happening now as a result of what’s going on in the zeitgeist, and I think it’s pretty cool.”

The cast of Black Widow is split between genders, and there are several which MCU fans aren't sure how to approach. These wild cards will be a joy to discover but the real focus will be centered on Natasha. The femme fatale has been called many things in her life from a villain to quim, but Shortland hopes to narrate Natasha's story with meaning not just because she's a woman but because she's a character who matters to millions of fans around the world.

0comments

Are you excited to see Shortland's take on the Black Widow? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!

Black Widow hits theaters on May 1. Other upcoming Marvel Studios projects include The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6th, WandaVision in 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeye in fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk are also in the works for Disney+.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.