Neil Marshall is a busy man. He's currently basking in a well deserved Emmy nomination (his very first!) for his efforts on the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones' fourth season; that bit of recognition nearly glazes over his dual contributions to Starz' Black Sails (to say nothing of his upcoming pilot for NBC's Constantine). And he has more works waiting in the wings, most of them stalled projects from prior to his martial engagements in Westeros - Outpost, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, and Burst 3D among them.
So with a slate that packed, it's a wonder Marshall could even find time for genre movies about spontaneous human combustion, much less studio driven pictures. That's the funny thing about busy people, though: they're usually pretty good at balancing their time. In Marshall's case, an increasing number of television forays has only delayed his theatrical jaunts rather than killed them, and he's still adding to his ever increasing pile of "to do" pictures he's intermittently keen on directing.
Case in point: he wants to make a Black Widow movie. At least that's what he told Vanity Fair in an interview posted last Thursday, in which he also talked about 'The Watchers on the Wall', the ins and outs of adapting popular books for television, and the creative freedom offered by the medium versus the constraints of film. Marshall is an engaging personality, so the entire piece is worth a read, but Marvel fans will likely zoom right in on his remarks toward the end.
One last preamble: there's absolutely nothing about this that should be interpreted as "Neil Marshall is making a Black Widow movie". He might want to, but "wanting" is a country mile away from "doing" (and besides, Marvel is just too busy for that kind of thing anyways, it would seem). Here's the full quote:
I would love to do a Black Widow movie. That’s perfect, I would love to do that. That character is really interesting, she doesn’t have any superpowers, she just has extraordinary skills, and the world that she comes from, being this ex-K.G.B. assassin, I find that really fascinating, yeah.
Marshall prefaces this little nugget by hashing over his preference for superheroes that don't have superpowers; for him it's a matter of relating to the character, and how he would need to "believe" in such a character to make a movie about them. Apparently the more grounded qualities of Black Widow are right up his alley. (Either that or he's hiding a shadowy past as a former super spy.)
Frankly, a quick glance at his filmography makes his statement something of a no-brainer. Marshall has been making female driven movies for years; while his debut, Dog Soldiers, is almost totally dominated by men, his 2006 follow up The Descent is all about relationships between women, while 2008's Doomsday plays with the iconography of Mad Max using a female protagonist in place of Mel Gibson. 2011's Centurion reverted back to a male action hero with Michael Fassbender in the lead, but cast Olga Kurylenko as a sympathetic (and incredibly deadly) villainess who served as his foil.
So Marshall's fascination with the Black Widow character makes a lot of sense: she would give him the heroine he needs, and possibly the female superhero movie that Marvel fans deserve. There's certainly room to turn out a compelling standalone film centered on Natasha Romanoff (and Scarlet Johansson has made it clear she's game to star in that film if it ever comes together). For now, it's a pipe dream, but as pipe dreams go it's a pretty good one.
Source: Vanity Fair