If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard the news that Joss Whedon is exiting DC’s Batgirl film, explaining that after a year of trying, he never really found the right story. Frankly, I’m happy that he’s leaving the project because clearly, he didn’t know what to do with such an incredible character! This is why I think they should give the film to a female director who has experience directing movies about women kicking butt, one who deserves the opportunity to step into the ring with a big-budget superhero film.
I kept my directors realistic, as I looked at their past work and upcoming projects to see if they’d even be available. That’s why you won’t see familiar names like Kathryn Bigelow (these kinds of opportunities have been available to her for the past decade and she’s never pursued them) or Michelle MacLaren (she just signed on to direct Cowboy Ninja Viking) on this list. I had to make some hard cuts (like Cowboy Ninja Viking runner-up Jennifer Yuh Nelson), but without further ado, here are a half-dozen women who I think are well-suited to direct BATGIRL.
If you’ve seen Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (most people haven’t, unfortunately), you know that Robinson can direct the hell out of a film. Not only is she a strong filmmaker and storyteller, but she has the geeky sensibility that Batgirl needs. The film that really earned her a spot on this list is D.E.B.S, which tells a comedic story about a young woman who is dealing with serious issues, just like Barbara Gordon.
This is a female director who is no stranger to making movies about bad-ass women. From Girlfight to Æon Flux and Jennifer’s Body, she’s just the kind of filmmaker who is ready to tackle a superhero movie. Kusama’s last film, The Invitation, transcended its genre and elevated her as a director in my book, and it made me realize she’s ready for something bigger. She just wrapped the Nicole Kidman thriller Destroyer, which is expected to debut this fall, so maybe the Aquaman actress will put in a good word for Kusama with new DC chief Walter Hamada, who seems eager to hire a female filmmaker for Batgirl.
Alexander knows her way around action, and more specifically, superheroes. Making a name for herself with Green Street Hooligans, she then went on to direct Punisher: War Zone, but it’s her TV work that has earned her a spot on this list. Alexander has spent the last several years building a relationship with DC, having directed episodes of Arrow and Supergirl. Perhaps it’s time for DC to put more faith in her and gave her a big title like Batgirl.
Morano stepped into the director’s chair for Meadowland in 2015, and Hollywood has just started to scratch the surface of her potential. She’s recently directed three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, which was by far my favorite new TV show last year, and she’s currently in the midst of directing the Blake Lively spy thriller The Rhythm Section, so we know she’s down to shoot some action. Morano also just directed the Sundance drama I Think We’re Alone Now starring Elle Fanning, who might be right for Batgirl, depending on the character’s age in the movie.
The Women of Black Panther
These are two women who I think would surprise the hell out of a lot of people. Rachel Morrison and Lisa C. Satriano, who both worked on Black Panther, would be great choices for Batgirl.
Morrison just became the first female cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar for her incredible work on Mudbound, and she has also worked on Dope and Fruitvale Station.If Christopher Nolan’s DP, Wally Pfister, got a shot at directing a big-budget movie following the Dark Knight trilogy, then why wouldn’t Morrison be afforded the same opportunity?
Meanwhile, Satriano served as the first A.D. on Black Panther, and she’s no stranger to superhero films, having previously worked on Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man. As if that trio wasn’t enough, she also worked on last year’s female-driven spy movie Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron.
I think both of these women would make great choices if they ever wanted to move into the director’s chair. Let’s hope that studio executives across town, and especially those working on Batgirl, are paying attention.
April Dawn | Editorial Intern