WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: ‘Black Widow’ movie gains woman director in Cate Shortland, Julianne Moore looking at ‘The Woman in the Window,’ Emmy nominations get more diverse

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Scarlett Johansson made her debut as Black Widow in 2010's "Iron Man 2." Marvel Studios photo

Scarlett Johansson made her debut as Black Widow in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.” Marvel Studios photo

Marvel Studios finally seems to be taking some real steps toward making the standalone Black Widow movie that comic-book fans have been rooting for since 2010.

Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland has been tapped to helm “Black Widow,” which will finally let Scarlett Johansson’s clever and capable assassin-turned-Avenger stand in her own spotlight instead of lurking in the shadow of the guys.

As Collider notes, Shortland, whose credits include “Berlin Syndrome” (2017), “Lore” (2012) and “Somersault” (2004), is somewhat of an unknown quantity, and “Black Widow” is by far her biggest project to date (not that it gets much bigger than a Marvel movie these days). But that’s pretty much par for the course for Marvel Studios: Alan Taylor made his feature film directorial debut on “Thor: The Dark World,” Shane Black had only directed one movie, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” before helming Iron Man 3, and Taika Watiti (“Thor: Ragnarok”) and James Gunn (the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies) joined the Marvel ranks after working their way through independent film and genre movies, respectively.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shortland’s hiring finishes off a search that lasted more than half a year as the studio met with more than 70 directors in order to find its ideal candidate. A female filmmaker was the priority even as the search stalled at one point and the studio looked at male helmers, according to the trade publication.

The hunt narrowed in June to three final candidates: Shortland, Amma Asante (“Belle,” “A United Kingdom”) and Maggie Betts (“Novitiate”). Melanie Laurent (“Galveston”) and Kimberly Peirce (“Boys Don’t Cry”) were also in the next-to-final mix.

Shortland doesn’t even have agency representation, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but she had a fan in Johansson, who pushed for the helmer because she admired Shortland’s handling of the female lead in “Lore,” a critically acclaimed drama about a young woman who leads her siblings through Germany as the Allied forces enter.

The most recent draft for “Black Widow” was penned by a woman writer: Jac Schaeffer, who also wrote the upcoming female-centric remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” now titled “The Hustle.”

A fan favorite since she was introduced in “Iron Man 2,” Johansson’s “Black Widow” star vehicle will be Marvel’s second femme-centric film after “Captain Marvel,” which is set to open March 8, 2019.

As with “Captain Marvel,” Marvel Studio is reportedly going back in time for “Black Widow,” which will reportedly by set before the events of the first “Avengers” movie.

Julianne Moore appears in her Oscar-winning role in 2014's "Still Alice." The busy performer is in negotiations to co-star with Amy Adams in the film "The Woman in the Window." Sony Pictures Classics photo

Julianne Moore appears in her Oscar-winning role in 2014’s “Still Alice.” The busy performer is in negotiations to co-star with Amy Adams in the film “The Woman in the Window.” Sony Pictures Classics photo

Julianne Moore in negotiations for ‘The Woman in the Window’

Oscar winner Julianne Moore (“Still Alice,” “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”) is in negotiations to join Amy Adams in “The Woman in the Window,” Fox 2000’s adaptation of A.J. Finn.’s book, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Filmmaker Joe Wright (“The Darkest Hour,” “Atonement”) is directing the thriller, which stars Adams as a child psychologist with severe agoraphobia and a habit of mixing alcohol with her medication who hasn’t left her house in months. She believes she witnessed an awful crime involving a new family but in her neighborhood, but no one, including the police, believes her.

Moore will play the mother of a mysterious young boy who moves in across the street.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Tracy Letts (“August: Osage County”) wrote the script for the adaptation, which is clearly a nod to the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Rear Window.”

Scott Rudin and Eli Bush are producing, with Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva overseeing for Fox 2000.

Sandra Oh appears in her Emmy Award-nominated role in "Killing Eve." BBC America photo

Sandra Oh appears in her Emmy Award-nominated role in “Killing Eve.” BBC America photo

Emmy nominations get more diverse

There were some encouraging strides for women and people of color when the nominees for the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday.

More than a third of the 101 acting nominations for the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards went to ethnic minorities, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. That’s up from a quarter of the field last year, when Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) and Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) won top acting awards.

Both men are nominated again, along with noteworthy first-timers including Latino actors Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” Tiffany Haddish for “Saturday Night Live,” Issa Rae for “Insecure” and John Legend for “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” Darren Criss, who is of Filipino descent, was also nominated for “American Crime Story.”

Only one of this year’s categories, supporting actor in a drama, lacked any performers of color. In three categories, more than half the field are minorities.

That includes supporting actor in a comedy series, with black actors Tituss Burguss (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”) and Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”) and Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), of Lebanese descent, competing with Louie Anderson (“Baskets”) Alec Baldwin (“Saturday Night Live”) and Henry Winkler (“Barry”).

Sandra Oh, best known for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy,” became the first nominee of Asian descent in the leading drama actress category. Oh, who earned five supporting actress bids on the soapy medical drama,” has garnered critical praise for her newest role as a spy hunting a female assassin in BBC America’s “Killing Eve.”

“I think we’re all happy with the direction we’re going. This is the most diverse class of performer nominees we’ve had … which is fantastic,” Maury McIntyre, TV academy president, said Thursday after the nominations were announced.

Betty Gilpin appears in her Emmy Award-nominated role in "GLOW." Netflix photo

Betty Gilpin appears in her Emmy Award-nominated role in “GLOW.” Netflix photo

Oh’s historic nod wasn’t the only good news for women in television when the Emmys were announced.

The Netflix female wrestling comedy “GLOW” picked up 10 nominations for its first season on Thursday, and for Betty Gilpin, who earned a nod for her supporting role as Debbie Egan, told The Hollywood Reporter that her takeaway is that female-dominated shows are on the rise.

“I think we’ve learned this is not a phase or a trend,” Gilpin told The Hollywood Reporter of the recognition for “GLOW.” “We’re going to be loud in tribute to the generations of women before us who may have been either too afraid to be loud, or were loud in a time when it wasn’t as in vogue as it is now.”

Although Netflix released “GLOW’s” second season in June, the 2018 Emmy Awards are the first year of eligibility for the series. Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch and executive produced by “Orange Is the New Black’s” Jenji Kohan, “GLOW” boasts a 15-woman ensemble.

“If you have more female showrunners and more female creators, you’re going to have more female stories,” Flahive said. “Many of them are going to be very good, and hopefully that will result in moments like this where it feels like there is a diversity in the types of stories that are being recognized.”

In addition to a nomination in the coveted best comedy series category, “GLOW” earned nods for hairstyling, makeup and stunt coordination, as well as giving first-time nominee Gilpin her nod. In the best comedy category, it isjoined by female-led shows “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Tina Fey’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

“We’re standing on the shoulders of a lot of other women and a lot of other shows. I think there’s a change happening, but I also think there are some women who have been paving the way for a while and we’re benefitting from that work. They’re helping us to be a part of that movement,” Mensch said.

With women making up the majority of the cast and filling several roles off camera, Gilpin, who does her own wrestling stunts, said that the show not only allows but requires the actresses to be their “weirdest, loudest, bravest” selves.

“There’s so much room for everybody and a need for different voices,” Gilpin said. “I hope it inspires everyone who may not have that outside bravery or spear-carrying self always ready — I hope it inspires maybe the quieter, more fearful-souled ladies to press bioprint on the thing they’ve been to afraid to share on their computer.”

The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards will air live Monday, Sept. 17 on NBC. To see the full list of nominees, click here.

-BAM

 

 

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