In this week’s Variety cover story, Elizabeth Banks talks about how much she relished the chance to use her third film as a director — the R-rated, wildly violent action comedy “Cocaine Bear” — to further develop her original voice as a filmmaker.
“I can’t do someone else’s vision,” she says. “I really want to bring my sensibility to things.”
For that reason, Banks says that she’s never been super eager to dive into big, established franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The last big franchise movie she was “really interested” in directing, she says, was “Thor: Ragnarok.”
“And nothing ever happened,” Banks says. She believes “a call was made” about the possibility of Banks pitching her take on “Ragnarok” to Marvel.
“No one called me [back],” she says. “Taika Waititi got the job. Rightfully so.”
Marvel Studios often fields pitches from several filmmakers to find right fit to direct their movies. To date, four women have helmed Marvel Studios films: Anna Boden (with her directing partner Ryan Fleck) for 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” Cate Shortland for 2021’s “Black Widow,” Chloé Zhao for 2021’s “Eternals” and Nia DaCosta for “The Marvels,” set to debut this July. A spokesperson for the studio did not respond to a request for comment.
“Thor: Ragnarok,” which premiered in 2017, radically changed Marvel’s approach to the God of Thunder, shifting the titular character, played by Chris Hemsworth, from brooding self-seriousness to a goofy, lighthearted irreverence. Banks says that’s precisely what intrigued her about making it.
“I have an attraction to the sensibility,” she says. “That character being funny and knowing how good Chris is at making fun of himself, that’s my vibe.”
While discussing her thoughts on “Ragnarok,” at one point Banks suddenly interrupts herself. “I brought up ‘Thor,'” she says with a tight smile that also seems like a grimace. “You’re going to clickbait me in that fucking article now. I never should have said it out loud.”
Banks evinces no hard feelings, however, about not having the chance to pitch her take on “Ragnarok,” and she doesn’t seem eager to chase after a superhero gig, either. When asked if she’s reached out to James Gunn, who directed Banks in his 2006 film “Slither,” now that he’s a co-chief of DC studios, Banks laughs.
“I had a pitch for a Catwoman movie a while ago, but I don’t think it’ll fit into the mandate right now,” she says. “But maybe someday.”