Director’s Chair Introduction: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

by Tony Cogan · March 11, 2019 · Director's Chair · 3 Comments

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Deadline: 30th March 2019

Hello everyone, it’s time to announce who’s being highlighted for this months Director’s Chair and, given the release of Captain Marvel, I thought it would be good to highlight the films directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Bowden and Fleck first met each other when they worked on a student film together, bonding together over their mutual love of Robert Altman, and following the completion of Fleck’s University Thesis short film, they decided to collaborate with each other.

They started working together on a few documentary shorts, before making Gowanus, Brooklyn, which they used to try and gain financing for their first film, Half Nelson. Whilst the short won an award at Sundance in 2004, it took another few years for Boden and Fleck to gain the funding to make Half Nelson, which they used to hone the script. Whilst both of them wrote the film, Fleck was the one who directed the film, with Boden editing it (Boden subsequently has edited all of their films, with the exception of Captain Marvel). There were disagreements between Boden and Fleck during the writing process, but they believed it was for the best to allow the script to be in its best shape. Upon release, Half Nelson was a critical success, with Ryan Gosling being nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for his performance.

After Half Nelson, Boden and Fleck both got behind the camera with their next film, Sugar. Basing it on the stories they heard about immigrants from the Dominican Republic, the film received positive reviews, being included in the AFI Top 10 Films of 2009. After Sugar, Boden and Fleck started doing TV work, which has included doing episodes of In Treatment, The Big C, Billions and The Affair.

Moving away from the drama focus of Half Nelson and Sugar, Boden and Fleck’s next film was an adaptation of It’s Kind of a Funny Story, which received mostly mixed reviews. It took another 5 years for Boden and Fleck to make another film with Mississippi Grind, which came to them whilst visiting riverboat casinos in Iowa, with the film being a critical success.

Now we get to the MCU. Whilst Boden and Fleck were originally in consideration for Guardians of the Galaxy, their experience in the MCU didn’t really start until Captain Marvel went into pre-production. Kevin Feige wanted to ensure that there was a woman behind the camera, with this leading to multiple meetings between Marvel and Boden and Fleck, mostly due to their work with character. With their hiring, Boden and Fleck re-wrote the script originally written by Nicole Perlman and Meg LaFauve, with the guidelines set for the two by Marvel being that it had to be set in the 90s and involve the Skrull. Whilst it is too early to say how successful Captain Marvel has been (and having to navigate the trolls review bombing the film over Brie Larson wanting more diversity in film criticism doesn’t help), as of writing it is the second highest grossing film of 2019.

Just as a reminder, all of the films you can cover are shown below.

  • Half Nelson
  • Sugar
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story
  • Mississippi Grind
  • Captain Marvel

I’m looking forward to seeing what you send me.