Chadwick Boseman was spotted on set in Atlanta (Hollywood Peach) working on Avengers 4: Title TBD. Marshall opened a couple weeks ago and hasn’t set the world on fire, but that’s okay because Boseman is just a few months away from total domination when Black Panther comes out. I’ve been on the Taika Train since the day Taika Waititi was announced as director of Thor: Ragnarok, but he’s not the only director everyone at Marvel loves. Ryan Coogler is also very well-liked by everyone he works with, and has inspired the same kind of devoted attention, which only results in a better movie. It’s like any group project—when you like the teacher, you work a little harder for the A.
Recently, The Daily Beast did a rundown of David O. Russell’s appalling behavior on set. It’s no secret—everyone knows he’s a bully. We’ve all heard about the fighting with George Clooney, the yelling at Amy Adams, and of course, the cursing out of National Treasure Lily Tomlin. In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, there is a growing conversation about how much bad behavior should be tolerated in the industry, and while the obvious answer is “NONE”, the reality is many, many directors—and plenty of actors, too—are total sh*theels. That’s partly because we like the image of the temperamental artist (when they are men), and associate fits of abusive behavior as signs of a genius at work. Consider how Alfred Hitchcock bullied Tippi Hedren—which went from anecdotes of “Hitch was hard on her”, to Hedren saying he sexually assaulted her—or how Stanley Kubrick (and David Fincher) kept actors on set for dozens and dozens of takes, no matter how uncomfortable the situation. We like the romance of a “mad genius”, but how many mad geniuses are just assholes?
Ryan Coogler (and Taika Waititi) is proof you don’t have to be an asshole to be a great director. He is a director of singular voice and strong artistic vision, working within a massive corporate machine, making a movie that satisfies not only him, but also the bean counters. That is not easy, as evidenced by the sheer amount of director issues that spring up, repeatedly, on these big movies. But Coogler, who is also dealing with the added social pressure of making a landmark film, is getting through Black Panther drama-free. Anyway, back to Chadwick Boseman. He’s on everyone’s Freebie Five, yes? (Lainey: YES please.)