Elizabeth Banks Almost Made A Controversial Marvel Movie Even Worse

Elizabeth Banks almost directed the controversial but acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

chris hemsworth
Thor: Ragnarok

Elizabeth Banks is wary of franchises. In an interview with Variety, the Charlie’s Angels (2019) director revealed that the last tentpole movie she was interested in taking on was 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi beat Elizabeth Banks out for the position on the Marvel film.

Thor: Ragnarok remains a controversial entry in the MCU, but to many, it is one of the best films the studio has made. The film painted a different picture of Thor than audiences saw in the God of Thunder’s previous films, allowing its star, Chris Hemsworth, to showcase his levity. It was the humor and wackiness of the project that drew Elizabeth Banks to the Marvel film.

“I have an attraction to the sensibility,” Banks told Variety. “That character being funny and knowing how good Chris is at making fun of himself, that’s my vibe.” Elizabeth Banks said a call was put in to Marvel to get her a pitch meeting for Ragnarok, but she didn’t hear back. “Taika Waititi got the job. Rightfully so,” Banks said.

The director harbors no resentment about not hearing back about Ragnarok. Though Elizabeth Banks has no prospects at Marvel, the director does have ties to DC’s new boss, James Gunn. Banks starred in Slither, a 2006 film directed by Gunn, and then in Brightburn, a 2019 superhero subversion tale Gunn produced.

When asked if she planned to utilize that relationship to get in the door at DC, Banks just laughed. “I had a pitch for a Catwoman movie a while ago, but I don’t think it’ll fit into the mandate right now,” Banks explained. “But maybe someday.” Elizabeth Banks may not have plans for a Marvel or DC film, but she has her own brand of madness on the way in the form of Cocaine Bear.

When Elizabeth Banks expressed her wariness about franchises like Marvel, she said, “I can’t do someone else’s vision… I really want to bring my sensibility to things.” The director may be speaking from experience after the poor performance of her last film, Charlie’s Angels. Banks’ sensibilities as a filmmaker may not have yet reached the big screen in their purest form, but the director’s mad humor will be on full display when Cocaine Bear releases on February 24, 2023.

Loosely based on actual events, Elizabeth Banks delivers a far cry from a Marvel movie with the very R-rated Cocaine Bear, which follows gangsters, cops, teens, and tourists into a forest where a black bear has unwittingly ingested a large quantity of cocaine. The overstimulated bear commits a slaughter spree, forcing the disparate groups caught in the situation to survive the carnage.

The film stars the late Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, and Alden Ehrenreich. Cocaine Bear marks the third feature film outing for Banks as a director, following 2019’s Charlie’s Angels and 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2. While Elizabeth Banks steers clear of Marvel for now, she will also direct The Greater Good, a TV movie said to be a comedic version of The X-Files.

Elizabeth Banks is a beloved and established actress, and she is paving an exciting path for herself as a director. Most big franchise movies are still directed by men, and seeing Elizabeth Banks take on a Marvel or DC project with her unique voice would certainly be entertaining. Though she has no plans for such a project, her career as a director is only just beginning, and if she can make Cocaine Bear work, perhaps anything is possible.