Black widow She is unfazed when faced with the scariest aspects of Natasha Romanoff’s past. Recruited to train in the Red Room, forced to use violence on behalf of Russia, and then her own revenge episode alongside Clint Barton on the infamous Budapest mission … it’s all pretty bleak. That’s why director Cate Shortland wanted to convert Black widow in one of the funniest chapters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“What we tried to do was use humor to talk about the trauma,” he tells Polygon. “Most of the people in this movie who have been victimized are actually joking about it because they are trying to get over it.”
There is no better example of Shortland’s approach than a time when Black widow in which Florence Pugh, as Yelena, reminds her surrogate father Alexi (David Harbor) of a particular horror from the Red Room. This is how it unfolds:
Alexi: Why the aggression, huh? Is it your time of the month?
Yelena: I don’t get shit out of my period. I don’t have a uterus.
Natasha: Or the ovaries.
Yelena: That’s what happens when the Red Room does an involuntary hysterectomy. They just go in and tear out all your reproductive organs. They just go in there and cut them all down. So you can’t have babies.
Alexi: Okay okay, you don’t have to get so clinical and nasty!
Yelena: I was just going to talk about the fallopian tubes …
The scene takes a thread from Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which Natahsa tells Bruce Banner in the gravest terms what happens to the young women captured by Dreykov (Ray Winstone).
In the Red Room, where they trained me, where they raised me, they have a graduation ceremony. They sterilize you. Is efficient. One less thing to worry about. The only thing that could matter more than a mission. Makes everything easier. Even killing … Do you still think you’re the only monster on the team?
According to Shortland, Pugh’s rejection was not actually in the script for Black widow In development for years, the story of the final film is credited to Jac Schaeffer (WandaVision) and Ned Benson (The disappearance of Eleanor Rigby) with a script by Eric Pearson. After entering Marvel’s screenwriting program in 2010, Pearson went on to write One-Shots in the early days of Phase 1, and has become a reference source for rewrites for the studio, with a co-authorship credit. on Thor: Ragnarok.
“So Eric, who is our writer, had written a joke about women who are in a bad mood because they have their period,” recalls Shortland. “And I remember Florence and Scarlet and I read it and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is ridiculous.’
The director says she almost cut the joke off entirely, but after arguing with her actors, she finally decided to “answer it.” He didn’t clarify whether that meant improvising the day of or reverting to traditional rewrites, but the result was the final digression on involuntary hysterectomies.
“I love it,” says Shortland. “Because it’s like, if you’re going to make that joke, I’m going to unleash Florence Pugh on you. She goes to Yelena. It’s one of my favorite moments in the movie. “
To learn more about Shortland, read our full interview. Black widow is now in theaters and in Premier Disney Plus Access.