We reported last month that Marvel has looked at over 65 directors as possible candidates to take the helm on their highly-anticipated Black Widow movie, and now a new report claims there may be a front runner. Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland (Lore) is reportedly one of the contenders on the studio's "short list". Amma Asante, known for her movie Belle and Maggie Betts, who directed Novitiate, are the other two top contenders. All three have met with Marvel's Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson, whittled down from a list of 49 hopefuls. There is no indication as to when a final decision may be made on who will take the helm on this long-awaited project, but progress is being made.

The last update we got on this Black Widow move was just under a month ago, when a report claimed that production would begin at some point next year, with the studio also bringing on Maria Djurkovic (Red Sparrow) as the production designer. Jac Schaeffer (TiMER, Olaf's Frozen Adventure) was brought on to write the script in January, with another report surfacing that star Scarlett Johansson herself would collaborate on the writing process, but that was never confirmed. There were also reports that the studio was seeking a female director, and it will be interesting to see if there are other female director contenders who emerge.

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Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow was first introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its third movie, 2010's Iron Man 2, and she became part of The Avengers in the 2012 blockbuster of the same name. She would go on to appear in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2016's Captain America: Civil War and this year's global blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. There had been talk back in 2016 that a Black Widow movie would be part of Marvel Phase 4, which has yet to be confirmed, although it's definitely possible.

There was also a report that Marvel is looking to give Scarlett Johansson a huge payday for starring in this Black Widow movie, with a reported $25 million in base salary and the potential of earning another $6 million in bonuses for a potential total of a whopping $31 million. While that salary has not been confirmed, it would easily make Johansson the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, and that report also claimed the actress' agents were also looking to secure her a producing credit as well, which could bring in even more money. Anthony Mackie has also previously lobbied to join Johansson as The Falcon, while there have been other reports that the movie would be a prequel, featuring Sebastian Stan's character The Winter Soldier.

As for Cate Shortland, the Australian director got her start with a handful of short films before directing episodes of Aussie TV shows Bad Cop, Bad Cop and The Secret Life of Us. She made her feature directorial debut in 2004 with Somersault, which featured rising stars such as Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington. She followed that up with the 2012 feature Lore and last year's Berlin Syndrome starring Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt. Deadline broke the news on Cate Shortland being a possible contender to direct Marvel's Black Widow.