Gina Prince-Bythewood to Direct Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger Pilot

Director and screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood, best known for movies like Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights, will direct the pilot for Freeform’s adaptation of the Marvel Comics series Cloak and Dagger. After reports surfaced on a number of outlets, Prince-Bythewood confirmed the news on Twitter: She will indeed helm the series about two teenagers who are granted superpowers that transform them into the symbiotically-linked Cloak and Dagger.

The Mary Sue has an excellent rundown of why Prince-Bythewood has the right sensibility for the project, not least that she knows how to tell a sensitive, nuanced story about young love. Love & Basketball, a beloved early-2000s romantic drama, follows its leads, both dreaming of professional sports careers, through their time on and off the courts. I’m a particular fan of Beyond the Lights, in which Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Black Mirror, A Wrinkle in Time) plays a pop star whose genuine raw talent is overshadowed by the sexualized persona she has adopted for marketability.

As The Mary Sue’s Maddy Myers points out, these films count much more toward Prince-Bythewood’s affinity for the project than any experience with geeky and/or comic book material: Teens Tandy Bowen (a.k.a. Dagger) and Tyrone Johnson (a.k.a. Dagger) are inextricably linked by this unique experience, so you need someone who knows how to write that common ground. There’s also the issue of Dagger’s infamous costume and how much that sexualized look will be toned down for a network like Freeform, appealing as it does to teenagers; but Prince-Bythewood has proven she can handle that angle. (Might we suggest this sort of solution to the issue of Dagger’s attire?)

Gina Prince-Bythewood Cloak and Dagger

As the synopsis explains, Cloak and Dagger will present:

…[t]he interracial romance between Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers while falling in love. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to engulf others in darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart—but their feelings for each other make their already complicated world even more challenging.

Myers also raises the point that Cloak and Dagger’s love story is rather problematic in places, and that it might make sense to reimagine Tandy as a woman of color—again, the kind of consideration that I trust Prince-Bythewood would bring to the project. Though Blastr reports that the leads may already have been cast, as rumors point to Noah Gray-Cabey (Heroes, Heroes Reborn, Code Black) and Debby Ryan (Jessie, Sing It!) taking on the roles.


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