From ‘Guardians’ to ‘Fast & Furious 10’ Nicole Perlman makes marvelous impact on tentpole hits

As part of our Celebration Series, FF2 Media pays tribute to the work of female filmmakers. Be sure to click on the film titles for full reviews & see where you can stream on JustWatch.com.

Nicole Perlman’s debut into the film industry was on a bigger scale than most. Her first credited writing piece was on Guardians of the Galaxy. Specializing in the genre of sci-fi, Perlman adds comedic twists to her writing, making each film all the more enjoyable to watch. She joins the characters together to create a comedic rapport between them. Perlman was born into a Jewish family, daughter to a physician in Boulder, Colorado on December 10, 1981. She attended Boulder High School and went on to study film and dramatic writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She graduated in 2003 and her screenplay Challenge won her the Tribeca Film Festival’s Sloan Grant for Science in Film in 2006. 

Guardians of the Galaxy, Pokemon Detective Pikachu, and Captain Marvel are some popular films that were either written by or co-written by Perlman. Her witty writing infused with comedy makes the story funny and effective to watch. Perlman was enrolled in Marvel’s screenwriting program in 2009, when she was offered several lesser-known stories to base a screenplay, and she chose based on her interests in science fiction and space, Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014 – the first woman to write a Marvel Studios movie. The storyline of the film goes as such: When a mysterious orb is stolen in outer space, Peter Quill, who is from Earth, becomes the target of a manhunt led by Ronan, a villain more commonly known as “the Accuser”. Quill creates a team of space heroes known as the “Guardians of the Galaxy” in order to save them and the galaxy to fight against the Accuser and his team. Perlman won several awards such as the Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form. The film grossed over $772 million from an estimated $170 million budget.

In 2018, Nicole Perlman decided to try directing, and thus the short film The Slow is her directorial debut. She also wrote the screenplay to this short about a race of humans that “accelerated” past their own childhoods. A small group of exiles are discovered where they continue to birth and raise children the “slow” way. Perlman was nominated for a Golden Gate Award for the Best Narrative Short in the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2019. Perlman then wrote and directed another short, this time in the genre of horror rather than her usual sci-fi, called Undo a story of a physicist who makes a breakthrough of being able to turn back the flow of time. All is well and good until a haunting figure pays him a visit. 

Pokemon has always been popular in the gaming world. After the craze of the Pokemon Go game in 2016, Nicole Perlman co-wrote the story to the 2019 movie Pokemon Detective Pikachu. In a world where people collect Pokemons to do battle, a detective, Harry Goodman, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, and thus his 21-year-old son, Tim, sets out to find out what happened. Harry’s former partner, Detective Pikachu, aids the investigation. Tim and the adorable Pokemon, a mystery unto himself, team up to solve the mystery in a thrilling adventure. The film grossed over $433 million.

In Captain Marvel, we are introduced to one of the universe’s most powerful heroes, a heroine (first in the brand), who echoes a similar background to Captain America. However, it is important to point out that her powers do not come from her costume––she owns the power she obtains. “I put a lot of thought into the way Captain Marvel interacts with her powers, in the light of what it means to be an empowered woman,” Perlman told The New Yorker in a 2019 interview. The film follows “Carol Danvers” (Brie Larson) as she uncovers truths about her past and about the people she trusted. For a Marvel fan, it is exciting to see this prequel in preparation for the End Game, where all the Avengers come together. It is an even more exciting story coming from a woman. What is interesting is that in the film, she also trains without using her powers in order to “control her emotions”. The secrets unravel when escaping to Earth in an intergalactic attack in this tantalizing tale. Its budget was estimated around $160 million, but grossed over $1 billion worldwide.

Perlman will continue her involvement in blockbuster hits, now serving as Executive Producer on Fast & Furious 10, slated for 2022.

© Sophia Jin (5/23/20) FF2 Media

Featured photo: Meg LeFauve, Nicole Perlman, and Geneva Robertson-Dworet at an event for Captain Marvel (2019) Photo by Jesse Grant – © 2019 Getty Images

Middle photo: Nicole Perlman on the set of “The Slows” Photo by Jeff Unay

Bottom photo: Nicole Perlman on set of Guardians of the Galaxy (Photo credit: Marvel Studios)

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Sophia is currently a student of classical music. She joined FF2 Media in 2018, and loves working with everyone on the team because not only does it promote women's roles in films, it also opens her up to more works done by women. Sophia is so glad that there is a space that is full of women alike in their passion to bring more attention to females who are just as capable or even more capable than men in the industry.
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