Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

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Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Fleck (left) and Boden in 2008
Anna Boden
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
Ryan K. Fleck
Berkeley, California, United States
Alma materColumbia University (Boden)
New York University Tisch School of the Arts (Fleck)
Years active2000–present

Anna Boden and Ryan K. Fleck are an American filmmaking duo. They are best known for their collaborations on the films Half Nelson, Sugar, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Mississippi Grind and Captain Marvel.

Early life[edit]

Boden is originally from Massachusetts and grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. Fleck graduated from Castro Valley High School.[1] Before attending New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where he studied film, Fleck went to Diablo Valley College to study Science and Math.[1] Initially, Boden was said to have been attending the same college, but other sources indicate that Boden was at Columbia.[2][3][4] The two met on the set of a student film where they bonded over the works of Robert Altman and,[5] after Fleck had finished his thesis short film Struggle, they decided to collaborate.[6]

Fleck was born in Berkeley, California and raised there and in Oakland.[7] Fleck had grown up on classic fan favorites such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Back to the Future.


Together they made the short documentaries Have You Seen This Man? and Young Rebels before they wrote and directed the short film Gowanus, Brooklyn, a sample feature aiming to attract potential financiers to their undeveloped script, Half Nelson.[6][8]

The short won a prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and Boden and Fleck were subsequently invited to the Sundance Writer's Lab to receive professional feedback on the Half Nelson screenplay.[9] The film did not receive adequate financing for years, and while trying to initiate the project, Fleck explains: "We were trying to get it off the ground so we had plenty of time to keep writing and rewriting. I think the time was valuable because I think we made it as good as we could."[10]

In spite of the effort in making the script "as good as we could" prior to filming, Fleck encouraged Half Nelson's actors to ad lib and improvise, although he and lead actor Ryan Gosling compromised many scenes in the rehearsal process as Fleck thought that Gosling's ideas were too different from the script in some cases.[10] He also had several disagreements with Boden while writing; though he claims their "back and forth" system of rewriting each other's work has always worked well.[10] Half Nelson was well received by critics and got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Many other nominations went to Ryan Gosling for his role as Dan Dunne.[citation needed]

Boden and Fleck have since co-written and co-directed the 2008 film Sugar, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, about a 19-year-old Dominican man who immigrates to the United States to play minor league baseball. The two wrote the screenplay after researching about many Dominican immigrants who arrive in America to play in minor league towns, saying: "The stories we heard were so fascinating that it became what we were writing before we'd even decided it was our next project".[11] They also collaborated on a screen adaptation of Ned Vizzini's young adult novel It's Kind of a Funny Story, which was released on October 8, 2010.[12][13]

In 2012, the duo began work on a gambling movie called Mississippi Grind. The idea for the film came when they would visit riverboat casinos in Iowa. By this point in their career, Boden and Fleck had fully committed to each other, "In the early days of our partnership we had to navigate a lot of issues concerning trust and ego. Nowadays, those issues are almost entirely gone. Having a creative partner who you can wholly trust is a wonderful asset."[14]

In April 2017, Boden and Fleck were hired to direct the Marvel Studios film Captain Marvel.[15] They were previously considered to direct another Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy.[16] Producer Kevin Feige said of them, "We met with lots and lots of people... and Anna and Ryan just had an amazing way of talking about Carol Danvers and talking about her journey... We want filmmakers that can help us focus on and elevate the character journey so it doesn't get lost amongst the spectacle."[17] The film was released in March 2019, and became a box office success, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide. In May 2019, it was revealed they would direct the first two episodes and produce the television show Mrs. America starring Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly.[18] As of January 2020 Boden and Fleck were in talks to direct a Marvel Disney+ series.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Boden and Fleck formerly dated,[20] however, contrary to popular belief they are not a married couple (though multiple sources[21][22] continue to erroneously report it). Boden was pregnant at the time of Mississippi Grind's release.[23] Boden is Jewish.[24]



Year Film Director(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Editor(s) Notes
2006 Half Nelson Ryan Fleck Yes Anna Boden Anna Boden Anna Boden co-producer with Jamie Patricof, Alex Orlovsky, Lynette Howell and Rosanne Korenberg
2008 Sugar Yes Yes No Anna Boden Duo-directorial debut; Anna Boden credited as Executive Producer
2009 Children of Invention No No No Anna Boden
2010 It's Kind of a Funny Story Yes Yes No Anna Boden
2015 Mississippi Grind Yes Yes No Anna Boden
2019 Captain Marvel Yes Yes No No Co-written with Geneva Robertson-Dworet


Year Series Director Producer Notes
2009 In Treatment Ryan Fleck No 7 episodes
2011 The Big C Yes No 2 episodes
2014 30 for 30 Ryan Fleck Anna Boden Episode: "The Day the Series Stopped"
Anna Boden credited as Executive Producer
2014–2015 Looking Ryan Fleck No 3 episodes
The Affair Yes No 4 episodes
2016–2017 Billions Yes No 3 episodes
2017 Room 104 Yes No Episode: "Red Tent"
both wrote
2020 Mrs. America Yes Yes 4 episodes


  1. ^ a b March 6, Caroline John-Published; Am, 2019 at 10:14 (2019-03-06). "Are Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck Married?: Personal Life, Family, Children". Earn The Necklace. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  2. ^ People In Film: Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden|It's Kind of a Funny Story Archived 2015-03-02 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed April 4, 2018.
  3. ^ Brooklyn Filmmakers Take the Lead,; accessed April 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "Anna Boden '02 Wins with Half Nelson". Archived from the original on 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
  5. ^ Van Bergen, Jamie. "A Good Team". DGA. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Ross, Matthew. "25 NEW FACES OF INDIE FILM 2004". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  7. ^ Johnston, Sheila (June 23, 2007). "Filmmakers on film: Ryan Fleck". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  8. ^ Carnevale, Rob. "Half Nelson – Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden interview". IndieLondon. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  9. ^ Gent, A. "Half Nelson Q & A With Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden". IO Film. Archived from the original on 2007-05-27. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  10. ^ a b c Murray, Rebecca. "Exclusive Interview with Half Nelson Writer/Director Ryan Fleck". Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  11. ^ "Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, Sugar". The Reeler. 15 January 2008. Archived from the original on 3 October 2018. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  12. ^ Sciretta, Peter (November 30, 2009). "Ryan Fleck's It's Kind of a Funny Story Begins Production". /Film. Archived from the original on December 2, 2009. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  13. ^ Subers, Ray (May 19, 2010). "MPAA Ratings: 'Toy Story 3,' 'Grown Ups,' 'Sorcerer's Apprentice' & More". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 22, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2010.
  14. ^ Macaulay, Scott (January 24, 2015). "Five Questions for Writer/Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck about their Sundance Premiere, Mississippi Grind". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 19, 2017). "'Captain Marvel' Finds Directors in Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (August 18, 2012). "James Gunn in Talks to Direct Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  17. ^ David, Erik (April 20, 2017). "Exclusive: Kevin Feige on Why Marvel Chose Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden to Direct 'Captain Marvel'". Fandango. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  18. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 14, 2019). "Sarah Paulson, Uzo Aduba, Rose Byrne, James Marsden Join Cate Blanchett in FX Drama". Archived from the original on May 15, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  19. ^ Kit, Borys (January 22, 2020). "'Captain Marvel 2' in the Works With 'WandaVision' Writer (Exclusive)". Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  20. ^ A 'Funny Story' about two directors. The Los Angeles Times. 7 October 2010.
  21. ^ "Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck to Direct "Captain Marvel"".
  22. ^ Scott, A.O. (April 2, 2009). "Diamond in the Rough". New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  23. ^ Pritchard, Tiffany (January 25, 2015). "Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, Mississippi Grind". Screen Daily. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  24. ^ In Woodys footsteps: Indie filmmaker pushes her boundaries and finds success. The Jewish News of Norther California. 28 September 2012.

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