Kari Skogland on the set of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
As a director, Kari Skogland has rarely visited the same genre twice.
"I've always had an eclectic sensibility," she says. "I'm trying to reinvent myself with every project."
Since coming to the States from her native Canada, Skogland has directed — and occasionally also produced — shows as diverse as Boardwalk Empire, The Borgias, Under the Dome, Vikings, Penny Dreadful, House of Cards, The Walking Dead, NOS4A2 and The Handmaid's Tale, for which she was Emmy-nominated in 2018.
In her latest reinvention, she's helping expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the new Disney+ series that stars two previously under-explored characters (played by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan) from the Captain America and Avengers movies.
The scale and ambition of Marvel Studios' production and house style meant the project would be vast, and even before she signed on, Skogland was enough of a fan to grasp the scope. Still, she wasn't fully versed in the MCU and all its lore. "As a neophyte coming in, it's like drinking water from a fire hose," she says.
But her broad experience has given her a hefty toolkit of abilities, and she was well prepared.
"I have this eclectic box of skills that I have drawn from every project with its unique difficulties, strengths and demands," Skogland says. She was able to use those skills not just as a director but as an executive producer, which gave her a voice in high-level conversations about the series' direction.
The show also afforded a new opportunity: the chance to direct a whole season (in this case, six episodes). She welcomed the change of pace. "When you go episodically, it's very hard to see the big picture because you simply don't have access to all the parts." Being able to direct all of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, she says, "meant that I had a handle on the whole."
She continues to relish that break, as well as the chance to play in Marvel's sandbox. "I am pinching myself every morning when I wake up," Skogland says.
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 2, 2021