Destin Daniel Cretton
Destin Daniel Cretton
|Alma mater||Point Loma Nazarene University|
San Diego State University
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, producer, editor|
Destin Daniel Cretton is an American filmmaker. He is best known for his films Short Term 12 (2013), The Glass Castle (2017), Just Mercy (2019) and the Marvel Studios film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021). He has also been tapped to direct Marvel Studios' Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (2025).
Cretton was born in 1978 in Haiku, Hawaii on the island of Maui. He is of half-Japanese descent. He was home-schooled by his Christian mother. His sister Joy is a costume designer who has worked on several of Destin's projects. He lived in Haiku in a two-bedroom house with his five siblings, until he was 19 years old. He moved to San Diego, California to attend Point Loma Nazarene University, where he majored in communications. After graduating, Cretton worked for two years as a staff person at a group home for at-risk teenagers.
While at San Diego State University, Cretton made a 22-minute short film, Short Term 12, based on his experiences at the facility for teenagers. The short film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking.
After graduating from film school, Cretton made his feature directorial debut with the 90 minute film, I Am Not a Hipster, which premiered at Sundance on January 20, 2012. The film was produced by Ron Najor, who would later go on to produce the feature adaptation of Short Term 12 alongside Maren Olson, Asher Goldstein, and Joshua Astrachan. Cretton's feature-length screenplay won one of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' five Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting in 2010.
The film premiered on March 10, 2013, at South by Southwest, where it won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for a Narrative Feature. Widely acclaimed as one of the best films of 2013, it was listed on many film critics' annual top ten lists. The film earned several accolades, including three Independent Spirit Award nominations.
In 2014, Cretton was attached to rewrite the script and direct The Glass Castle, an adaptation of Jeannette Walls' 2005 best-selling memoir of the same name about a successful young woman raised by severely dysfunctional parents. Starring Brie Larson, the film also features Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts as her alcoholic father and eccentric mother, respectively. Larson's role was originally considered by Jennifer Lawrence, but she dropped out while the studio was seeking the male lead. The film was released on August 10, 2017. It received mixed reviews from critics; they praised the performances of its cast (particularly Larson and Harrelson) but criticized the emotional tones and adaptation of the source material.
In 2016, it was announced that Ryan Coogler had teamed up with Cretton and poet/playwright Chinaka Hodge to develop Minors, a television drama series produced by Charles D. King. Drawing from Cretton's experiences working in residential foster care, Hodge's background teaching under-served youth in San Francisco Bay area continuation schools and Coogler's upbringing in the East Bay, Minors promises to take an unflinching look at institutionalization, exploring juvenile facilities and the children who grow up in that system. The series will show how that system shapes young people over a one-year period. Hodge will write the series, and Coogler and Cretton will direct.
Cretton subsequently teamed with Larson and Michael B. Jordan for Just Mercy, a drama film based on civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson's New York Times bestselling memoir: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, where he provided defense counsel to men on death row. The plot follows Stevenson (Jordan) as he explores the case of a death row prisoner, Walter McMillian, whom he fought to free. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2019, and was theatrically released on December 25, 2019, by Warner Bros. Pictures. Just Mercy was critically acclaimed.
In March 2019, Cretton was hired by Marvel Studios to direct a film based on Shang-Chi. Both the film and Cretton's involvement were confirmed during the San Diego Comic-Con 2019, with the film being titled Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film, which is Marvel's first superhero movie tentpole franchise with an Asian protagonist, stars Simu Liu as the title character, with Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Awkwafina co-starring. On January 5, 2020, Cretton said that he signed up to the project because he wanted "to give [his] son a superhero to look up to". The film was set to be released on February 12, 2021, but was delayed to May 7 and later July 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Shang-Chi's production in Australia was temporarily suspended while Cretton self-isolated. Production was halted on March 12, 2020, and resumed in August 2020 and concluded in October 2020. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was released in theaters on September 3, 2021. In December 2021, Cretton signed a deal with Marvel Studios and Hulu's Onyx Collective to develop a Shang-Chi sequel and new Disney+ MCU series. In July 2022, Cretton was confirmed as the director of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty for Marvel Studios.
|2012||I Am Not a Hipster||Yes||Yes||Yes||Also editor|
|2013||Short Term 12||Yes||Yes||No|
|2017||The Glass Castle||Yes||Yes||No|
|2021||Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings||Yes||Yes||No|
|2025||Shang-Chi and the Wreckage of Time||Yes||Yes||No|
|2025||Avengers: The Kang Dynasty||Yes||No||No|
|TBA||American Born Chinese||Yes||No||Executive|
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- Welk, Brian (April 3, 2020). "'Black Widow' Moves to November as Other MCU Films Shift Back to 2021, 2022". The Wrap.
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- D'Alessandro, Anthony; Andreeva, Nellie; Kroll, Justin (December 6, 2021). "Destin Daniel Cretton Inks Overall Deal With Marvel Studios & Hulu's Onyx Collective; Set For Disney+ MCU Series & 'Shang-Chi' Sequel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
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