Alexis Auditore (CDM ’05) kept watch over Captain America’s shield, Thor’s hammer and Iron Man’s armor for nine years. She took her duties seriously, but didn’t share the awestruck adoration of other mortals when they saw her lugging around these iconic tools of the Avengers’ trade.
“People come up and gush, ‘Oh my God, it’s the hammer! It’s the shield!’ And I’m like, ‘So? Cool, whatever.’ You really need somebody who’s not a comic book-crazy Marvel fan to do that job.”
That job was manager of physical production at Marvel Studios. Auditore is now Marvel’s director of physical production for its upcoming, original series on the new Disney Plus streaming service. Her current role is similar, minus the warehousing and transport of heroic props, costumes and set pieces.
“Physical production is the nuts and bolts of filmmaking,” explains Auditore. “We figure out the budget and schedule, hire the key crew and department heads, find locations and deal with logistical things like insurance, travel, Writer’s Guild signatories, accounting staff. The creative producers say, ‘This is what we want to do,’ and we figure out a way to make it happen.”
It’s an epic undertaking considering the blockbusters Auditore has helped assemble, which include “Black Panther,” “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers: Endgame,” the highest-grossing film of all time. Auditore’s voyage to Marvel’s cinematic universe began during her undergraduate years at DePaul. Initially, she studied journalism, a concession to her father, who considered it a more viable career.
“I wrote for the The DePaulia, and I was a DJ at the radio station,” recalls Auditore. “But I’d wanted to be in film since I was a kid, so I was also taking as many film classes as the Communications Department offered.”
After DePaul began offering BA and BS programs in digital cinema in 2003, Auditore changed her major during her junior year and gorged on classes to become part of the program’s first graduating class. “It was like a crash course of everything film: editing, cinematography, screenwriting, producing,” says Auditore.
Auditore grew up in California and came to Chicago in her late teens when her father remarried and moved to the city. After graduation, she returned to her home state, earning a graduate degree in film production at Chapman University in Orange County. After two internships, Auditore was hired as an executive assistant in physical production at Mandate Pictures before industry connections led her to Marvel.
While safeguarding Marvel’s physical assets—a critical role for a studio repurposing them in sequels—Auditore also curated their display at museums, comic conventions and film premieres around the world. Among her favorites was the Doctor Strange costume designed by Alexandra Byrne. “You only appreciate its insane level of detail when you’re standing in front of it,” says Auditore.
Auditore, a detail-focused expert herself, now dedicates her logistical skills to Falcon, Bucky Barnes, Loki and Hawkeye, the superhero stars of Marvel’s next batch of streaming TV shows. She’s excited about her flight path across the Marvel Universe and into the big-bang world of streaming content. “There’s no limit to it,” says Auditore.