Sometimes when you meet someone you look up to it can be a big let down. Other times you are blown away by their sincerity, thoughtfulness, and kindness. The latter was the case when Evangeline Lilly sat down for an interview about Ant-Man and The Wasp. Not only was she sweet to us during the interview, but we learned she was excited to talk with us even before it began. She wanted to speak to our group and even requested more time than our usual allotment. My daughter says that makes The Wasp my new best friend and I think I’ll agree with her. I would hangout with Evangeline anytime! She is awesome both onscreen and off.
I was invited by Disney and Marvel to attend the Ant-Man and The Wasp press trip. All opinions are my own.
Hope is kicking ass and taking names in Ant-Man and The Wasp. She is one of my 5 reasons why this will be your new favorite Marvel movie. How was it working as a team and carrying a lot of the weight in the action sequences?
Well, I didn’t lift a semi truck. (Laughs) That was Mister Rudd. And, actually, me and my team of incredible stunt women, the CGI crew, the directors, it was such a collaborative effort. We did the heavy lifting. This film, I was like, “Come on, guys, give Ant-Man a little more credit, he’s pretty badass.” But, it was really cool, that they really wanted to honor this moment where a female superhero is being titled and billed. I think Marvel is just absolutely hell bent and passionate right now about representing women as fierce and capable and as equals to men.
And I think that’s the most important thing is there equality to the message? And I think that having equal billing tells us that right now, in this movie, there is.
At the end of Ant-Man, Hank reveals a prototype Wasp suit giving us all goosebumps that Hope would take her mother’s place as The Wasp in the sequel. What was it like putting on the suit and becoming a superhero?
I used to fantasize about being Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. I was like (Gasps) I was obsessed with her. And partly because it’s Michelle Pfeiffer in a skin-tight leather costume, owning it, and being fierce as shit. But, also, I think it was because there wasn’t a lot to choose from, you know. There just weren’t very many female superheroes. It was mostly male superheroes.
Who wasn’t obsessed with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman?! I dressed up as her for Halloween 2x!
Me and my sisters would sometimes be pretending to be Spider-Man or to be Batman. I had a moment recently where my seven-year old son was pretending to be The Wasp. (Awww and cheering) And I still get goose bumps when I tell that story. It chokes me up, because that’s a cultural shift. It’s a big deal for a little boy to pretend to be a female superhero, this is no small thing.
Sometimes, I think we’re making a mountain of a molehill, because there have been female superheroes in the MCU the whole time, and they’re amazing, and they’re strong, and kickass, and all of those things. But I think what this moment in our culture, with #MeToo and #TimesUp is saying is we know we’ve made some progress, and that’s great, but we’re still not equal. That’s clear by the fact that you’ve made 20 movies, and never had a female in the title. So, this is a big moment, and it is a big deal, and I don’t want to downplay it.
I want to celebrate it and be excited about it.
Being a fan of Michelle Pfeiffer made working with her a dream come true for Evangeline. It would be one for me too. Again, Catwoman! I’m freaking out for her!
It was a dream, to work with Michelle. Because the weird thing is that you can be obsessed with someone on the screen, and then you meet them, and they just destroy it for you. And you’re just like, “I wish I’d never met you.” (Laughter)
I’m like, “I want you to be perfect, you know?” And that’s impossible. Who can live up to that? Michelle can. She can. She’s perfect, like, there’s no flaws. She’s nice. She’s generous. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s intelligent. She’s considerate. She’s talented, and of course, she is the hottest sixty-something or however old she is you’re ever gonna meet. And so playing her daughter was an incredible honor, and also, I had to just bite my tongue, ’cause every day, I wanted to just be like, “Can you be my mentor?” (Laughs)
Evangeline also shared what it is like working with and getting to know Michael Douglas.
I was so astounded by him in the first film, because I was the opposite with him. I was kind of ignorant to him. Like I watched him in Romancing the Stone, and was like, “Cool. Great romance. He’s cute.” I was eight, y’know, or whatever I was, but I didn’t keep up with his career. I just knew he was a big movie star. But I wasn’t a fan of Michael Douglas like somebody who’d watched all of his movies, and knew his work.
So, when I took the job, I was like, “Great, Michael Douglas, big name, gonna help the film. It’s gonna help our numbers.” And then I started working with him and “Oh. Whoa.” He’s so good. He’s such a charismatic, present, powerful human being. When he starts to perform, he just changes the molecules of the room. You’re suddenly transported to the place you’re pretending to be.
When I read the script for the second film, and I found out that I was going to get an enormous amount of work with him, and that we would be super close, super tactile, and loving and we were partners after the really difficult journey that we went through in the first film- that was the thing that I was the most excited about was to get to have more screen time with Michael.
There have been rumors for awhile now that an all-female superhero movie is coming to the MCU. I know I want it so badly I can storyboard the whole thing, if you need help Marvel I’m here, just saying. Turns out I’m not the only one pining away to see all the ladies onscreen together.
Here’s the thing. I want all of the women in the MCU in a movie together. All of that’s just rumor and gossip. None of that comes from a real place, but I’m just gonna keep perpetuating the rumor, (Laughs) because then maybe it’ll really happen.
But I have a girl crush on Okoye. I mean, come on. Danai herself is Okoye. She’s so fierce, strong, present, convicted, and talented. She’s my queen. I would love to see the Wasp and Okoye kick some ass together.
When I went to the Avengers premiere, you could not shut me up. At one point when Scarlet Witch was trapped alone. And Black Widow says, “But she’s not alone.” Literally, in the theater at the premiere in my gown, I go, “F*ck yeah!” (Laughter)
Same girl, same.
I LOVE Marvel fight scenes. They seem to go above and beyond to choreograph something that will just blow your mind each time you watch it. In Ant-Man and The Wasp, my favorite fight was the van scene. Hope swings out of the back window, through the front window and those guys never had a chance. Each hero has their own unique fighting techniques. The Wasp proves it isn’t about big muscles or rock hard abs, it’s about agility and playing to your body’s strengths.
I actually spent way less time worrying about getting my body rock hard and developing visual muscles than I spent in front of a mirror with my stunt doubles, making sure that we didn’t just take a dude, and put him in a woman’s body. I didn’t want to send the message that in order to be powerful and strong and capable and tough, you have to be masculine, and macho, and a dude.
I wanted to show that we are strong because of our femininity, not in spite of it. I wanted to show that, when Hope was Hope, and she was emotional and vulnerable and smiling and pleasant and happy and not just a badass bitch. I wanted to show that when she was fighting, by incorporating grace and elegance and femininity into the fight.
It’s ballet. No dude could do that, ’cause men can’t move that way. They don’t have the flexibility, agility, or the petiteness to come out a back window and in a front window. They just couldn’t. Let’s examine how a woman could have an advantage over a man, physically, because she’s a woman. Not because she figured out how to move like a man. And that was something that I was really passionate about.
I’m gonna just add to that I can’t wait to see a feminine, male superhero. When are we going to see that?
Then Evangeline talked about the most relatable thing ever: agreeing to read for a movie because Paul Rudd would be the lead. We all laughed because who wouldn’t want to be in a movie with Paul Rudd. It’s Paul Rudd.
When I first got approached about Ant-Man in the first place, my manager said, “Hey. They’re interested in you for this role. Would you be interested?” I was like “No, I don’t really want to do a superhero movie. That doesn’t appeal to me.” Because I didn’t like superhero movies, because I’d never really seen Marvel’s superhero movies. He said, “Wait, wait, wait, wait. Hear me out they’re gonna cast Paul Rudd in the lead.”
And I was like, “Hold the phone, wait, what? Paul Rudd’s gonna be a superhero? I’m in!” (Laughter) “Whatever they’re doing, it’s ridiculous, and I love it.” And it wasn’t as simple as that. But it definitely was the thing that had going “Okay. I gotta go see what Marvel is doing.” I started watching Marvel movies, I read the script, I got engaged, and because I was a huge Paul Rudd fan.
I mean, nobody in this room is not a Paul Rudd fan. (Laughs) Everybody loves Paul Rudd. He’s so loveable, and this is gonna sound maybe like I’m not giving him enough credit, but I really mean this ’cause he’s just so freaking talented. My favorite thing about working with Paul is watching the movie. Because I watch it and I fall in love with him all over again. I love the movie, because I love Paul, and I in a movie, therefore, that I love.
In Ant-Man, when Darren shot Ant-thony, and totally charming and incredible Paul Rudd goes, “Oh. You’re gonna pay for that.” I was like, “I love him.” I love him. (Laughter)
Did you know Evangeline Lily got into acting by accident? If you’re thinking how is that even possible, she shared the shorter version of what happened with us.
One day, I have to write a book about how you accidentally become a movie star. (Laughs) But it’s true. It was kind of an accident. But basically, you know how when you hit puberty in high school?
And before I hit puberty, I used to be called Brainiac. That was sort of my identity. I had freckles. I had buck teeth. I was scrawny. I had a totally flat chest, and I got As, I was on the student council, and on the soccer team, and in the plays. My thing was overachievement. My thing was not looking great. (Laughs) My thing was I have abilities, and I have intelligence.
And then I hit puberty and all of a sudden, my entire identity, according to the rest of the world was wrapped up in what I looked like. I had all kinds of boys touch me in ways I didn’t want to be touched, and I had all kinds of girls hate me in ways that I didn’t want to be hated. I decided that I needed to not stand out. Just don’t be super smart. Don’t be talented. Don’t stand out, ’cause if you do, you’re just gonna get hurt.
So I spent five years kind of dumbing myself down and trying to pretend to be a wallflower. When clearly I’m not a wallflower. (Laughs) That built up into a lot of pain. At one point, I had been scouted on multiple occasions.
Then I had somebody very astutely say to me, “What are you afraid of?” I’m like, “I’m not afraid of anything. I just don’t want to be defined by being a pretty face, and that’s why they want me on camera.” And this person said, “I think you’re afraid of your own greatness.” And I erupted into heaving sobs, and I couldn’t stop crying, and something had broken open in me that I didn’t even realize that I had been doing, and I had to examine what that pain was. When I did, I realized how much I had been hiding, and how much I had been trying not to shine. I decided that I would start just letting my light shine, and being unabashed about who I was in the world.
One of the ways I thought I could do that was taking up an agent on their desire to put me in auditions. I wanted to just exercise my brightness. I just wanted to be bold and bright. I’d never really thought about the fact that auditions can lead to jobs. That hadn’t factored in. It was just “I’m just gonna go out and just shine!”
I went out for my first audition in January or February of 2004, and in March of 2004, I was in Hawaii, shooting Lost. I think it was my fifth audition. It just happened.
When I got a job, it was sort of “Oh, shit, okay. I guess this is what I’m doing now.” And I had been in university studying international relations and political science. I wanted to be a humanitarian or a diplomat or an ambassador. It was a total 180 for me, and therefore it was really hard, I really didn’t like it for a long time.
But eventually I came to terms with that, that one word, that was spoken into my life, of, “I think you’re afraid of this thing inside of you that feels big.” I’m still always trying to tell myself, “It’s okay to be big. It’s okay. You can go ahead and be big.” (Laughs) And in this case, I get to be teeny. (Laughter)
After dealing with bullies this year with my daughter I couldn’t want to share with her what Evangeline had said about her own experiences. I tell my girl never let anyone dull your shine and now I will add don’t be afraid of being big. I think that is wisdom all of us need to hear and take to heart.
See Evangeline kick *ss as The Wasp when Ant-Man and The Wasp hits theaters everywhere July 6th 2018! Tickets are on sale now!
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