Thank you to Marvel Studios for hosting me and setting up this interview during the Ant-Man and The Wasp Event! All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
If you know anything about me, you know I am a total geek. When I found out that I would be interviewing Evangeline Lilly about Ant-Man and The Wasp I was thrilled. She was in some of my favorite geek culture media like Lost and The Hobbit and I have loved seeing her in action as The Wasp (seriously guys, she is so badass…). The second she walked in to the room, I knew this was going to be a great interview. She said “Oh my God. Women! I love it!“. She is all about girl power and women empowerment and I love her for it!
On Making Ant-Man The Side Kick
The Wasp takes center stage in this movie, even though Ant-Man is equally billed with her. Don’t get me wrong, Ant-Man kicked some ass too, and I loved watching him in this film, but The Wasp really brings it. When we brought this up to Evangeline, she quickly defended Paul, but also mentioned how much she loves seeing a strong female titled lead (for the first time!) in the MCU. “I didn’t lift a semi truck. That was Mister Rudd. Me and my team of incredible stunt women, the CGI crew, the directors – it was such a collaborative effort. We did the heavy lifting. With this film, I was like, ‘Come on, guys, give Ant Man a little more credit, he’s pretty bad-ass.'”
“But, it was really cool that they really wanted to honor this moment where a female superhero is being titled and billed. Marvel is just absolutely hell bent and passionate right now about representing women as fierce and capable and as equals to men. Is there equality? I think that having equal billing tells us that right now, in this movie, there is.”
Being A Super Hero
When talking with Michael Douglas he let us know that he could see the gleam in Evangeline’s eyes when she saw The Wasp suit at the end of Ant-Man. So we asked her what it felt like to finally suit up and be a super hero. “Amazing. I used to fantasize about being Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. I was obsessed with her. And partly because it’s Michelle Pfeiffer in a skin-tight leather costume, owning it, and being fierce as sh*t. But, also, because there wasn’t a lot to choose from. There just weren’t very many female superheroes. It was mostly male superheroes. Me and my sister would pretend to be Spider-Man or Batman or to be whoever else.”
“I had a moment recently where my seven-year old son was pretending to be The Wasp. I still get goose bumps when I tell that story. It chokes me up, because that’s a cultural shift. 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 Me Too and Times Up is saying -We know we’ve made some progress, and that’s great, but we’re still not equal, and 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.”
"She's perfect. 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. She's the hottest 60-something you're ever gonna meet." – @EvangelineLilly on #MichellePfeiffer#AntManAndTheWasp #AntManAndTheWaspEvent pic.twitter.com/uD1GyXlYZt
— Mama's Geeky – Tessa Smith (@MamasGeeky) June 29, 2018
Working with Michelle Pfeiffer
Since Evangeline mentioned being “obsessed” with Michelle Pfeiffer, we had to ask her what it was like to work with her. Her answer is just what I would have hoped. “If anyone in the world says that I can pass as her daughter, I’m going to kiss them forever. It was a dream to work with Michelle. 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. I want you to be perfect.’ And that’s impossible. Who can live up to that? Michelle can. She can. She’s perfect. 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. Playing her daughter was an incredible honor.”
She Loves Michael Douglas (Now)
Evangeline works a lot closer with Michael Douglas in this film than the first Ant-Man. Their characters have been on the run together for nearly two years now, bonding them even more-so as father and daughter. Evangeline let us know just how much she loves working with Michael. “I was so astounded by him in the first film. 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 or whatever I was, but I didn’t keep up with his career. I just knew he was a big movie star. 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 was like, ‘Oh. Whoa.’ He’s so good. He’s such a charismatic, present, powerful human being that 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.” I loved when she said changes the molecules of the room – because that totally seemed like an accidental Pym Particles reference!
OK, geek moment over. Sorry to interrupt. She then continued on, “So 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 like, super close 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. To get to have more screen time with Michael.”
Her Girl Crush
There have been many rumors of an all female Marvel movie, so of course, we had to ask Evangeline her thoughts on this. “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 because then maybe it’ll really happen. Marvel love their fans and really listen to them. But I have a girl crush on Okoye. I mean, come on. Danai [Gurira] herself is Okoye. She’s so fierce and strong and present and 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 [in the trench]. And [Black Widow] says, ‘But she’s not alone.’ Literally, in the theater at the premiere in my gown, I go, ‘F*ck yeah!’ I couldn’t help myself.” I am right there with her on that one. I was actually in the theater at the premiere and I remember this. It was such an incredible feeling!
Showcasing A Woman’s Strengths
The Wasp kicks some serious butt in this movie, and we see some of it in the trailers. One of my favorite scenes is when she is fighting in the van. She is fighting Ghost and some others, but I want to remain spoiler free here. The point is, she is amazing. We asked Evangeline a little bit about that scene and turns out, it is one of her favorites because it showcases how strong a woman can be because she is a woman, not in spite of being a woman.
“I love that you pointed out the van scene, because the restaurant scene is the one that everyone talks about, because it’s the big kind of spectacle fight in the movie. But what I like about the fact that you mentioned the van scene is the training. I actually spent way less time worrying about getting my body rock hard and developing visual muscles as 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 she was fighting, by incorporating grace and elegance and femininity into the fight. It’s ballet. No dude could do that, because men can’t move that way, because they don’t have the flexibility, agility or the petite-ness 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. And I’m gonna just add to that I can’t wait to see a feminine, male superhero. When are we going to see that? Because we’ve seen masculine, female superheroes.”
She Joined Marvel Because of Paul Rudd
Evangeline let us know that she almost did not take the role as Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp. This seems crazy to me only because I could not imagine anyone else acting in her place. She is the perfect Hope in my eyes. One of the deciding factors? Paul Rudd! “When I first got approached about Ant-Man, my manager said, ‘They’re interested in you for this role. Would you be interested?’ It 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 was like, ‘Hear me out, hear me out, 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! Whatever they’re doing, it’s ridiculous, and I love it.’ It wasn’t as simple as that but it definitely was the thing that had me like, ‘Okay. I gotta go see what Marvel is doing’.”
“I started watching Marvel movies, I read the script, and I got engaged because I was a huge Paul Rudd fan. He’s so loveable. I really mean this because he’s just so freaking talented, but my favorite thing about working with Paul is watching the movie. I watch it and I fall in love with him all over again. I love the movie because I love Paul. Ant-Man, when Darren shot ANTony, and totally charming and incredible Paul Rudd goes, ‘Oh. You’re gonna pay for that.’ I was like, ‘I love him.’”
Being Broken Down
Evangeline kind of stumbled into acting. She let us know that it was something she really wasn’t interested in because she thought she was only being scouted for her looks. “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. I got A’s. I was on the student council, and on the soccer team, and in the plays – my thing was over-achievement. 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. And I decided that I needed to just not stand out. Don’t be super smart. Don’t be talented. Don’t stand out, because if you do, you’re just gonna get hurt. I spent like, five years dumbing myself down and trying to pretend to be a wallflower when clearly I’m not a wallflower. And that built up into a lot of pain.”
Finding Her Light
“I had been scouted on multiple occasions but I had turned down the opportunity, saying, ‘I’m more than just this. That’s not me.’ And 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.” At this point in her story I was doing all I could to hold back the tears. It really hit me in the feels, especially because I have two young daughters who I want to embrace their talents, not burry them for fear of negative attention.
“And when I did, I realized how much I had been hiding, and how much I had been trying not to shine, and I decided that I would start just letting my light shine. Just 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 exercise my brightness. I wanted to be bold and bright. And I’d never really thought about the fact that auditions can lead to jobs. That hadn’t factored in. I went out for my first audition in January or February of 2004, and in March of 2004, I was in Hawaii, shooting Lost. It just happened. I literally knew nothing about the business. I was thinking about expressing myself.”
Words that Changed Her Life
“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 one word that was spoken into my life, ‘I think you’re afraid of this thing inside of you that feels big.’ And I’m still always trying to tell myself, ‘It’s okay to be big. It’s okay. You can go ahead and be big,’ And in this case, I get to be teeny.”
- Read my (spoiler free) review!
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- Cast Reactions to the Ant-Man And The Wasp Mid-Credit Scene (SPOILERS!!)
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About Ant-Man and The Wasp
Scott Lang is grappling with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father. Approached by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym, Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds itself in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.
Ant-Man and The Wasp hits theaters July 6th!
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