When Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel debuts in March, it will introduce fans of the MCU to Carol Danvers and tell the story of how an Air Force pilot became on of the galaxy’s most powerful heroes, setting the stage for her to appear in May’s Untitled Avengers film.
Academy Award winning actress Brie Larson, who was announced in the role of Danvers at SDCC ‘16, will headline Marvel Studios first female-led film which is set to take place in the 1990s. A Kree-human hybrid, Larson’s Danvers will bring a previously unseen power set to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After being involved in an accident, Danvers became capable of absorbing and projecting energy, gained superhuman strength and the ability to fly. While her human heritage remained a mystery, Danvers joined the ranks of the elite Kree Starforce and fought with them against their longtime enemies, the Skrulls. That war will bring her back to Earth where her past and her present will collide and set her on a path to find out who she truly is.
Larson sat down with Screen Rant to talk about the training involved to prepare for the role, how she brought Danvers (who she calls the most dynamic character she’s every played) to life, the importance of the character’s onscreen friendship with Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau and much more.
Hey Brie, Sam showed us these crazy videos of you doing like-
Brie Larson: Oh my gosh. He showed those to you too?
It's his favorite thing.
Brie Larson: I can't believe it. I feel like I'm close to 100 people that have come up to me and been like, "I saw this video that you sent Sam." It's so embarrassing. I sent that to him in private. He actually showed the person that was next to him on a plane too. Which I found out later. "Oh, I sat next to Sam who you sent that video and he showed it to me." I was like, "Why?" I know, I know. He knows it was ... I came from humble beginnings.
It wasn't for you to push a Jeep down the hill.
Brie Larson: It was a joke. It was a joke with the trainer, with my trainer, Jason Walsh, that I wanted to be able to ... we were joking about it, that like, "Well, if I'm gonna go for it," because I spent nine months training with him ahead of time, and I was getting super strong. And I was like, "Well, she can move planets, the least I could do is move a car."
And so I thought it was gonna be, I'm trying to remember how long we had trained together for. Maybe five or six months at that point? And I just showed up in the gym one day and he was like, "All right, let's do it." And I pushed the car, yeah. And it wasn't has hard as I thought, which was kind of crazy. There was someone in the front seat in case for some reason, the car's in neutral, but it's going uphill. And I pushed it for a minute. Someone was in the car in case I like, crapped out, so it wouldn't run me over. There was someone waiting there to put their foot on the brake.
And the driver makes it harder.
Brie Larson: It does? Oh, because there was ... oh, it's more weight. I didn't get that. Totally didn't think about that. It's safe, don't try it at home. Really don't. It's really probably not a safe thing to do, but it felt super satisfying, and I felt really crazy afterwards. Because when you do stuff like that, I had never lifted weights, or done things until this movie like that. So you get these crazy highs, and then you're just kind of collapse onto the floor.
Is there a particular sequence or something that required such training? Or is it just a personal goal of yours?
Brie Larson: No, it really all came out of ignorance, to be honest. I didn't realize that you don't actually do your own, most people don't do their own stunts in these movies. I thought you did, and I've never been a particularly elegant or athletic person. I'm just an introvert with asthma, and felt like I needed to be able to do that. I just thought, "I don't wanna be on set, and they ask me to do things, and I don't know how to do it."
So I started training as soon as I could, which was right after I wrapped, so it basically started right as I wrapped picture, I locked picture on the film that I directed. I then went into that, which then turned into nine months of training. And nine months of just training-training, and three months of stunt training with the stunt team. We spent two hours every day, five days a week.
And it wasn't until ... everyone just went along with it, and was like, "Cool." It wasn't until we started shooting, and I started doing all my own wire work stunts, and flips and stuff that people were like, "You know nobody, now we'll tell you, nobody actually does this. We just didn't want you to stop. But now that you've kind of accomplished this thing, we don't normally do this." And I was like, huh?
But I love it. I mean it definitely makes things more complicated in certain ways, because I could be taking a lot more naps than I am. I could just be like, "Renee and Joanna got it, I'm gonna go eat some cake." But instead it's really become a huge part of how I learned more about her, and became her, and embodied her was through that, was through discovering my own strength. Pretty amazing thing.
Can you tell us a little bit about the personality? Especially in this scene, because she was being a little sassy, maybe she has a little bit of an ego to her. Is that how you look at it?
Brie Larson: I mean, I think she has an ego, but in a healthy way. She doesn't have an unrealistic expectation of herself, she just owns that she's really good and really skilled. Which feels good to play. She also has an incredible sense of humor, makes fun of herself, makes fun of other people. Has no issue if someone makes fun of her.
So I will say that this character is probably the most dynamic character that I've ever played, there's the most range. As of now, and we'll see what the movie is, but as of now it's been the most range I've ever played in a character. From I've had to go through every emotion possible with her. And a lot of this movie, although it has great comedy in it, there's also real depth to it and emotion. So I think that the film will have a lot. Which for me, that's what I want. I wanna see complicated female characters. I wanna see myself, which is not a simple person. I surprise myself constantly by what's happening and what's coming up. So hopefully that's what comes out on screen.
How has the part challenged you as an actress? Are there things where you found yourself, "Oh, this is really testing my limits."?
Brie Larson: Well, the general answer is just getting through a movie like this is a real challenge of everything. Of mind, body, and spirit. Because it's a long one. And because I added in the physical side to it, it's like doing a triathlon or something. So there are some days [Loud background noise] I hate that. There are some days where I'm doing a fight sequence ... do a fight sequence for three days, and then at the end of the third day, after I've been punching and kicking, then it's like, "Okay, now we're gonna do this one piece where you're crying, and it's emotional," and you're like, whoa. So it feels like [Loud background noise] And it moves so fast, and there's so much that at a certain point you have to sort of trust your instincts, and that's [Loud background noise]. It's been happening.
That last one, putting the drill down.
Brie Larson: Thank you.
Has it developed to be the lead character, the first female led Marvel movie?
Brie Larson: I don't know. I don't know how it's any different. To be honest, I don't want it to feel different. Kind of over the, "First female blah blah blah," and "Wow, maybe women can actually do the same things that dudes can do." What a crazy concept. I feel like the more we talk about it, the more we perpetuate the myth that it's an impossible task. No, if it wasn't like that before, it's because it was wrong. That was just wrong. Now we're just doing what's natural.
What we saw today, it looks like you're grabbing something at your neck. Is there something to that, or is that just have an itch?
Brie Larson: I just had an itch. It's, yeah. Yeah.
It's itchy in there.
Brie Larson: It's very itchy, yeah, the costume's very, very itchy.
I think you're totally right about women just doing stuff, when actually they've been doing it, especially in Hollywood for hundreds of years. What do you want the female audience to come away with? Rather than have that, is there anything in particular you were excited to see?
Brie Larson: No. It doesn't matter what I make, I feel really firmly that art is made to be enjoyed and interpreted, and you get what you need out of it. My favorite books I've read multiple times in my life, and they mean something totally different to me every time I read them. Art isn't made to be processed and labeled and organized in the way that we do it now. I even have a hard time with the idea of genre, and that we place value based off of, "Well, it's really good for a this kind of movie." What's that even mean? I don't understand.
It'll be what it is, and I think there's gonna be lot there for people to digest and feel. And hopefully it'll be the movie that you wanna revisit again and again, and as life goes on, it'll have more to it. I just wanna make art that lasts. I wanna make art that you grow with. That's all.
We heard that Kelly Sue DeConnick is consulting on the movie, which is really exciting.
Brie Larson: Yeah.
And you've, I'm assuming, talked to her. Could you share maybe some advice, or stories, or just how she's helped you get into Carol a little better?
Brie Larson: Oh gosh. I have to admit that talking with her was so surreal. I feel like I just blacked out. I felt really nervous, because it's this thing that, this woman that she created, that I feel very certain she knows way better than I do.
I just was so honored to receive her blessing, and to see how excited she was. And that felt like a relief to me. Because she pushed this forward, you know? We wouldn't be here without her, really. And I'm so grateful for that character that she created, and now we're just kind of following the breadcrumb trail that she made, you know?
Can you talk to us about the relationship between Carol and Maria, and how Monica might view Carol?
And how what?
Monica might view Carol.
Brie Larson: How Monica might view Carol. Did you hear that question? Is this okay to answer?
If she can talk about the relationship between Carol and Maria, and how Monica might view Carol.
I mean, you can talk about Maria, that relationship. As far as that, but I think we need to stop that that.
Brie Larson: Okay, okay. We're all learning what we can talk about.
I think the Maria dynamic is really important in this movie. She is the representation of love in this film. And it is something that I'm very proud of, that the love relationship, and it is a deep love relationship, is not by the same lustful definition that we usually attribute to movies of this size. That it's more complex, and also I think more meaningful than most love relationships that I see in films like this.
And Maria as a character is an incredible badass in her own way. And they are equals, and I think seeing two women that have a playful competitiveness while also mutual respect and care, and have gone through so much together, there's a lot of history, and are just best friends is something that I'm excited to see. Because uncomplicated sort of female friendships are sort of rare to see. I have a lot of them in my life, so to be able to bring that on screen with someone who's just so crazy talented, and smart, and beautiful, and wonderful, and is doing her own part to make sure that there are revolutions in a movie that are her own, that she's creating, is just awesome.
Guys, we have time for one last question.
You were talking about how you're tired of everyone talking about, okay, this is the first female movie, etc., etc., but then this year we had Black Panther, which was huge. And we all knew what the money would make, but then there was the other side where it was like, "Oh, it's gonna make this amount of money." So are you excited or ready for the reaction that Captain Marvel's gonna get?
Brie Larson: I'm not ready. [Laughs] I hope I'm not ready.
Brie Larson: Because I wanna be, if it is something, then I wanna be surprised, and I don't wanna have expectation, because I'm not in it for that. I didn't make this movie for any of those things, so that I could attach a numerical value to it.
But just the inspiration that comes with it.
Brie Larson: Even that is not up to me, you know? You don't get to decide if you're an inspiration to people or not. And the idea of ... I've had, since I've agreed to do this role, people have said, "Oh, well you'll be a role model, blah blah blah." I'm just gonna do what feels true to me, and if people wanna tag along, they can, and if they don't, they can bounce, and that's cool. I'm not gonna go out of my way to do things in order to be something to people.
All of my heroes were just unapologetically themselves. And they were flawed at times, and that's okay. So for me, it's part of who Carol is too. She's flawed. She's not perfect. So in order for me ... in order for me to feel comfortable stepping into this position, I have to accept my humanness, and remind everybody that I'm a human, and I’m an artist. And I just wanna make art, and that's really it.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019