Ben Mendelsohn is an entertainer. The only certainty of having a conversation with him is that it’s going to go to some fun places. Mendelsohn has been in a bad guy groove lately with turns as a baddie in Rogue One, Ready Player One and Robin Hood. He’s at it again in Captain Marvel as the Skrull spy Talos.
While the details of Talos’ plans remain hidden, we know that they’ve come to Earth and have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. with Mendelsohn working undercover and in charge of Nick Fury. In addition to all that, his people are in the midst of a decades long war with the Kree empire, a group he has particularly strong feelings about.
Mendelsohn sat down with Screen Rant and took us all over the map discussing how he came to work on the film, why Skrull’s have an Australian accent and, most memorably, about Skrullin’.
What's this process? How long does this take?
Ben Mendelsohn: It takes a couple of hours. It's not too exorbitant.
What's your character's name? What's their role in the movie?
Ben Mendelsohn: I'm Talos. I'm the battle commander of the Skrulls. I take it most of you know who Skrulls are? We kind of rule the s***. Most of the rest of the Marvel comic universe are punks basically. And I guess to quote Snoop Dogg, we are the shiznit. We stand above. I mean, look, we can be anyone, and we're stronger than the rest of them. Basically that's it. Yeah, we're maligned, we're misunderstood. But, you know, we're Skrulls. We're Skrullin. Any other questions?
What are the Skrulls out for?
Ben Mendelsohn: What are they out for? What is their raison d'etre? Oh, you know, like most people, they just want a place to call their own, and just be able to chill. But these other types getting in the way all the time, messing with us...
Were there any specific comic runs you read to sort of understand more about the Skrulls?
Ben Mendelsohn: Without wanting to get to meta with the whole sort of marvel publicity thing, they do have a really good app, so you can hop on to any of them. I started at the start because I wanted to see us when we were scummy little amphibious tadpoles scum, and see how we rose and became reimagined until this point where I could stand at the zenith of Skrull creation. We have a peek at this, and we have a peek at that, but I can't tell you that without showing you my petticoat, and I don't want to show you the petticoat I'm still shy.
Has your character been deeply embedded in disguise for quite a while? Or...?
Ben Mendelsohn: He's quite active, so he has to switch in and out of some various stuff. So, you know, I'm going to assume we're going to see Talos do his thing. And look, the thing about Skrulls and changing shapes, and I can say this with some authority. Physiologically any Skrull can change shape. It takes practice, and, dare I say it, talent to do it well. He's a battle commander because he does it well.
Have you seen the visuals of the actual transition? Do you know exactly the process?
Ben Mendelsohn: No. I've participated in the transition, but I haven't seen what they'll end up doing with it. I think it will be pretty funky, but no, I'm not privy to that. I just have to stand on the...
How does your character change when you go from human form to full Skrull?
Ben Mendelsohn: Well, I think picking up on that point, I don't quite know yet how that will manifest.
I mean like personality-wise, how does he act?
Ben Mendelsohn: See, the thing about him is, we know basically who you are for the last x amount of time, right? So you want to think it's a pretty good carbon copy of what's going on with 'Haha human, I got you' behind this. You might think of it like a chameleon, trapdoor spider, or just one of those spiders that just hangs there looking useless, but it doesn't look like spider, you know what I mean? But it knows you're coming; you're coming closer. I'm very gentle, and very meek. That kind of vibe.
Does he have a specific relationship with Carol?
Ben Mendelsohn: Well, they're in the same movie.
How do you feel about Thanos stealing your chin?
Ben Mendelsohn: Look, I was very upset with that. Basically I consider Thanos to be a punk. I mean clearly he's looked at us Skrulls, and he's been like, 'You know what, I want to look more like that.' Like that whole chin thing? Yeah, totally bit my style with the chin. He's going for the blue hues and all that. I mean, clearly he's Skrulling. there's no other word for it. I think I'd better go while it's good, before I starting hitting duds out here.
Can you talk about the war with the Kree?
Ben Mendelsohn: Well, they're punks. I don't know what to say. The Kree are filth, and that's just all there is to it. I don't want to say. Kree. Please. There's going to be some problems. What can I say? They're Kree.
Do you foresee an end to the Kree/Skrull war, because it has been going on for such a long time. Can you foresee an end?
Ben Mendelsohn: I mean, if they step off then that's good, then it's done. But they don't seem to want to step off. And so we be Skrulling.
Please tell me you say that in the movie.
Ben Mendelsohn: I can tell you that, we be trying.
You had the opportunity to work with Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck previously on Mississippi Grind. I imagine this has been a completely different experience. Is there any DNA shared?
Ben Mendelsohn: Well, not so much between the projects, but I think with us there is a continuing kind of a DNA. There's a relationship that we formed on that film, which kind of carries on in the nucleus in a lot the same way, although, what we're trying to do here is quite a bit different. A lot more Skrulling than gambling. But there is a... we've got our thing going on.
Is it nice just having that experience given everything physically going on?
Ben Mendelsohn: Yes. I would have worked with Anna and Ryan on any number of propositions, but Skrulling? It's also very, very different. What we're trying to do is very different, and it feels good out there. It feels good out there.
What can you say about how your character crosses paths with Carol?
Ben Mendelsohn: Not a lot.
Why does he set his sights on her?
Ben Mendelsohn: I can't tell you a lot without giving the game away. But it's fair to say that Carol's pretty good. Let me put it another way: Captain Marvel is pretty good. You know, Carol, it's sort of like the Life of Pablo. The Life of Carol. Like which one? Which one is she gonna be? Is she going to be Carol Danvers, or is she got to be Captain Marvel? Now she's Carol Danvers, then yeah. She got some stuff that that can be... I mean, you know, we're good at getting inside of people. That's my big clue.
What's your level of action like? Like physical action.
Ben Mendelsohn: Oh it's intense. You know, a lot of lot of punching, a lot of kicking, lots of Skrullin.
- 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