Thank you to Disney and Marvel Studios for hosting me during the Ant-Man and the Wasp event, which included this interview with Evangeline LIlly.
I knew it was a big deal to get the first female title hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Ant-Man and the Wasp. I knew Evangeline Lilly was going to do a great job as the Wasp. I just didn’t know how great a job she’d do until I saw the movie.
I was so blown away by her performance that when I was filling out my reaction form I wrote, “The Wasp is your new favorite hero” on it. Not quite a week later I’m watching an ad for Ant-Man and the Wasp and I hear, “The Wasp is your new favorite hero.” I did a double take. I watched it again and saw my name scroll across the screen so quickly that I could barely make it out. But it was there. I was quoted!
Here’s the thing: it’s not just the Wasp who should be your new hero. It’s got to be, at least in part, Evangeline Lilly. “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,” says Lilly. “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. I want to celebrate it and be excited about it.”
Lilly grew up sometimes pretending to be Spider-Man or Bat Man with her sisters because of a lack of female superheroes in film. “I had a moment recently where my seven-year old son was pretending to be The Wasp,” remembers Lilly. “For a little boy to pretend to be a female superhero, this is no small thing.”
Lilly approached the role of the Wasp in a different way than some male heroes might. “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,” says Lilly. “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.”
Her work resulted in some absolutely amazing fight sequences in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and she insists on sharing the credit. “My team of incredible stunt women, the CGI crew, the directors… It was such a collaborative effort.”
Lilly is a fan of the other badass women in the MCU. During the scene in Avengers: Infinity War where Black Widow tells Proxima Midnight, “She’s not alone,” Lilly stood up during the premiere and cheered. “I couldn’t help myself.”
How does she feel about the newest female hero in the MCU, Michelle Pfeiffer? “She’s nice. She’s generous. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s intelligent. She’s considerate. She’s talented… Playing her daughter was an incredible honor.”
Lilly was initially reluctant to join the MCU because she wasn’t familiar with the films. That changed when her agent told her about the casting. “Paul Rudd’s gonna be a superhero? I’m in!” That turned her into a Marvel fan and an even deeper Paul Rudd fan. “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.”
Lilly didn’t grow up wanting to be an actor. She studied international relations and political science, and resisted any calls to act or model. That changed when someone told her, “I think you’re afraid of this thing inside of you that feels big.” Lilly decided to give acting a shot, but that doesn’t mean the shift came easily. “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.”
Check out all of the Ant-Man and the Wasp action
I have a behind the scenes look at the making of Ant-Man and the Wasp from my visit to the set, along with tons of Ant-Man the the Wasp interviews from the #AntManandtheWaspEvent! Find it all right here on the blog. Ant-Man and the Wasp is in theaters on July 6, 2018.
From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside the Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John Kamen, Abby Ryder-Fortson, Randall Park, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with Laurence Fishburne and Michael Douglas.