Thank you to Disney and Marvel Studios for hosting me during the Ant-Man and the Wasp event, which included this interview with Laurence Fishburne.
Laurence Fishburne grew up reading comic books. Having already worked in the DC Extended Universe playing Perry White in two Superman films, Fishburne was more than ready to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I wanted very much to be a part of the MCU because of the way it was progressing.”
Since Fishburne makes his introduction into the MCU in an Ant-Man film, it’s interesting to know he was cast as an unfamiliar character. “I wasn’t an Ant-Man reader. I was [reading]Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Avengers, X-Men…” He met with Director Peyton Reed when the role of Bill Foster was first presented. ‘We got on really well, because he’s also a guy who’s in his fifties who loves comics. It just kind of organically happened.” There was no hesitation on his part to take on the role. “I would have played a fly on the wall. I would have played a piece of debris in the Marvel Universe.”
When the idea of potentially playing Goliath, his character’s alter ego, is mentioned, he is reluctant to get too far ahead of himself. “I haven’t seen a suit, and I hope I don’t see a suit too soon, because I’m gonna have to lose some weight to get into it.”
The role of Bill Foster falls somewhere in the middle of the good guy/bad guy spectrum, but playing a villain isn’t an issue for Fishburne. “Villainy is great… I did a lot of villainy coming up.” He mentions his role in Death Wish 2 as the only role that was true villainy. “After Apocalypse Now, the only kind of roles that I could get were thugs and pimps.” To Fishburne, it’s about finding their humanity. “Heroes, villains, whatever it is, as long as you can make them human then it’s fun.”
He found humanity in the role of Bill Foster by approaching his character as not only a former colleague of Hank Pym, but also as a surrogate father to one of the characters. “That was nice because it gave me something human to play.” It also reinforced the recurring father and daughter theme in the film. “One of the best things about the Ant-Man character as Paul Rudd plays it is his primary relationship, his most important relationship, is with his daughter. And it’s executed, I think, brilliantly in both movies.”
When asked if he had any favorite characters he’d like to see on the big screen, Fishburne went to the 70s. “There was a character in Marvel Universe called Brother Voodoo who was kinda freaky and weird and supernatural. That would be a cool thing to see.” He also wouldn’t mind seeing the MCU’s take on Sandman. “He was a villain, but there was also this other part of him. There was this humanity in him that could’ve been interesting.”
And since there’s a lot of buzz (get it, buzz?) around the mid credit stinger (get it, stinger?), I’ll just leave you with this photo of Laurence Fishburne expressing his reaction to it the first time he saw the film.
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 now.
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.