I attended the #AntmanAndTheWaspEvent on behalf of Disney and ABC in Los Angeles 5/23-5/25. This post is part of the required content series, all opinions and experiences are my own.
Evangeline Lilly plays The Wasp in Marvel’s Antman And The Wasp. Check out our interview where she discusses girl power and achieving her greatness.
After interviewing Evangeline Lilly for the first Antman movie and then again last year on the set of Antman And The Wasp, sitting down with her during the official Antman And The Wasp press junket was like meeting friends for coffee to “catch up” on life. Evangeline is no stranger to having her name attached to successful TV & movie franchises, she is not only a veteran to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also stars in Lost and The Hobbit, where she has built quite the fan base. Just search the #SuperELves hashtag and will find some of Evangeline’s most hardcore and loyal fans. Evangeline’s success and following comes as no surprise to those who have met her. Along with being extremely talented, intelligent and stunning; Evangeline is humble, down to earth and speaks with sincerity. She is the real life super hero you will always root for and after discussing her role as The Wasp in Antman And The Wasp, I nominate her official super power to be “Girl Power”!
Check out some of the highlights from the interview:
On Having A Female Super-Hero To Look Up To
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**. Also, I think it was because there wasn’t a lot to choose from, there just weren’t very many female superheroes. It was mostly male superheroes.
I had a moment recently where my seven-year old son was pretending to be The Wasp. Yeah. And I still get goose bumps when I tell that story. It makes me — it chokes me up, because that’s a cultural shift. For a little boy to pretend to be a female superhero, that’s like, this is no small thing.
And sometimes, I think I’m 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. But I think what this moment in our culture, 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.
On Working With Michelle Pfeiffer & Her Obsession
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. The weird thing as an actor is that you can be obsessed with someone on the screen, and then you meet them, and they just destroy it for you. And you’re like, “I wish I’d never met you.”, “I want you to be perfect, you know?” 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 old you’re ever gonna meet. Playing her daughter was an incredible honor.
Why Did Evangeline Stand Up And Yell “F*** Yeah!”?
I want all of the women in the MCU in a movie together. I have a girl crush on Okoye. She’s so fierce and strong and present and convicted and talented. She’s my queen, I always call her. I call her my queen. And 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, and one point when Scarlet Witch was in the trench and got caught by the villain alone. Then Okoye shows up and says, “But she’s not alone.” Literally, in the theater at the premiere in my gown, I go, “F*** yeah!” Yes. I couldn’t help myself.
Did Evangeline Accept Her Role In Ant-Man Because Of Paul Rudd?
When I was first approached about Ant-Man, my manager said, “Hey. 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.” I didn’t like superhero movies, because I’d never really seen Marvel’s superhero movies. He was like, “Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Hear me out, hear me out, hear me out, um, so 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!” 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,” and I started watching Marvel movies, I read the script, I got engaged, and it started because I was a huge Paul Rudd fan.
Everybody loves Paul Rudd. He’s so loveable. 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. I love the movie because I love Paul and I in a movie.
As the interview wound down, one last question was asked on how Evangeline Lilly’s progression into acting. In true Evangeline Lilly fashion, she answered the question from the heart. And her answer touched me deeply, I believe it touched everyone in the room on some level. I am going to post her answer word for word below, because I could not have said it better myself: I would start just letting my light shine.
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 and I was totally flat chested. I got A’s, I was on the student council, on the soccer team and in the plays. My thing was overachievement. My thing was NOT, all of the boys wanted to date me or anything like that. My thing was, I have abilities and I have intelligence.
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. I decided that I needed to just not stand out. Don’t be super smart. Don’t be talented. Don’t stand out. So I spent five years kind of 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.
I had been scouted on multiple occasions when I was in my twenties and 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. I had to examine what that pain was. 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 and just being unabashed about who I was in the world. And 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 just exercise my brightness. I just wanted to be bold and bright. I’d never really thought about the fact that auditions can lead to jobs. That hadn’t factored in. It was just like, “I’m just gonna go out and just shine!”
I went out for my first audition in January or February of 2004, and in March of 2004, I was in Hawaii, shooting Lost. I was thinking about just expressing myself. And so when I got a job, it was sort of just like, “Oh, sh**, okay. I guess this is what I’m doing now.” 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, that one word, that was spoken into my life, of, “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.