The stars and co-directors of Captain Marvel were in town on Valentine’s Day to promote Marvel Studio’s first female-led superhero blockbuster. Stars Brie Larson (the Captain herself, Carol Danvers), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva) as well as co-directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, spoke to the media at Marina Bay Sands about working on the film that introduces the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) latest addition to the Avengers roster.
Set in the 1990s when Nick Fury had two functioning eyes and video rental was still a thing, Captain Marvel traces the origin story of Carol Danvers, an amnesiac airforce pilot turned Kree warrior who must act when Earth gets caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races, the Kree and the Skrulls.
This represents a shift towards the mainstream major leagues for Larson, who cut her teeth starring in more independent art films such as Short Term 12 and Room, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress. So a kind of transformation both in body and mind was a vital part of the process of bringing this beloved Marvel character to life on the big screen. And Larson’s approach sounded intense!
“The main thing is her strength – getting (physically) strong and meditating a lot on what female strength could look like and not just emulating things that I had seen on screen before but to understand what that felt like and embody within myself,” Larson shared.
This includes a rigorous nine-month training regime to get her in shape to play a superhero. “There’s something about pushing yourself beyond the threshold where you’re comfortable and then going further than that and it was really these moments of breakthrough, of going beyond what you thought was possible, what your body was capable of doing and it means sometimes you end up on the floor crying and begging for it to stop but all of that is who Carol is,” said Larson.
“When I see that montage of her over the years getting back up, I feel that was 100 per cent my experience in my life!” What came to mind here was the viral clip of Larson pushing a 5,000-pound Jeep uphill for 60 seconds on her Instagram account.
And the question on everyone’s mind – will Captain Marvel play a key role in Thanos’ defeat in Avengers: Endgame? When asked directly by one reporter who was really just trying her luck, Larson quipped: “Yeah, that is a really good question that I can’t answer but more power to you for asking! Very good try!”
Chan also had to undergo some skills training of her own and when asked about the transition from playing Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians (see our review) to an action-packed Kree geneticist in this one, she said: “Mainly it’s the physical challenge. I had to start doing kickboxing training and sniper training. The main thing… that I had to be concerned about was trying not to hit myself in the face with my rifle! But I loved it – I loved playing a character who is sarcastic and has a lot of sassy one-liners.”
Even Jackson, who plays a younger Nick Fury, promised he would be in on the action. “It was interesting being that (younger) guy. Along with two eyes, he has a lot less instinct than older Nick Fury so I learnt a lot from her (Carol Danvers) during the course of the film and this helps (Fury) a lot. She’s my first alien!”
But Larson and co-directors Boden and Fleck asserted that, in addition to the action, they have placed as much emphasis on the emotional journey of the characters. “We’re dealing with a superhero with incredible powers fighting aliens in space but I think the thing that really grounds it in reality are the smaller, character moments in between the big fight sequences so those are the moments we spent a lot of time tacking down to make sure they have as much care as, you know, a giant explosion,” said Larson.
Fleck shared: “When we went to talk with (Marvel Studios president) Kevin Feige, Brie and the team at Marvel, we were on the same page about making sure that this character is dynamic and complex and human and messy as possible and funny and tough but also vulnerable at the same time. So they were like ‘yeah that’s the film we want to make’ so here we are!”
Boden added: “They said ‘we know how to make the big explosions, we need people who are going to focus on the story and the characters’.”
Captain Marvel will be out in Singapore cinemas on 7 March 2019. Are you looking forward to Carol Danvers finally joining the MCU? Tell us below!