Having the Ant-Man and The Wasp Interview with Evangeline Lilly is another notch in my belt of amazing, strong and beautiful Marvel ladies. From Zoe Saldana to Scarlett Johansson, to Tilda Swinton to Elizabeth Olsen, Evangeline is in great company. Taking on the role as The Wasp has given her one thing these ladies haven’t had, and that is their name in a Marvel movie title. So with that, Evangeline Lilly has brought the ladies to a new place. Exciting, isn’t it?
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 Interview with Evangeline Lilly
Gorgeous, and looking different from when we saw her on the set a few minutes earlier, Evangeline is now wearing a wig. Prepping for another scene, my guess would be she was shooting a backstory scene.
How excited were you when you saw the title, Ant-Man and The Wasp?
I think that was the first time it really sunk ‘cause I know people were telling me even after the first time I was doing press and they were saying how exciting, you’re gonna be the first titled female character in a Marvel film, and I don’t think it sunk. I was like, but there’s Black Widow, and there’s Scarlet Witch and, you know. There are other women, and they’re doing amazing things. They’re in The Avengers and why is this so special?
And then I saw the title and, “oh, yeah, this is kind of special.” I think for the first time it sort of hit me what it meant for just the female population period. To see a woman’s name in a title in Hollywood is a very unique experience and I think it’s happening more and more, but it’s still a far cry from where it should be.
Harvey Weinstein was the top news story at the time, and Evangeline was emotional when sharing her thoughts.
I gotta tell you I mean I don’t know if you guys have been hearing all the news about Harvey Weinstein and that kind of thing. It’s timely for me because I’m here shooting this film. Essentially I think at the bottom line, this film is about female empowerment and a woman being powerful. And it made me feel very weak and very vulnerable and very emotional. It was a tough thing because I think we’ve all experienced some level of sexual (harassment). Whether it’s harassment or discrimination or abuse like all the time. We always deal with it, and all those little things for me just came tumbling all together and hit me like all at once. I think it was because it was every day.
“So it’s been such an interesting thing to be The Wasp at a time when I’ve been feeling extremely vulnerable and emotional.”
It wasn’t news for a moment. It was every day for two weeks that’s all people were talking about on set. I think eventually the thought that we all…kind of like, I’m a totally empowered woman and I feel great. It starts to sort of get chipped away, and you begin to feel the hurts and the wounds of the things you really go through all the time that you essentially brush under the carpet ‘cause you have to. Because I feel I need to carry on with my work, to carry on being a mother, to carry on building a career and a life.
So it’s been such an interesting thing to be The Wasp at a time when I’ve been feeling extremely vulnerable and emotional. I just hope in some way that really ultimately brings what is the most powerful about women to the floor in this film which is, you know, I hope, Hope is the heart of the film.
I hope that she really drives the narrative of the people you care about and why you care and ‘cause ultimately you can have the greatest fights in the world but without caring about the people who are fighting the movie’s just gonna fight flat. And so I’ve been reminding myself that even though I feel loss hopefully that’s gonna actually be a powerful thing for the film.
When you got offered the role in the first film, did you think that eventually, you would become the Wasp?
I knew that if the first film were successful, I would probably become The Wasp but there was no guarantee. It was sort of like going to Vegas. I felt like I was gambling on it and I was just banking on the fact that hopefully Marvel — it wouldn’t be the first Marvel fail ‘cause that would be horrific. If you were the first Marvel fail. You know, it’s my fault and then, you know, that we would have another film. Although initially, the plan was to put her in Captain America Civil War. Thankfully the very sensitive and intelligent heads of Marvel Studios decided that if they were gonna introduce their first — well they were gonna introduce another female superhero rather than just throwing her into an ensemble, they should give her an origin’s movie essentially.
Paul an accessory?
A movie where, although we kind of already saw the original in the first Ant-Man, where it’s really kind of about seeing her take on the mantle of the Wasp. And not just she happens to be fighting with Captain America which would have been for me a real letdown just essentially being an accessory to a male superhero. Ant-Man and the Wasp, thankfully they have definitely not done that. I mean if anything they’ve made amazing sweet poor Paul Rudd is an accessory to the Wasp, and he plays the role so beautifully ‘cause he’s got such an incredibly humble spirit. He’s got that everyman thing that makes you just adore him especially when he screws up.
What other kinds of traits and personalities does Hope develope through this?
(Wearing the short wig.)
Well, what’s really been a super challenge for me is that this, what I’m doing today, I haven’t done this since we started filming ‘cause she looks really, really different in this film. She behaves quite differently because the emotional arc we saw her go through in the first film she resolved some very, very big baggage she’d been carrying for 30 years. This new relationship she has with her mother where she spent the last two years working on this singular mission to rescue Janet, her mother. Together has built such a tight and beautiful bond between them that, that whole kind of hard, cold exterior that you saw in the first film is just gone and she’s an entirely new woman.
Hope has changed.
She’s very open and vulnerable and light, and we really wanted to show that physically but god there are moments where I just feel like is anyone gonna recognize that this is Hope Van Dyne. I don’t even recognize that it’s Hope Van Dyne, and just finding my way in (this movie) that has been really a challenge because she is quite warm and she’s softer. They’re all characters. I think it’s such a beautiful sign of healing but definitely a far cry from the first Hope, from the first film.
Talk about the relationship between Scott and Hope. According to Payton, he did say that the beginning of the film is two years later and they’re kind of on the odds.
So every film has to be driven by a character arc, and the character has to grow and change in some way. My role in the first film had a very clear arc, and the arc in this film was a little bit tricky to kind of weave out of the story ‘cause there is a very elaborate, complicated storyline going on. But as they kept rewriting and rewriting. We kept shooting, and suddenly the penny started to drop. I realized oh, Hope’s arc is essentially about needing to realize she can’t do everything on her own and that she’s better with a partner and that she’s better when that partner is Scott and that they really need each other.
And so it’s a really beautiful combination of this kind of superhero story where without him she’ll probably fail against her foe. But also the kind of human storyline of her father has ruined so many relationships in her life. She is so close to him now that she hasn’t quite realized how much like him she is and how stubborn and rash she can be with Scott. And how she can kind of hold him to a standard that is maybe a bit unrealistic or, or too much and that to have grace with him would go a long way and what’s really, really beautiful is the person who really drives home that message in the film, in the end, is Janet.
It’s my mom. And it is this super emotional thing to realize that like every girl needs a mom to teach them grace, to teach them compassion, to teach them the things that maybe their daddy might not have taught them. And not every daddy is Hank Pym. Every mommy is not Janet Van Dyne, but I think that there is just a beautiful message for women in this film about essentially what is most powerful assets are, and I think that is our heart and our compassion.
What’s it like on set?
So the first film there was supposed to be this moonlighting kind of energy, and so I went out of my way to make sure that there was wonderful chemistry there. I think that when you’re like being a rich bitch to a man, it’s really sexy if underneath that you kind of dig them and I felt like that’s what you kind of need to feel in the first film. This one it’s deeper than that because they’ve been in love. They’ve been in a relationship.
Where does it go from here?
They’ve been committed, and he really hurt her. She is trying very hard to be very pragmatic about it and to move on and to do what she needs to do. Then faith interjects and insists that she has to cross paths with him again to reach her mom as life likes to do. It brings us into these conundrums of having to do things that we don’t wanna do ‘cause they’re uncomfortable, but they’re really good for us. And so instead of having that kind of underlying moonlighting energy I really felt it was important for you to feel a deep and penetrating rift, like a real hurt, something much more meaningful this time and I have to tell you.
I don’t know if it’s art imitating life or life imitating art but it’s, it’s been more like this ever so slightly different shift in energy with Paul and I. Maybe that’s how I work. I like kind of need to bring a little bit of what’s happening on the screen into what’s happening off-camera, and so we have these scenes where like what you saw this morning. We get to be warm, and we get to be loving and affectionate. And it’s like, snap, all of a sudden like I feel warm and loving and affectionate to Paul. Poor guy.
Taking on the role.
I’m probably the worst person to work with ‘cause then when I have to be like, “I don’t like you,” I kind of have like a bit of an “I don’t like you.” Like I don’t know. I don’t know if he would say that it’s the same if he would feel it. Maybe it’s all in my head. Like I feel a difference all the time, and I think it’s kind of how I work.
What do you think or hope that girls watching the movie will take away from watching The Wasp?
I hope for girls and women to take away from the film is a lesson that I have been trying to learn for the last I don’t know 20 years which is that we can’t do it all and everyone tells us we can. It’s a very unfair expectation to put on us, and I think we all feel like we’re failing at everything ‘cause we’re trying to do it all.
I mean I got two kids at home. I run an NGO. And I am a writer. I’m an actor. I’m trying to produce. Like all these things and I think god, it just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel balanced. Why am I not spending more time with my kids? And why don’t I have time to do this? Why did my kid miss homework three nights this week? Like what’s going on? You start questioning, and if you sit back and really think about it, it’s because it’s ridiculous what we’re trying to do.
She’s just like us.
I clean my house. You know, I cook. I do all the things, and it’s like somewhere something’s gotta give, and really that’s the journey that Hope goes in is she finally realizes she’s met a foe that is bigger than her and stronger than her. She will not win unless she leans on Scott and I think in this day and age men more than ever want women to lean on them because they feel like they’ve lost their place.
I think men feel lost a lot. And I think that comes down to us ignoring all the noise and the lessons we’ve been taught that we can do it all. We can do everything and saying I can’t actually. But I need help, and I need a partner. I need someone even if it’s not your, in my case, it’s my spouse or my partner. But even if it’s your sister or your mother or your father or a friend, you know, we reach out, and we ask for help when we need it, and that’s ultimately what Hope needs to learn in this film.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (7/6/18)
* I was invited by Disney to attend this Marvel secret set visit to share with my readers. All opinions are my own.