Laurence Fishburne. With a career long enough to give him over 100 onscreen acting credits, he is earned respect in the entertainment industry. He has been a comic book fan practically his whole life so to go from a DC character to a Marvel character (for the second time) wasn’t hard for him to do. As you will read below, he paid for both comic books. While on the Ant-Man and The Wasp press event, we not only chatted about the roles he gets now versus early in his career as well as the closest thing you will get to a spoiler from me; his reaction to the mid-credit scene that is sure to shock the MCU fans. It’s all here in my Laurence Fishburne Ant-Man and The Wasp Interview.
Laurence Fishburne Ant-Man and The Wasp Interview
Good afternoon, ladies. How are we?
Great. How are you?
I’m okay. I’m better. That was quite a greeting. Thank you for that. That was lovely. Thank you so much. It’s nice to meet all of you. I was not familiar with your group, and I was just told, and I have to say it’s very, very, very impressive what you’re doing.
Thank you. This is really a pleasure for me to be with you. Very impressed. I really am.
You’ve worked in the DC world and now in Marvel. I’m not gonna make you choose but…how is working with Marvel and why Marvel is better. (laughing)
First and foremost, I started reading comic books when I was very young. Probably like eight or nine years old. And I always read DC and Marvel. I love them both. I’m grateful and happy to be a part of that small group of actors who’ve been in both universes. And you know, for anybody who thinks I’m perhaps disloyal to one or the other all I can say is, look, I paid money for both comic books. So.
How did you become involved with Ant-Man and The Wasp?
I’ve been reading for a long time, been watchin’ the movies too. I ran into the director of the Fantastic Four film, Rise of the Silver Surfer – his name’s Tim Story – and I said to him, I said hey man, I’m Norrin Radd. And he said, who? I said, Norrin Radd. He was like, who’s Norrin Radd? I was like… So I had to tell him about the origins of the Silver Surfer and Galactus.
And I was like, I should play that part in it, so he was kind enough to cast me to do the vocal performance in that movie. So that was my first foray into the Marvel universe. And then I don’t know, three or four years back I couldn’t help myself. I wanted very much to be a part of the MCU because of the way it was progressing. Like they were doing such great things.
And Louis D’Esposito and I had worked together about thirty years ago. So I just asked to have a meeting with him and said, look, I’ll do whatever you need me to do, but I really would like to be a part of the MCU if there’s any way that you can see that I can do that. And they came back and said, oh, there’s this character, Bill Foster, who I was not aware of – oddly enough – because I wasn’t an Ant-Man reader. I was like Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Avengers, X-Men.
So they presented this character to me, and I met with the director, and we got on really well ‘cause he’s also a guy who’s in his fifties who loves comics. It just kinda organically happened.
So in the comic books, Bill Foster’s character is also Goliath.
Is there going to be anything that we might see going forward of a Goliath type character?
Let me put it to you this way. I am not at liberty to speak on such an operation if in fact such an operation…(laughing)…
So you haven’t seen a suit.
No. I haven’t seen a suit, and I hope I don’t see a suit too soon…‘cause I’m gonna have to lose some weight to get into it.
So the movie has an overwhelming theme of family and fathers and daughters. Did that impact the way you approached your role?
It was really in the writing that Bill is a surrogate father or a foster father to Ava. So that was nice. ‘Cause it gave me something human to play. One of the best things about the Ant-Man character as Paul Rudd plays it, is that his primary relationship, his most important relationship is with his daughter. And it’s executed, I think, brilliantly in both movies. So.
We don’t often see you as a bad guy. There’s only been one film where I didn’t like you. (laughing)
Oh, I see.
When you read for the script, and there was a possibility it would go that way, did that give you a sense of hold back?
Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no. Villainy. There’s nothing wrong with villainy. Villainy is great. And, you know, if you go way, way back, you go back forty years. You can see I did a lot of villainy coming up.
But only one of them because it was true villainy.
Well only one of them was like that- he was that huge. But I mean essentially I played a rapist in Death Wish 2, with Charles Bronson. Early- early in my career. Like after Apocalypse now, you know, the only kind of roles that I could get were thugs and pimps. I played a pimp in a movie called Band of the Hand. A character I played in a movie called Cotton Club was a pimp and a thief and a gambler. Pimps are people, too. (laughing)
When you’re coming off something as powerful as being Morpheus and seeing it possibly go away and like uh-oh, I kinda wanna really root for him and then when you’re reading for it I wonder if it gives you pause.
No, never does. Never does. Because heroes, villains, whatever it is, as long as you can make them human, then it’s fun. That’s the objective as to whether it’s a hero or a villain. You wanna humanize them and allow the audience to have the experience of, well yeah, maybe I don’t like what he’s doing, or perhaps I don’t like what she’s doing, but there’s something in them that reminds me of me.
Paul said you just watched the movie a couple days ago and you did not know after credits scene was coming…
I’d like to know what your initial thought was?
OH SHIT!!! (laughing) Also, when Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer show up in the movie, and they’re like thirty years younger, I went, oh shit!!! Oh my god!!! (laughing)
Is there a superhero or villain character that you feel this is worthy of their own movie next?
There are several. There are several, yeah. Of the more obscure ones. Well, one comes to mind, but this character already has their own movie. And it’s coming. There’s been a gender change from male to female. And what I love about Captain Marvel, if you don’t know the history of Captain Marvel, Thanos is a Captain Marvel villain, and Captain Marvel is kickin’ his ass regularly. So I’m so excited to see that.
Who else is another interesting character? Oh, there was a character that I would have loved to have done. I couldn’t do it now at my age. It would be a character that a younger actor should do at this point. But there was a character in Marvel Universe called Brother VooDoo who was kinda- who was kinda freaky and weird. And supernatural. That would be a cool thing to see.
And then some villains probably should have had some movies, you know. Like the character that Thomas Hayden Church played, the Sandman. He could have had an interesting thing because the Sandman was – yeah, he was a villain, kind of, but there was also this other part of him. There was this humanity in him that could’ve been interesting.
What was it like on set working with the cast?
This is what I’ve done all my life, so working with people like Rudd and Michael Douglas and Evangeline, it’s fun. It’s like we have a really great job.
You spoke about being cast as a pimp and thugs in the past. We have seen a shift in that in 2018. How do you feel about that regarding the African-American community and being a role model for them?
Well, it’s great because again, you know, Marvel was doing things that were diverse as early as ’68, you know. But Black Panther appears in the comics of ’68, Goliath appears in the ‘70s. Sam, the Falcon, appears in the ‘70s. Robbie appears in the ‘70s, and women are always out front in the Marvel Universe and have been since the beginning. So it’s nice that they’ve been able to take the source material and bring it into the now. To be a real reflection, or at least a closer reflection, to what the real world looks like.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (7/6/18)
* I was invited by Disney to attend #AntManandTheWaspEvent to share with my readers. All opinions are my own.