It’s been a tough year for Hollywood. Sure we’ve had some MARVEL-ous blockbusters (I’m thinking about Black Panther, Infinity War, and yes, this week’s Ant-Man and The Wasp), but it’s been tough outside of the theater.
Tough for men.
Tough for women.
But I have found a light in Hollywood. A bright light. Her name – Evangeline Lilly, aka “The Wasp”.
(Disney, Marvel Studios, Freeform & Disney Junior invited me to California on an all-expenses paid trip, in exchange for our coverage of events, including this Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man and The Wasp interview. As always, all opinions are my own.)
Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man and The Wasp Interview
The BUZZ in Hollywood…The Time Has Come!
The time has come. It’s been a long time coming, in fact.
This moment is huge, and when we sat down with Evangeline Lilly to discuss her role in Ant-Man and The Wasp, there was no denying how big the moment is.
Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Think about the title of the movie which releases July 6th in theaters everywhere.
Did you catch it?
While there have been many Marvel movies over the years, THIS film is the very first Marvel movie with a female character in the title. For a woman who (along with Evangeline Lilly) grew up with male superheroes as the norm, this is momentous. For a woman raising a little girl to dream big, this is important.
But there’s more…
Evangeline Lilly shared that not only is her female superhero character being titled in the movie, but she has equal billing! Lilly said, “I think Marvel is just absolutely hell bent and passionate right now about representing women as fierce and capable and as equals to men”.
Fierce and capable – two words that describe Evangeline Lilly to a “T”!
In this much anticipated sequel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Evangeline Lilly returns as Hope Van Dyne (daughter of Dr. Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas, and Janet Van Dyne, played by newcomer to the film series, Michelle Pfeiffer).
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.
There was moment in our interview that was clearly emotional for Evangeline Lilly – when she was remembering a specific event that happened with her seven-year old son.
Lilly shared, “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 it chokes me up, because that’s a cultural shift, for a little boy to pretend to be a female superhero. This is no small thing”.
She continued, “Sometimes, I think I’m (we’re) 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, and all of those things. But I think what this moment in our culture, with #MeToo and #TimesUp is
saying… 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”.
She smiled and said, “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”.
From Brainiac to Superstar and from Superhero and Role Model
Evangeline Lilly got incredibly real with us.
Lilly spoke of her early years, saying, 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. I had a totally flat chest, I got As, and I was on the student council, and on the soccer team, and in the plays”.
She continued, “My thing was overachievement. My thing was not looking great. And my thing was not like all of the boys wanted to date me or anything like that. My thing was – I have abilities, and I have intelligence”.
But things soon changed. Lilly shared, “And 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. And 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”.
This changed Evangline Lilly. She said, “I decided that I needed to just not stand out, just don’t be super smart. Don’t be talented. Don’t stand out, because if you do, you’re just gonna get hurt. 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”.
As a mom, this broke my heart. As a former little girl going through those growing years, I can so relate on a personal level.
Advice That Changed Her Life
You see, the Evangeline Lilly we love as an actress, superhero, and role model, almost never happened.
She had been pursued in her 20s to try acting and she was not interested.
Evangeline shared, “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’.”
She continued, “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, and I had to examine what that pain was. And 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”.
The rest is history and Evangeline Lilly, after just a few months of auditions, landed her breakout role in LOST. She went from studying international relations and political science to shooting scenes in Hawaii.
Evangeline Lilly to this day tells herself “It’s okay to be big”. And with regards to Ant-Man and The Wasp, it was okay to be teeny! 🙂
Words of wisdom that I will be sharing with my daughter.
Bringing Femininity to a SuperHero
The Wasp isn’t just your average superhero, and I loved listening to what Evangeline Lilly had to say about preparing for the role.
She said, “I actually spent way less time worrying about getting my body rock hard and developing, you know, visual muscles as I spent in front of a mirror with my stunt doubles, making sure that we didn’t just take a dude, and put him in a woman’s body. I didn’t want to send the message that in order to be powerful and strong and capable and tough, you have to be masculine, and macho, and a dude.”
Evangeline Lilly said, “I wanted to show that we are strong because of our femininity, not in spite of it”.
She spoke of the distinct differences between men and women, each having certain advantages in different ways. And that’s okay. She referenced one scene you will LOVE in Ant-Man and The Wasp, where Hope was moving in and out of vehicle windows almost like she was in a ballet – The Wasp is flexible and agile in a way that say Thor would not be.
Paul Rudd Saved the Day
Evangeline Lilly did not really want to do a superhero movie. She had never seen Marvel films and really the thought didn’t appeal to her.
That is, until she heard the name Paul Rudd.
She confesses, “I was like, ‘Hold the phone, wait, what? Paul Rudd’s gonna be a superhero? I’m in!'”
She stared catching up on all the Marvel movies, read the script, got engaged in it, and the rest is history – all because she was a “huge Paul Rudd fan”. She raved about his talent and it’s clear she is a super fan of this superhero!
Imagine a young Evangeline Lilly pretending that she was Catwoman. Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman to be more specific.
Fast forward a few decades and now Evangeline Lilly is the onscreen daughter to Michelle Pfeiffer. It has come full circle, with Evangeline honored to play the role of her daughter.
And the love fest has not waned any. Evangeline admits that it was “a dream to work with Michelle” and says Michelle can live up to the perfection you might imagine. The list went on and on…
- She’s nice
- She’s perfect, there are no flaws
- She’s generous
- She’s smart
- She’s funny
- She’s considerate
- And let’s not forget “she is the hottest sixty-something you’re ever gonna meet”
And Then There Was Michael…
Truth be told, Evangeline Lilly knew of Michael Douglas before meeting and working with him in the original Ant-Man, but didn’t really know his talent. She’d seen a few popular films of his, and just new his fame would help Ant-Man.
Then she began working with him.
Of Michael, Evangeline Lilly says, “he’s such a charismatic, present, powerful human being that when he starts to perform, he just changes the molecules of the room”. Couldn’t be more perfectly said for an actor playing a role of a quantum realm expert.
Our Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man and The Wasp interview was more than I could have imagined.
Evangeline Lilly is shining bright in Hollywood and beyond, exactly what any superhero should do!
Now let’s take a look at the film…
Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP opens in theaters everywhere on July 6th!
Blog Posts from #AntManandTheWaspEvent so far:
Stay tuned for more cast and director interviews!
YOU WILL ALSO LOVE:
If you like this post, you’ll love these that I’ve picked out just for you!