When asked to play the feisty Hope van Dyne in Marvel’s superhero movie Ant-Man, actress Evangeline Lilly had some initial doubts.
“One thing I was asking for was that we sit down and take a very serious look at the female character, bring more dimension to it and make her more well-rounded as a human being,” said Lilly.
Ahead of the film’s release in South African theatres at the end of July, Lilly discussed the challenges of being the film’s sole female force. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Q: Marvel movies have been getting bigger in scope, so how was it coming onto a superhero movie that’s so micro and intimate in scale?
A: Because we come on the coattails of Avengers: Age of Ultron which … was so spectacular and awe-inspiring, Ant-Man just brings it down into such a sweet space. It’s an origin story, it’s a redemption story between fathers and daughters. There’s a lot of emotions, there’s tonnes of comedy.
Q: There’s criticism that women are not represented enough in superhero films and your character is the only leading female in a male-dominated movie. How did you and director Peyton Reed make sure Hope is represented equally?
A: She’s a fully realised person and not any way a cliché of what we expect a woman to be like in a superhero movie.
That was really important to me and that’s really important to Marvel … They’ve taken on this matter and said, “We are going to represent women as well as we do men.”
Q: What were you eager to bring to Hope’s character?
A: I wanted to make sure she wasn’t just a kick-ass chick, because they are very, very fun to watch but I don’t buy it. I don’t necessary believe this is the example I want to set for young women or even my peers. I feel it’s important to always make sure strength comes through our vulnerability; strength comes through our passions, comes through our ability to forgive.
There are different versions of strength. For a woman just to go out and blow people up or just beat them up, that’s not interesting for me to play.
My priority was having multiple dimensions of the character, making sure all the emotional layers are there, so when she is standing strong in a room full of men, there is humanity behind it that you relate to, you connect to and you sympathise with.
Pic: Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP