The MCU’s first leading female superhero tells us about joining the massive franchise at its peak for Captain Marvel.
Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson
Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
March 7, 2019
Three years ago, Brie Larson faced a life-altering decision: Whether or not to accept the lead role in Marvel’s first female-led superhero film, Captain Marvel, and in turn the worldwide attention that comes with saying yes. For a shy person who treasures her privacy, it was a daunting prospect.
“I am an introvert and all that stuff is very difficult for me,” says Larson on the line from Los Angeles, “and one of my favourite parts of my experience on this planet is getting to be able to explore it, to be able to observe people, to walk around a park or go to a museum. That's how I fulfill myself and restore myself. So, the idea that I could make a piece of art that then potentially puts a barrier between me and the rest of the human experience felt like a big decision. It meant that I just sat with myself and meditated on it, trying to decide if this is something I can do, and it eventually led me to saying yes.”
And with that yes Larson shattered the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s glass ceiling.
Captain Marvel’s Story
Captain Marvel, directed by the team of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind, It’s Kind of a Funny Story) arrives at a crucial time in the MCU. Audiences are still reeling from the heartbreaking events of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, in which half of all living things in the universe were obliterated by the alien Thanos. A crumb of hope was tossed to viewers when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) sent a signal to the mysterious Captain Marvel, a superhero who has remained hidden from view.
But before our new hero can help deal with Thanos, we need to get to know her, which brings us to Captain Marvel. As Larson explains, the superhero was born Carol Danvers.
“Carol Danvers was a badass before she got her superpowers and that is one of my favourite facts about her,” says the 29-year-old. “She was a pilot in the air force, graduated top of her class. She was always striving for more, didn’t take sh-t from anybody, was just a really inspiring figure, and then this thing happened to her, she gains these superpowers which basically just exaggerate the qualities that were already there.”
“Carol Danvers was a badass before she got her superpowers and that is one of my favourite facts about her”
The film is set in 1991 when Danvers has a potentially fatal accident but is saved by a powerful Kree alien (Annette Bening) who infuses her with Kree DNA. The Kree are a race of militaristic beings and Danvers joins their elite Starforce, led by Mar-vell (Jude Law). The Kree are locked in a war with the shape-shifting Skrulls and when their war comes to Earth, Danvers returns to her home planet. She is recruited by young S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury — played by a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson — to protect humanity.
Related: Meet Goose, the breakout star of Captain Marvel
Larson, who began acting as a child, has steadily built her career with films such as Short Term 12, The Gambler and Trainwreck before winning a Best Actress Oscar in 2016 for her brilliant turn as Ma in the harrowing, but poetic, drama Room. Yet, she has never played a woman as tough, complicated and physically powerful as Danvers.
“I never held my body like that until this movie,” she explains. “I always just wanted my body to not exist. I didn’t want my body to be looked at, or discussed, or analyzed. I wanted to just be an intellect. I wanted to be consciousness in a jar, and I didn’t want to think about or talk about the rest of my organs.
“I always just wanted my body to not exist. I didn’t want my body to be looked at, or discussed, or analyzed. I wanted to just be an intellect.
“And when I decided to do this movie, I realized that getting strong is going to be a really important part of it, and what came out of that was owning my body in a way that I hadn’t previously. It’s a body that went through nine months of training and getting strong, a body that went from having never really worked out to being able to deadlift 225 pounds.”
Filming Avengers: Endgame First
Captain Marvel hits screens on March 7th, and then seven weeks later, on April 26th, Avengers: Endgame unspools with Larson’s superhero joining the fight against Thanos.
But Larson actually filmed Endgame before Captain Marvel.
“It was kinda a lot of pressure, I was figuring out who my character was in front of people who had been playing their characters for a decade,” recalls Larson. “I was constantly apologizing, like, sorry, I am new. But I’m actually very grateful because even though it was a little difficult — I was working backward — it was really helpful because I didn’t have to go into Captain Marvel blind. I went into it having a lot of information because I asked tons of questions from the cast members that I worked with about how to tackle it.”
Are you ready for Avengers: Endgame?
First, get your tickets! Then, book some quality catch-up time. You’ll find all the MCU titles (not still in theatre) at the Cineplex store! Whether you should watch them chronologically or by order of release is one battle you’ll have to take on with your friends.