Last year we got a chance to check out the set of the upcoming Marvel film "Captain Marvel," starring the great Brie Larson. In our final report from the set, here is what directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Gemma Chan, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou and executive producer Jonathan Schwartz had to say about the first Marvel film to star a female lead.
Boden and Fleck spoke about the film influences for "Captain Marvel," comparing it to "RoboCop," though Boden said that the film isn’t dark. She said, “I think that what is exciting to us about 'RoboCop' was this idea of a character who's finding himself and finding his past and even though it's a dark movie its also like extremely emotional in that way.” She spoke about the scene in "RoboCop" where the main character walks into his house and remembers his past. She told us that it was all about self-discovery, as Carol Danvers has forgotten her past on Earth now that she’s working for Starforce. Fleck also mentioned films like "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and "The French Connection." Color us intrigued!
They also spoke about having writer Kelly Sue DeConnick as part of the process. DeConnick is known for her run of "Captain Marvel" comics and recreating the character in her most recent form. Boden said the two were thrilled to meet her and had read her entire "Captain Marvel" run. She said that many of the references and ideas about Carol Danvers, and the things they pitched to Marvel were influenced by DeConnick. Fleck, who joked that he does what Boden tells him on set spoke about what attracted him to the character. “It was just her voice. It was the humor in her attempts at humor. You know, I think that sometimes she's funny and sometimes she tries to be funny and it's just like nice try at that joke and she doesn't care she just keeps doing it you know.” Hey, who has to be funny when you can push an actual Jeep up a hill!
Schwartz gave us an overview of what we’re going to see, and with everyone watching the trailers over and over to get a sense of what’s coming, the info is invaluable. He explained that the film starts with Carol already working with Spaceforce and fighting for the side of the Kree in the Kree/Skrull war. Mar-Vell (Jude Law) is in charge of the mission, which doesn’t exactly go well. Carol is captured by the Skrull, and ends up on Earth, crashing through the roof of a Blockbuster Video. We learned that the film is about 50/50 in terms of space scenes and Earth scenes, and that the big Earth plot ties it all together. He also told us that we’re going to see the first meeting between Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). We can only hope for the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe meet cute.
Gemma Chan (who plays Minn-Erva) spoke to us about her character, who is a member of Starforce. She’s also blue, and Chan told us that she spent hours in the makeup chair. We finally got to see her full costume by the end of the set visit’s second day, and you can understand why it took so long. She also said that the costume was less than comfortable, and that doing stunts was challenging, but that she loved it. She also praised the hair and makeup team for their work.
Chan explained that there is a “slight rivalry between the two characters. I would say that to a certain extent, Minn-Erva doesn't quite trust Carol but they're all, as a team, they're very efficient and they get stuff done.” She continued, “I suppose before Carol joined the team, Minn-Erva was probably kind of the star of this Starforce team, and she was probably the favorite of the commander who is played by Jude Law. So yeah, so I suppose there's more to do with their abilities rather than affections as such. It's kind of playful rivalry.”
While on set we saw a scene where Starforce is getting ready to go out on a mission, and the joking between the characters as they give Carol hell for being overly enthusiastic on their last mission bore that out. We watched them in their green costumes, laying down on slabs and being transported to their next mission.
In "Captain Marvel" we’re going to see a familiar character or two, from Agent Coulson to Nick Fury. We’re also going to see Korath when he was a member of Starforce. Djimon Hounsou told us that he’s still a “killing machine” like he is in the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" film. He’s younger here, but there isn’t much difference in his personality and sensibility.
Hounsou talked about the scene we saw and explained, that the mission is, “to retrieve the subject basically. We're heading on a mission, we're not back from the mission yet, we don't know what the mission reserves -- what are the attributes around the mission and certainly the issues around the mission.” He explained that the mission was supposed to be “simple.”
Hounsou also spoke about Korath’s relationship with Carol. He told us, “I feel like Carol is the type of person that takes a joy at taking the piss at me all the time, cause I'm sort of very machine-like, very framed, very driven. The lack of not being so flexible and playful, she takes a piss at that, I think.”
We asked him about what the film means for him, and he told us that it really mattered to him. He said, “Well the thrill for me this time around is not even so much about this film, other than the fact that it's great to be part of this one, but I think the one that really leverage all films for me, it's 'Black Panther.' In a way that I've never heard in my own country, championing our kids, going to movies. Parents are even putting money on the side for them to just get that one ticket to go and see a movie like that.”
Lashana Lynch plays Maria Rambeau, mother of Monica Rambeau, whom comic book fans know and love (for a time Monica was Captain Marvel). Lynch explained who Maria is, saying, “She is a fighter pilot, very strong, very bold, very in control of herself. I'd say, in high demand with the industry that she's in." She told us that Rambeau and Danvers are best friends and she’s been dealing with the grieving process of losing her. When she shows up again, Maria has to, “reverse that grief and make it work for this, picking up of a friendship, which is kind of strange but ends up really beautifully.” Lynch expressed joy in the fact that she got to bring a lot of personality to her character because she wasn’t completely fleshed out.
Lynch also spoke about what a film like this means for her. She explained that having black superheroes in "Black Panther" meant a lot to her, and to kids who are finally seeing themselves on screen. She compared that to the role of Maria, saying, “in creating Maria, it made me realize that the younger generation, are going to have what I didn't have as a kid, which is seeing themselves on screen. So this will be a classic film for the new generations to come, which is crazy. And also the new normal, which I can't wait to be.”
She also explained the dynamic between Maria and Carol. “They have a very dry humor together,” she said. “They’re kind of... you know when you love someone and you pretend like you hate them? They have that little bit of a slightly unlikely boisterous, yet very loving, deeply loving, caring sister love. They have a sisterhood about them that is really nice to see in a Marvel movie. Carol Danvers is someone who is an aunt to my child, like she is family and that's why her death take such a big effect on her life because she actually is her life. They're in a male-orientated environment and industry, and all they have is each other, those female fighter pilots.”
Captain Marvel zooms into theaters on March 8.