Evangeline Lilly is the Marvel savior.
The 38-year-old Canadian actress has become the first actress to get a lead credit on a Marvel Cinematic Universe film – its taken 10 years and 19 films for it to happen – and she admits that once she was handed the first script for the upcoming 20th film, Ant-Man And The Wasp, you couldnt shut me up, so full of ideas was the actress.
Ideas of things to be changed, ideas period, she tells Metro.co.uk, and I had spent enough time on my own contemplating what I wanted and hoped for for this character, and I had clear objectives when creating her and one of those was honouring the original comic books which present her as a hyper feminine character.
Shes a fashion designer, shes graceful and elegant and stingy and not a commander of an army the way Captain Marvel is, and so I wanted to honour that, I wanted to be all of those things.
But of course in the original comic books she was also very sexualised to the nth degree and I did not want that aspect of it, and I feel proud of the results. I feel like we could maintain her femininity through the film without compromising her as nothing but a sex symbol and yet I also think she is still sexy.
Not that the script had her as a sexualised being though, in fact, it was the complete opposite.
The thing I was pushing for was more femininity in her, says Lilly.
She was so uber tough, uber capable and strong and powerful that there was, for me, a lack of vulnerability and a lack of grace and elegance and softness I suppose, and especially when I showed up and was shown some of the stunt choreography, I saw something that resembled, to me, a women moving like a man, and I didnt want that to be the case.
When I say a woman moving like a man I should probably clarify, I saw a woman moving in some very quintessentially masculine ways and I wanted to see her move in more quintessentially feminine ways – yes, women can be masculine and men can be feminine – but that was something that I kind of… through the whole thing this is my north star, making sure I recognise her as a feminine women so she is strong because of her femininity and not in spite of it.
The importance of female characters on film and in series as big as the MCU is an ongoing conversation, and discussion turns to whether in many ways, the writing of Wasp as overly masculine has seen women on-screen go too far in some respects, no longer allowed to also be weak or vulnerable.
I think what happens in some ways is unintentionally male producers and directors and writers want to write stories that have women at the helm of them, but theyve been writing the same stories for so long and those are male stories, so what they do is write a male story and put a women in the lead, she offers.
To me, thats not correcting the problem sufficiently. Its certainly a step in the right direction but I would love to see more female stories, female voices and writers and directors, producers, who are creating stories that I recognise.
Ant-Man And The Wasp is out in UK cinemas on 2 August.