Evangeline Lilly plays Hope van Dyne for the fifth time in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania. The interview explores her ongoing struggle with acting, which she describes as “torture”, and her plans for a The Wasp movie.

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During the interviews for “Ant-Man And The Wasp” on the sidelines of the European premiere in Paris, Evangeline Lilly surprised us by saying that acting was torture for her. When we met her again almost five years later for an interview to coincide with the launch of “Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania”, we naturally wanted to know how she had fared since then:

MOVIE BEGINS: My colleague Björn Becher conducted an interview with you in 2018 on “Ant-Man And The Wasp”, where you explained that acting is a kind of torture for you. Do you still have the same feeling or has something changed since then?

Evangeline Lilly: I still feel the same way [lacht]. However, I have to say that I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now, which of course is utter madness if it feels like torture. It’s just my job. But it has also become easier over the years. Maybe I’m used to it by now.

I can’t say exactly why that is, it would probably take a whole book to do that. It hurts me inside when I become someone else and suppress or repress myself. I feel trapped in the other person’s skin, trapped by their personality.

And then when I bring something of myself to the set, which you have to do to be emotional and vulnerable to the other performers, I feel very vulnerable and vulnerable, even though the environment doesn’t really feel safe. That’s the nature of this business. It’s not safe, you’re not on set with your therapist or your mother. For the most part, they are just strangers who want to make money off what you do. I find it painful and haven’t figured out how to make it painless yet.

MOVIE BEGINS: I hope you find a way.

Evangeline Lilly: At least that wouldn’t be a bad thing, right? [lacht]

Equality in the MCU? “There is still room for improvement!”

FILM START: What connects you and Hope van Dyne? What helps you play this character?

Evangeline Lilly: What connects us both the most is that on the outside she is a strong, capable, confident, competent woman. Behind this shell, however, it is much more delicate than it appears. In this industry, I often feel that other people think I’m tougher than I am. They don’t know that I’m actually doing poorly or that I’m actually very attached to them.

MOVIE BEGINS: Hope was the first titular heroine of an MCU movie. Do you think the superhero genre is evolving fast enough in terms of equality?

Evangeline Lilly: In any case, a lot has already happened, women are much more present in the MCU today than they were at the time of “Ant-Man And The Wasp”. This also applies to young women. But there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to developing the complexity and facets of female characters. I haven’t seen Black Panther 2 yet, but I feel like this movie does a great job on that front. Also in “WandaVision” a complex, three-dimensional female figure was already in the center.

I’d like to see what happens when Hope turns to the dark side.

MOVIE BEGINS: In a red carpet interview, you said you’d like to direct a The Wasp solo movie. Was that a spontaneous idea or do you have a finished script somewhere in your desk drawer? And if so, what happens in it?

Evangeline Lilly: [lacht] The idea came from a fan and Kevin Feige was right behind me at the time. I said I’d like to do it, but he didn’t respond [mittlerweile hat Feige immerhin sinngemäß gesagt, dass im MCU nichts unmöglich sei und man abwarten müsse].

I don’t know about what’s going to happen next in the MCU, but I had a very clear idea for Hope in Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania when we were planning the movie. It has nothing to do with what they did to her in that movie.

My idea was to explore the dark side of Hope. In my opinion you could already see the beginning of it in the first film, it has the potential to be quite dark. But we didn’t continue with that, her development went more in the direction of healing, love, connection. I’d like to see what happens when Hope turns to the dark side.

MOVIE BEGINS: How much did you talk to director Peyton Reed and screenwriter Jeff Loveness about Hope and her development during filming?

Evangeline Lilly: During filming there was a lot of discussion about this, but that is not always reflected in the finished film. It’s a long way from the start of production to the cinema. We discussed and filmed a lot, but you never know where it will lead. There are many characters to serve in this movie.

A future as a voice actress?

MOVIE BEGINS: You also voiced Hope in an episode of the animated series What If…? How was it for you? And would you like to speak to her again?

Evangeline Lilly: I absolutely loved that! I think that was my favorite Marvel project. It’s so liberating to just use your voice. I am a very lively person, I use my hands, my body, my facial expressions. When I’m pigeonholed, I can do all this without anyone telling me to play a little more moderately. So I could shake off the shackles, be free and have fun.

MOVIE BEGINS: Do you already know how long you’ll be playing The Wasp?

Evangeline Lilly: When I was filming Quantumania, I had no idea this was the first Phase 5 movie. [lacht] I do not know anything. I don’t know what will happen in the future. I don’t know what has happened so far. If I ask I may have more information, but I tend to do my own thing and if they tell me something, I’ll take it. Otherwise I live in blissful ignorance.

MOVIE BEGINS: “Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania” takes place primarily in the quantum plane. Was it difficult to get in touch with this world during the recordings, which is only added afterwards on the computer?

Evangeline Lilly: For me personally, it was actually easier because this time, unlike the first movie, I had no jargon or exposition. Before the heist in “Ant-Man” takes place, Hope has to list all of the ants’ Latin names and abilities and explain the heist in detail. But that wasn’t the case this time, so I didn’t have to learn any technical terms.

But we also shot the volume set [Anm. d. Red.: so wie bei „The Mandalorian“], which is surrounded by thousands of LED screens. And these screens show the quantum world as we would see it. So that I could see everything around me and play with that world.

And then they filled the middle of the set normally, so if there was a quantum boom, then there really was a quantum boom on the set or a quantum restaurant. So it required far less mental twisting than you might think…

MOVIE BEGINS: If you could shrink and fly like The Wasp, what would you do first?

Evangeline Lilly: I would fly to my kids’ school and just watch them. Not because I want to spy on them or scold them later, but because otherwise I’ll never get to know them outside of my relationship with them as a mother. And I would like that. I’d like to know what they’re like when I’m not there.

You have to be able to laugh at people in tight leather suits.

MOVIE BEGINS: Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is the first movie of Phase 5 of the MCU. Why are superhero movies so popular with viewers of all ages?

Evangeline Lilly: I can’t speak for all superhero stories as all the other major franchises pale in comparison to Marvel [lacht]. At Marvel they are very good at making their superheroes approachable. They don’t put them on a pedestal or take them too seriously, but realize that they are grown people in tight leather suits and that you should be able to laugh about it now and then. And they make these characters make the same mistakes and celebrate the same successes that we experience.

MOVIE BEGINS: At the same time, superhero movies have been harshly criticized by the likes of Martin Scorsese. How do you feel about the whole thing?

Evangeline Lilly: Entertainment is always a reflection of today’s society. Depending on what is happening in the world, we want to see different things in the cinema. In the 1980s, but also in the 1970s and 1990s, people were more hungry for heavy things that made them think and emotionally challenged.

But if you look at the Charlie Chaplin era and the two world wars or the Depression, people wanted lighter fabrics. They wanted to escape from reality, laugh, forget about their problems and not think about difficult issues or their already complicated lives. And I think we’re in one of those eras again right now. People are scared, angry and worried. And they just want to go to the movies and get away from it all. They want to experience a fantasy world where everything works out in the end.

“Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania” is in German cinemas since February 15, 2023.

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