CS Interview: Lashana Lynch on Creating Fierce Women in Captain Marvel
Meet Maria Rambeau, mother, Air Force fighter pilot and strong as hell. Captain Marvel actress Lashana Lynch talked to ComingSoon.net about shining a light on being an everyday heroine, being the mother of Marvel’s future, and bonds that we need more of among women on the big screen.
On March 8, Marvel Studios‘ Captain Marvel takes us on a new adventure where a galactic war between two alien races collides on Earth and at the center of the fight a woman rises to become the universe’s most powerful hero. Brie Larson stars as Vers, a member of the Kree-race of space warriors who’s determined to find out her connection to Earth when she crashes on it with flashes of past memories. With the help of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Vers tracks down the only person who might be the key to figuring out who she truly is–Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). Together they become something more and unite to fight battles they never thought they could.
Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patricia Whitcher and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve and Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet, and the screenplay is by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck & Geneva Robertson-Dworet.
ComingSoon.net: Okay. So I loved Carol and Maria’s relationship. My best friend and I, we grew up together, and she now lives in Japan, so she’s someone who like, I don’t see very often, but when we see each other, it’s like we pickup like no time has gone by.
Lashana Lynch: Yes.
CS: And I really loved that aspect of when Carol comes back and how Maria immediately is just like you are my own. Can you talk a bit about working on that relationship with Brie and how working with Anna and Ryan helped you bring that onto the big screen?
Lynch: Well, firstly, it’s very weird how art imitates life, because just like you, my best friend has moved countries as well. And it was kind of in the process, when I was shooting this movie, so I was able to like, really put that true emotion of, I’m missing my best friend. I don’t know when I’m next going to see her, into Maria. We just wanted to create an authentic female relationship that we all know and love, we’ve all experienced and we all see when we open the door in the morning. When you sit on the train or sitting in traffic, you see two girls just connecting and just having each other’s back on the daily, so it was nice to put that in a movie for all generations to see because we all know it’s real. It doesn’t often happen in cinema, but it’s always been here, and we’re just getting the opportunity to work with two directors who wanted to create as much authenticity as me and Brie wanted to create.
CS: Speaking of Marvel movies, okay, I want to know, what was the Marvel movie that made you be like, “I’m going to be in these movies, like, I’m going to work for this”?
Lynch: Hmmm… All of them? Well, the first like, proper audition that I had for Marvel was “Black Panther”. And having been a Marvel fan anyway and knowing where the comics can go, it was really beautiful to see Marvel just take a stamp and say, “We’re going to represent the continent right now and we’re going to represent just how beautiful a continent can be without being colonized.” So that really got me in my soul, because I think it just did so much for the black community and people of color in general. But just over the years, every single one has kind of like, gone up a notch. And every single female character has emoted so beautifully and that’s been presented quite beautifully. So I can’t pinpoint one, but I do know that when “Black Panther” came about, I was like, “Now I need to be here. I need to be a part of this family. I have things on my chest that I want to represent.” And now that I am a part of it, I see exactly the direction that Marvel had taken these characters, and it feels like a special moment for sure.
CS: Awesome. I did want to know about in creating the character of Maria, what are the personal touches that you added to this character that you’re the most proud of?
Lynch: I’m the most proud of representing single mothers. I wanted to smash the narrative of single mothers struggling, and being out of their depth and having to like, find a male to be in their household to support their child. That’s not true to everyone’s life narrative, and I just wanted to represent them authentically. I have a lot of strong women in my life and I wanted to just bring a different description of what strength means. Strength doesn’t mean that you need to be completely in line with yourself, fine all the time, and not let anything get to you. It means that you’re using every single experience that you had in your life to make you stronger. And I think that’s what Maria is. She has used her circumstance, her work environment, and the grieving process that she’s gone through with Carol to help her bring up her child in the most nourishing way.
CS: Speaking of Monica, Akira Akbar was such a scene stealer!
Lynch: I know. She is. I feel like I need to hire her as my like, new acting coach because she was just so, so open and free with how she approached Monica. It was so beautiful to watch her create someone who is uninhibited and just uses her voice as a young woman. There’s really nice moments in the movie where she basically tells everyone in the room, “I can be anything that I want to be, and I’m not going to let you smash that dream. I’m just going to stand by it.” And it’s just a nice moment because we’re all like, oh, here is a child who knows her mind already. By the time she reaches 16, the world will be changed because she’s the one that’s going to change it. So yeah, it just felt like she was embodying Monica from the audition process.
CS: That’s amazing.
Lynch: Yeah, perfect for the role.
CS: Did you actually have any conversations with her about what it was like to be a kid in that time?
Lynch: Oh. You know what? I actually haven’t thought about this before. We did have conversations. We did have a few conversations, but more of our conversations were like, what kind of mom do you think I am? And what kind of mom do you want? Like, what do you enjoy about your mom? And her mom was on set as well, so we had a lot of like, three-way conversations about what it means to raise a strong, young woman. But I more just listened to what was in her brain. I think that was more important than me trying to put anything on her. Do you know what I mean? She already embodied her, I just had to kind of take heed and learn from her, really.
CS: Yes, kid actors, they have that gift. They’re almost like little adults. It’s crazy.
Lynch: Literally. Literally. And so eloquent with it as well.
CS: For sure. But yeah, so going back to the 90’s, who did you grow up on as like your role models or people from that era that were your heroines?
Lynch: You know who was? And it goes back to mothers again, actually, Phylicia Rashad. Yeah, yeah in “The Cosby Show”. She was, for me, the epitome of elegant, strong, poised and in control black woman. And it felt like whoever doesn’t have a mom or whoever is separated from the mom or whoever just needs more of a connection with the truth that they already possessed, they could like, look at her and feel like, they could take some of her strength and use it for their own lives. Even to this day, actually, her–and there’s someone else that I used to watch–
CS: It’s all good, it’s all good.
Lynch: –Another person just came to my mind: Angela Bassett.
Lynch: She’s like, the mom and looks 20, so I don’t know how she’s been doing this for so long because she’s kind of like de-aging.
CS: No, for sure. I got to talk to her recently and I was just like… How?
CS: Teach me your ways.
Lynch: Literally. I saw her at the “Infinity War” premiere and was just like behind her like, I don’t know how I’m going to still breathe and talk to you at the same time, but I just want to say you’re wonderful and you represent so much. Yeah, those two women were just like, and still are, the epitome of grace, I think.
CS: Yes, that’s amazing. I saw an interview of you geeking out about your poster and what that meant to you? What has been your reaction to all the Maria toys? Have you seen them? Do you have them yet?
Lynch: I literally just got one yesterday. I’ve been looking at them online for a long time, and it’s weird when you see something online because it doesn’t really seem real. It seems like much like the shooting experience. It’s like, it’s not real until it comes. Like I think I just dreamed this up, and someone’s going to just like, smash that memory for me. But yeah, I got one yesterday, and it’s just yeah. I’ve got no words for it.
It just feels like it’s bigger than me, really. It feels like I’m just a vessel for where I want women and young women to go in this world. And it just made me realize it’s not about my journey, it’s about our collective journey. So for young black girls, for young girls in general, and for even boys to learn that yes, a young girl can wear a flight suit, yes, she can wear a boot and she can still be in control of herself and sassy and eloquent and all of the things at the same time means a lot because it’s not just about us, it’s about teaching the males who we are and reminding them of our power.
CS: Yes. Did you send your mom a picture of you with the toy?
Lynch: Oh my gosh, I haven’t yet. How dare I? I will, though. I will, though. Yeah, my mom’s pretty like, she’s geeking out about this whole thing, so I’m going to give her just all of my toys and merch that I had, and she’s probably going to curate like an area in the corner of the living room for Marvel. But yeah, it’s a special moment.
Captain Marvel opens March 8.