Evangeline Lilly reprises her role as brilliant quantum physicist Hope van Dyne in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. While Hope’s as focused and driven as ever, it’s clear she has no interest in or need for Scott Lang (i.e., Ant-Man). During the #AntManAndTheWaspEvent, we interviewed Evangeline Lilly and she revealed she had no interest in superhero movies when first presented with ANT-MAN. In fact, going even further back, Evangeline Lilly really had no interest in acting whatsoever. So what turned her around? Continue reading to find out.
In the comics, The Wasp, was a founding member of the Avengers alongside Ant-Man, and its ﬁrst Super Heroine. The Wasp ﬁrst appeared in Marvel Comics’ “Tales to Astonish #44” in 1963, and Evangeline Lilly was excited to be the first actor to bring her to the screen. However, it wasn’t always that way. Evangeline Lilly elaborated,
“When I first got approached about working on ANT-MAN, I said, ‘no, I’m not really interested in super-hero movies.’ My agent said, ‘Paul Rudd is the lead.’ When I heard Paul Rudd was going to be Ant-Man, I was totally in! Everybody loves Paul Rudd. He’s so loveable. He’s so freaking talented. My favorite thing about working with Paul is watching the movie. I love the movie, because I’m working with Paul, and I know it will be a movie I love.”
In addition to playing Hope Van Dyne in ANT-MAN and now ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, Evangeline Lilly has starred as the elf Tauriel in THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG and THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, Kate in the LOST television series, and many more characters, but she originally turned down an acting and modeling career. Evangeline Lilly explained,
“Yes, I got into acting by accident. Before I hit puberty, I was called a brainiac. My thing was over-achievement; my thing was ability and intelligence. Then I hit puberty, and my entire identity changed regarding how the rest of the world saw me. Boys wanted to touch me in ways I didn’t like, and girls hated me for things I couldn’t control. I decided I needed to not stand out, and spent 5 years trying not to stand out, trying to be a wallflower. I never wanted to be defined by being a pretty face.”
Evangeline Lilly continued, “then someone told me, ‘I think you’re afraid of your own greatness.’ I realized how much I had been hiding and trying not to shine. I decided I would start to just let my light shine. I wanted to exercise my brightness and be bold and bright. I just wanted to go out and shine. I started auditioning and didn’t think about jobs. After my fifth audition, I was cast in LOST. I was not thinking about jobs, I was thinking about expressing myself. I learned it’s OK to be big… it’s OK to be big, but in this case I get to be teeny.”
If Evangeline Lilly was hesitant to appear in a super-hero film, she threw herself into it once she took on the role – especially becoming Marvel’s first super-heroine title character. “Marvel really wanted to honor this moment of having a female super-hero being built,” Lilly explained, “they are really passionate about having a female super-hero.” It was especially relevant to play opposite Michelle Pfeiffer who played Catwoman in 1992’s Batman Returns. Evangeline Lilly explained, “I used to fantasize about being Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Partly because it’s Michelle Pfeiffer in a skin-tight costume and owning it. But also, because there weren’t many female super heroes to choose from.”
The fact that in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Michelle Pfeiffer now plays Hope Van Dyne’s mother was an additional thrill. Evangeline Lilly said, “Michelle Pfeiffer is a dream to work with, and that she’s my mom… if anyone tells me that I can pass as her daughter, I would kiss them forever.”
As Evangeline Lilly prepared for her return to the role of Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp, she knew the physical preparation for The Wasp action sequences would be vital to building the character. However Lilly’s training was different than other superheroes. Lilly said, “I spent way less time worried about getting my body rock hard and getting visible muscles. We just didn’t want to take a dude and put him in a woman’s body. Women are strong because of our femininity not despite it. I wanted to show The Wasp fighting by incorporating grace and femininity, ballet and flexibility.”
With this moment in our culture with “Me Too” and “Times Up,” the time is right for The Wasp and a superheroine to take the lead, and Evangeline Lilly is just the right person to pick up the mantle. Evangeline Lilly is devoted to philanthropy, traveling and gaining higher knowledge of various cultures around the world. She has volunteered for children’s projects since the age of 14 and during college founded and ran a world development and human rights committee. Fluent in French, Lilly loves reading, writing, painting, music, nature, staying active, learning and travel. Evangeline Lilly may not have been interested in playing a superhero, perhaps because she already was one.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP opens July 6, 2018, and our spoiler-free review says it’s just the laugh we need after Infinity War.