Laurence Fishburne told us right off he’s a comic book fan, reading them since he was 8 or 9 years old. He plays Dr. Bill Foster in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, but astute comic book and movie fans noticed he also played editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet, Perry White, in DC’s recent Superman films. To that Laurence Fishburne responds, “for anyone that thinks I’m being disloyal to the DC franchise, I’ll say I’ve bought plenty of comic books from both.” Continue reading for more of Laurence Fishburne’s thoughts on comics, movie making, and his new role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, Laurence Fishburne’s character, Bill Foster, is a former colleague of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne who reluctantly becomes embroiled in Hank’s plan to reunite his family. Old animosities bubble up between the two scientists, whose approaches to their mutual research have led them down diﬀerent paths. As a comic fan, Laurence Fishburne was hungry to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). “I’d gotten involved with Marvel by watching the movies,” said Fishburne, “I’ve very much wanted to be a part of the MCU because of the way it’s progressing.” Laurence Fishburne let it be known far and wide that, “I would really like to be a part of the MCU, if there’s any way I can be a part of it, I’d like to be a part of it.” He added, “I would have played a fly on the wall; I would have played a piece of debris.”
When Laurence Fishburne met with Director Peyton Reed he found a kindred spirit – “a guy in his 50’s that loves comics.” Fishburne recalled, “When I ﬁrst met Peyton it was like meeting an old friend. We share a love for the medium of comic books and a real appreciation and understanding about why these stories are relevant to people. We connected on that level, so there’s a natural ease and ﬂow to working with each other. So the fact that Kevin Feige (producer) and Peyton found that I was a good match for the character of Bill Foster is huge. It’s a dream come true for me.” Laurence Fishburne continued, “What initially excited me about the role of Bill Foster is that he is a scientist in his own right, a contemporary of Hank Pym’s with the same level of smarts and curiosity. The fact that I’d be playing scenes with Michael Douglas and be a foil to him was a big factor. I’ve never worked with him before, so who in their right mind would walk away from that?”
It’s also fantastic to see a person-of-color playing a prominent, intelligent, scientist on the screen. Fishburne concurred, “It’s great because Marvel was doing stuff with inclusion since the 60’s and 70’s. After Apocalypse Now (1979), the only roles I could get were thugs, pimps, and bad-guys. I don’t mind playing villains. Villainy never gives me pause – heroes, villains, whatever it is, as long as you can make them human, then it’s fine – ‘pimps are people too.’”
And just in case you haven’t learned by now, you should NOT leave the theater during the credits of a Marvel film. Paul Rudd told us to ask Laurence Fishburne his reaction when he finally saw the mid-credits scene at the end of the film. FIshburne let out an, “OH SH*T!!!” and mimicked the look on his face at the time.
We couldn’t have a conversation with Laurence Fishburne without some mention of the role he is most known for, Morpheus in THE MATRIX (another movie series based on a comic book/graphic novel). When faced with the choice between the red or blue pill, Fishburne never hesitated in his response, “It’s always a red-pill day my dear.”
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.