Hannah John-Kamen plays Ghost in Marvel’s ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. A conflicted antagonist, Ghost literally shows up seemingly out of nowhere to knock The Wasp to the ground to get Dr. Hank Pym’s latest piece of technology. Hannah John-Kamen was thrilled to be the first to embody Ghost on screen, and told us all about it during the #AntManAndTheWaspEvent. Continue reading to find out more about the young lady actor Hollywood Legend Michael Douglas says we’re going to be hearing a lot about.
After making her feature film debut as a First Order Officer in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, Hannah John-Kamen was added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). “It was so exciting to join the MCU,” Hannah John-Kamen said, “but it’s daunting and overwhelming to take this amazing character off the comic book page and introduce them to the world.” The Ghost character goes back over 30 years to Marvel Comics Iron Man #219, and was originally a male character shrouded in secrecy.
Hannah John-Kamen explained,
“I googled Marvel Universe Ghost, and found out it was originally a man. We went a whole different way. To be the first person to lift this character off the page, and make it a strong bad-a$$ woman was really fun. With the character in the comic books, Ghost didn’t have a whole lot of backstory, so we had the freedom to create this character.”
Producer Kevin Feige elaborated, “as we were developing the story for ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, we began to play with this notion of the Quantum Realm and the way physics changes the body when you begin to experiment with it. We decided to adapt a character from the comics called Ghost, who is able to go through walls and be completely intangible.”
Hannah John-Kamen’s version of Ghost is the alter ego of a young woman named Ava, and the filmmakers intentionally wanted to go with an actor less recognizable to an American audience. Producer Stephen Broussard added,
“Hannah just blew us away with her intensity, her vulnerability, and with her sense of humor. You need someone who can engender sympathy and vulnerability for what they’re going through but also still be scary as the heavy and the villain. And Hannah checked all those boxes for us.”
Intensity is definitely the word for Hannah John-Kamen’s Ghost, and director Peyton Reed helped Hannah channel all her rage into the character especially during fight scenes. Hannah John-Kamen explained how she did all her own stunts for the film.
“I’ve been doing my own stunts in my career for a really long time. I think it’s important to do as much as you physically can. We all have different powers and styles of fighting, so it’s important to bring yourself into the character.
Whenever I do a fight scene, I get this real adrenaline rush, I get a real high, and don’t want people to come near me.”
As soon as Hannah John-Kamen was cast in the role, a full-body scan followed so her body form could be established and the costume department could begin building and individually placing hand-sculpted pieces on Hannah’s form. The sculpted, semi-rigid pieces would then be cast and glued on to the skin tight neoprene suit, which allowed for maximum ﬂexibility for both the actress and her stunt double.
A helmet, mask and hood round out the headpiece, which was aﬃxed to the base suit. Based on the comic design, the helmet, in turn, is designed in a way that the eyes eerily don’t match up with the human eyes. And therefore it’s very, very diﬃcult for the actress to see or the stunt person to see.
Regarding Ghost’s containment suit Hannah John-Kamen said, “It’s a very cool suit made of neoprene with a hood and this crazy mask. It’s deﬁnitely menacing and diﬀerent. I haven’t seen anything like it yet in any other Marvel ﬁlm. What’s amazing about the suit is its construction. It’s all built together with such intricate detail. The costume contains 40 pieces, and it takes three people to put it on. Seeing yourself in the suit on set, you think, ‘holy cow, you made it!’”
With Ghost and The Wasp (played by Evangeline Lilly), there are plenty of strong female characters in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. “Evangeline Lilly and I yelled ‘girl-power’ all the time and chest-bumped over being super heroes,” Hannah John-Kamen said. However, she’s also excited for young girls to have more characters they can relate to on screen. Hannah John-Kamen explained, “with both me and Evangeline I want young girls to come away from the film and think, ‘yeah, I can be strong and bad-a$$.’” Oh, she also wants little girls to have cool toys to play with too.
Like many Marvel villains, the story of Ghost is not simple, and it’s clear Hannah John-Kamen does not look at Ava/Ghost as a villain. “Marvel does a great job of not making things black and white,” John-Kamen says, “through my eyes, she is the good guy. In the MCU, I think everyone’s redeemable.”
Towards the end of the film, the audience understands why Ghost needs Hank Pym’s tech much clearer. It’s not about world-domination. Ava’s reasons are deeply personal and multi-layered. Which could be why when we asked Hannah John-Kamen if she could be any hero in the Marvel Universe she answered, “I’d be Ghost; because she is a hero.”
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is playing everywhere now, and our spoiler-free review says it’s just the laugh we need after Infinity War.