Brie Larson feels lucky she can talk about feminism for Captain Marvel
US actress Brie Larson says sharing female experiences on the movie has been like a 'dream'
Barely a minute into a roundtable interview with The New Paper and other media at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre two weeks ago, Captain Marvel co-stars Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson were trading quips and wisecracks.
The US actors, who were in town to promote the upcoming superhero movie, became fast friends after working together on the 2017 monster flick Kong: Skull Island, and that chemistry has been put to full use in the latest instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Early reactions from critics note a playful buddy-cop vibe and the trailers for Captain Marvel, opening here on March 7, are full of banter between Larson, who plays the titular character, and Jackson, who reprises his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury.
"This is the comedic duo you didn't know you needed," Larson, 29, said. "You can't make up chemistry. We just have this special thing."
Jackson, 70, added: "We bonded really well when we were doing Kong, running around, hanging out in trailers and going from bad location to bad location. You have to find a way to make it fun when it's not fun traipsing through the woods and the water and bugs."
Another plus for Larson? Being able to get female complexity on screen.
That was what fuelled her during the 75 days of filming and the nine gruelling months of training to prepare for the role of Carol Danvers or Captain Marvel, who becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.
"It is almost a year to really go at something really hard every single day and it is very easy to burn out," she said.
"So you have to have something that is kind of in the pit of your stomach, this undeniable thing that you can remind yourself of that makes (the endeavour) feel important, like it's more than just making a movie."
In addition to British actress Gemma Chan, who was also at the roundtable interview and plays Kree sniper Minn-Erva, the other women in the film include Lashana Lynch as Maria Rambeau, an air force pilot and Danvers' oldest friend, as well as Annette Bening as the Supreme Intelligence, an artificial intelligence that rules the Kree Empire.
Larson said: "For me, making sure we had a film that talked about all the different kinds of female experiences... was really powerful and exciting.
"Because a film like this is so big, I knew that I would be able to share certain concepts on a much larger scale than I had been able to previously...
"I feel so lucky that I made my first big blockbuster movie and I just get to talk about feminism all day. I never would have thought that was a possibility for me. That is like my dream."
Added Chan, 36: "We can talk about it to death, but I think just seeing it and seeing the response from young boys and girls, I think the film will hopefully speak for itself."
As the first MCU film with a female superhero as its central character, she felt Captain Marvel was a long time coming.
She said: "I am slightly surprised it has taken this long. Is this the 21st (MCU film)? I think it is about time."
For Chan, signing on took a little leap of faith because she did not get to read a script prior.
She recalled: "Then I was suddenly there and I had to start training. It all happened quite quickly. I had less than three months, so I felt like I was playing catch-up a bit."
Chan said she was told early on that her character would have blue skin, but it did not really hit her that she would have to spend four hours for hair and make-up each time.
"I didn't think it through really," she joked.
For Jackson, Captain Marvel will mark the end of his nine-picture deal with Marvel, although he is set to appear in Spider-Man: Far From Home, opening in July, and has said he does not plan on retiring the character.
With the movie set in the 1990s, before he gets his signature eye-patch, fans can expect to see a more wide-eyed Nick Fury.
The veteran actor, who said he has only seen the trailers, added: "Nick is not as worldly, smart and cynical.
"This is a brand new Nick Fury, learning, meeting his first extra-terrestrial."
In order to play the younger version, which was modelled after Jackson in the 1998 film The Negotiator, he had to put motion capture dots on his face and was digitally de-aged by 25 years, the first time Marvel has done this for the length of a film.
"I know it is my Negotiator face and that's fine. I had dots on my face and it was more up to (the other actors) to act like I didn't."
Reflecting on the evolution of superhero films, Jackson said that things have changed drastically and for the better, but with 21 films in the MCU has only just scratched the surface.
"There is a lot of stuff that is going to happen over the next few years in that universe that I may or may not be part of, but I am glad I was a part of.
"I am glad that they have people like these two ladies who are carrying it forward and it is going to be awesome."