Captain Marvel Set Visit Interview: Lashana Lynch

The woman behind Maria Rambeau offers details on her character, hints at the future, and waxes nostalgic about the '90s.

by | February 12, 2019 | Comments

Marvel released a TV spot for Captain Marvel during the Grammys on Sunday night and though we didn’t spy much in way of new footage with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), we are now able to grasp a bit more on the tone and tenor of the character’s defiance. The “Ready” trailer intermixes echoes of the tagline, “Higher. Further. Faster.” with male voices imposing limitations: “They’ll never let you fly,” “This isn’t a game of little girls,”  and “Give it up.” In the trailer, our heroine battles back in every way imaginable, fists clenched every time she’s knocked down, and ends with her spouting a final rebuke, “I’m kinda done with you telling me what I can’t do.”  A mic-drop moment, to be sure.

When we spoke to Larson on set, she clued us in to the fact this would be an in-your-face girl power movie, which was always Marvel’s intention. “I had a meeting with Marvel. They wanted to make a big feminist movie.” It was at that moment that the Oscar-winning actress knew she couldn’t turn it down, adding, “It’s kind of everything that I’ve wanted.”  Alongside Carol in her journey on earth is Maria Rambeau, an Air Force pilot and the mother of Monica Rambeau, who, let’s just say, is a major figure in the Captain Marvel canon. Played by Lashana Lynch (who some may remember from the short-lived ABC Romeo and Juliet continuation Still-Star Crossed), Maria is Carol’s best friend. Here’s our chat with Lynch on the set of Captain Marvel, where she told us about her relationship with Brie, ’90s nostalgia, and why Maria’s “everywoman” status is what makes her great

Where does her character fit in the story?

Marvel Studios
(Photo by Marvel Studios)

“We are going from the beginning. We’re going from before Carol Danvers got her powers. We have us being set in the mid-’90s, which are nice because we have lots of flashbacks, memories that we all know and love, and wish we were still in, personally, especially the music. Carol Danvers [and I] are Air Force pilots. You catch a lot of us being the strong, driven, bold females in the workplace, in a male-oriented environment.  It’s nice to see flashbacks and see how women can burst through that environment and still hold their own — not having to have a man telling them what to do, tell where to stand, tell them how to look, not to be glamourous at work, not having to wear heels and the pencil skirt, and be on their Ps and Qs. Just being a complete badass going to work. We just wanna rule the world and feel fly doing it, and I feel that’s what my character does, as well as being a mom.”

What was her preparation for the role?

“My first film was a film called Fast Girls, where I had to play an Olympian and a hurdler. From that, I’ve changed my diet and changed my perspective on athletes, and how they approach their work, physically. Food and fitness literally go hand in hand. For Captain Marvel, we do a hundred squats a day, or three hundred abs a day. I’m trying to see if life is still existing whilst doing these abs. Being a fighter pilot is enough to set the bar high. Being a female fighter pilot is more than just being strong and being able to do a good job. It’s a whole life. It means moving around a lot; it means training with only men, especially in the ’80s. It means pulling Gs. Like, your eyeballs are in your skull. It’s [a] whole thing.”

What’s in store for Monica (her daughter) in the MCU?

“At the present time, she’s 11. Most of the time, she’s 11, so I honestly don’t know. I feel like there’s, there’s always some things in the works when it comes to the MCU, and there’s always things changing. They go by the comics, but they also switch things up sometimes to keep us on our toes, to keep us excited, and as a Marvel fan, I’m always excited why they didn’t go by the comics with that particular detail, and then how it unravels down the line.”

Carol and Maria’s Relationship

Marvel Studios
(Photo by Marvel Studios)

“They are best friends in the beginning, absolute best friends. They were in and out of each other’s houses; Carol was very close with Monica. She almost, I would say, helped raise her. I’m a single mother, and she was just in her house a lot.”

What happens to Maria when Carol gets her powers?

“When Carol gets her powers, it’s kind of like she doesn’t have a friend anymore. It’s hard for her to deal with that, being a single mom and being left at home to be a different type of superwoman, which she loves and respects. But there is a little bit of something when your friend goes off to do something amazing ‘out of the country.’ You just wanna be in their space constantly, all the time, and maybe she isn’t there or even in the world anymore, is frightening. She feels abandoned in the most strengthening way, because then it helped her to raise her child in a way that no other person would be able to raise their child.”

Maria is just a mom and a badass who happens to be a Woman of Color

“I’m glad. That’s why Marvel is great, because they literally just tell the story, and I’ve worked my whole career to just be able to tell a story. And if I can walk into a room and get a job, and have the casting director not care about or even mention [my race], and still [give] me the job, then I feel like I’ve already won. So we don’t talk about it.”

Her long journey to join the MCU

“I’ve been a Marvel fan for 10 years, but I’ve been aiming to be in a Marvel film for two years. And when I say aiming, I mean, like, every single time there’s an audition, I’m like, ‘I’ve gotta get in the room.’  I [was] in London; they’re trying to send tapes to L.A., which is a whole other crazy thing, as well, because every single film is individual and amazing. I’m playing a new character. It started with Black Panther. I looked too young for one and too old for the other, and that didn’t happen. But I’m really happy  Letitia Wright got it. She is bombastic, and a fellow Brit. With this, I went in not knowing what it was. It went in not knowing who it was, if it was one line or a lead character. Nothing.”

Her relationship with Brie

Marvel Studios
(Photo by Marvel Studios)

“Brie’s been incredible from the jump, literally from the test with her. The reading with her was amazing. She was very giving and very supportive, and any actor reading with another actor just knows that it’s nerve-wracking, and you just wanna do a good job. And then [after] the table read, we had a lot of conversations about making sure that the female is the center. The female gets to be a female instead of an accessory. I don’t want any female to feel like they’re sidetracked by a man’s journey. She was really vocal about just telling the truth through our stories and being and being bold, and I realized through that, Marvel can be collaborative in this process. And every actor that’s gotten on board that had an idea. It starts as one thing, and every single day, the characters build into something else that makes you feel like you are really a part of this world, which is quite exciting for me.”

How will her character deal with all the Alien weirdness?

“She weirdly gets used to it. I think being a fighter pilot, you are exposed to so much weirdness, like pulling Gs casually. She is prepared for any eventuality. It’s nice that she has that background to face these weird creatures. She’s not scared. She’s not scared at all. Neither is Monica. She’s definitely here for taking in the experience and contributing her expertise to these situations instead of using it as a way to kind of retreat out of it.”

There are little touches of the ’90s everywhere

(We notice Maria’s throwback 90’s Necklace )

“The necklace says ‘Monica.’ That was my idea. It says ‘Monica’ because it’s the ’90s, [and]  I am here for that.”

Captain Marvel opens everywhere March 8.

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