I wasn’t sure what to expect from an interview with actor Laurence Fishburne. The roles he’s played – whether it’s Morpheus in The Matrix or his portrayal of Nelson Mandela – have been vast in their differences. After he walked into the room to discuss his latest role in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, I can only describe his presence as calming but commanding.
“That was quite a greeting,” Fishburne said after walking into a room filled with 25 social media influencers, all clapping and cheering for him. “Thank you for that. That was lovely. Thank you so much. It’s nice to meet all of you.”
Fishburne’s voice has a calming factor to it; almost like you want to curl up and have him read you a story. But his voice is deep, so it also commands attention.
Having portrayed Daily Planet newspaper editor Perry White onscreen in both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Laurence Fishburne has now moved from the DC Universe to the MCU. He plays biochemist Dr. Bill Foster in the new Marvel film, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Did you know? In the Marvel comics. Dr. Bill Foster earned his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Foster worked as a biochemist for Tony Stark (Iron Man). Then, he was hired to be the lab assistant of Dr. Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. When he used Dr. Pym’s particles on himself, he became “Black Goliath.”
Laurence Fishburne Was In The MCU Is Earlier Than You Think!
Because Fishburne has been a part of both DC and Marvel, we asked him how he liked working with Marvel… and if he agrees that Marvel is better.
“You’ve answered your own question,” he said, laughing.
“First and foremost, I started reading comic books when I was very young,” Fishburne told us. “Probably like, eight or nine years old. And I always read DC and Marvel. I love them both. I’m just grateful and happy to be a part of that small group of actors who’ve been in both universes. And you know, for anybody who thinks I’m perhaps disloyal to one or the other all I can say is, look, I paid money for both comic books.”
Fishburne is actually part of an increasing number of actors who’ve traded DC for Marvel films. James Marsden, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Natalie Portman, Josh Brolin, and even Zoe Saldana have jumped into the MCU from DC.
So how did Laurence Fishburne get added to the list of actors who’ve migrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
“I’ve been reading [comics] for a long time; been watching the movies, too,” Fishburne explained. “I ran into the director of the director of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – his name’s Tim Story – and I said to him, I said ‘Hey man, I’m Norrin Radd.’”
This introduction, apparently, didn’t spark anything for Story, who had no idea to what Fishburne was referring.
“So I had to tell him about the origins of the Silver Surfer and Galactus,” Fishburne said. “I was like, ‘I should play that part in it’, so he was kind enough to cast me to do the vocal performance in that movie. That was my first foray into the Marvel universe.”
I had no idea that Rise of the Silver Surfer was Laurence Fishburne’s first Marvel film! I don’t think I ever thought to research the voice behind the Silver Surfer, AKA Norrin Radd!
“And then, I don’t know, three or four years back I was just… I couldn’t help myself,” Fishburne said. “I wanted very much to be a part of the MCU because of the way it was progressing; they were doing such great things.”
Click below to hear Laurence Fishburne talk about how he became Dr. Bill Foster!
Since Laurence Fishburne is such a fan of Marvel comics, he also knows that Dr. Bill Foster also becomes the giant sized superhero, Goliath. So, is it possible that we might see Goliath make an appearance in the MCU in the future?
“Let me put it to you this way,” he says, and we all sort of lean in as if he’s about to break Marvel protocol and reveal a secret, Tom-Holland-style. “I am not at liberty to speak on such an operation if in fact such an operation exists.”
It has been rumored that going forward, the quantum realm might play a huge part in the MCU and, as Fishburne put it, “…who knows about the quantum realm?”
His character’s knowledge of the quantum realm does put Laurence in a very valuable position should the rumors about importance of the quantum realm be true, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Either way, Fishburne says, he’s thrilled to be a part of the MCU. “I was very, very happy to jump in, all four feet. I would- I would have played a fly on the wall. I would have played a piece of debris in the Marvel Universe.”
[click_to_tweet tweet=”“I was very happy to jump in, all four feet. I would have played a fly on the wall. I would have played a piece of debris in the Marvel Universe.” – Laurence Fishburne on joining the #MCU #AntManAndTheWaspEvent #AntManAndTheWasp” quote=”Tweet to share what Laurence Fishburne said about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe!”]
Laurence Fishburne On Being A Villain
The characters of Dr. Bill Foster and Ava are both very complicated, both in their roles and their relationships within the film. Whether or not you call them villains is up to you once your see the film, but we have a feeling that the consensus may be split on this one.
“A character I played in a movie called Cotton Club,” Fishburne said,
“was a pimp and a thief and a gambler. That’s… pimps are people, too!“
“Bill is a surrogate father, or a foster father, to Ava,” Fishburne explained, “so that was nice; it gave me something, you know, human to play. I mean it’s one of the best things about the Ant-Man character as Paul Rudd plays it… his most important relationship is with his daughter. And it’s executed, I think, brilliantly in both movies.”
“There’s nothing wrong with villainy,” he added about the way his character might be interpreted. “Villainy is great! And, you know, if you go way, way back… go back forty years, you can see I did a lot of villainy coming up.”
Laurence Fishburne has portrayed a few bad guys in his day. He was cast as a a rapist in Death Wish 2 with Charles Bronson, a murderer in Apocalypse Now, and a drug baron in a movie called Band of the Hand.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”My favorite quote from my interview with Laurence Fishburne: ‘A character I played in a movie called Cotton Club was a pimp and a thief and a gambler… pimps are people, too!’ #AntManAndTheWaspEvent #AntManAndTheWasp” quote=”Tweet about my favorite quote from Laurence Fishburne… ‘Pimps are people, too!'”]
“A character I played in a movie called Cotton Club,” Fishburne said, “was a pimp and a thief and a gambler… pimps are people, too! Heroes, villains… whatever it is. As long as you can make them human then it’s fun. Whether it’s a hero or a villain, you wanna humanize them and allow the audience to have the experience of, ‘Maybe I don’t like what he’s doing, or maybe I don’t like what she’s doing, but there’s something in them that reminds me of me.’”
As I’m writing this, it takes all of my self-control not to make the audio bit “Pimps are people, too” my ringtone. Perhaps I will, my friends. Perhaps I will.
His Reaction To THAT Mid-Credit Scene
When we previewed Ant-Man and the Wasp last month, the mid-credit scene took everyone by surprise. I can’t yet reveal the details of the scene – and if you’re planning to see the movie, trust me, you don’t want me to – but I can share with you the hilarious reaction that actor Laurence Fishburne had.
Fishburne had no idea it was coming, so his reaction was pretty much our reaction.
Click below to hear Laurence Fishburne’s reaction to THAT mid-credit scene!
The Marvel Characters He Wants To See In Stand-Alone Films
Since Fishburne is a comic book fan, we asked him which characters he thought deserved their own stand-alone film.
“There are several,” he confirmed. “Several. Well, you know… this character already has their own movie. And it’s coming. And there’s been a gender change from…”
Fishburne smiles as we recognize that what he’s referring to is the forthcoming Captain Marvel film with Brie Larson as the title character.
“What I love about Captain Marvel – if you don’t know the history,” Fishburne tells us, “Thanos is a Captain Marvel villain, and Captain Marvel is kickin’ his ass regularly. So I’m so excited to see that.”
“Oh, there was a character that I would have loved to have done if they were ever… I couldn’t do it now at my age. But there was a character in Marvel Universe called Brother Voodoo who was kinda freaky and weird. And supernatural. That would be a cool thing to see.”
We may not see Laurence Fishburne as big, bad Brother Voodoo, but we love him as Dr. Bill Foster in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp in theaters July 6!
*Interview photos courtesy of MomStart.com