Walking into the room, lined with blueprints from the film, is Evangeline Lilly who plays Hope van Dyne and Wasp in Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. She’s lean but strong, with delicate features and a warm personality. She sits down in her short, dark Hope van Dyne wig and a single square of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate. It’s a rare treat for her since, she says, she keeps her family away from processed sugar as often as she can. Apparently, she and her husband are very strict with this.
“It’s about damn time,” Lilly’s character said at the end of the last Ant-Man film, and we couldn’t agree more. Lilly will be the first female superhero whose name is, or part of, the title since Captain Marvel has not yet been released.
While filming one of their last shots of the film – one that we got to sit on the sidelines for, complete with earpieces – she discussed with Paul Rudd the last time we visited to interview them. It’s always nice to be remembered!
The Importance of Her Titular Role
“I really love it here in Atlanta!” Evangeline Lilly said about the location where much of Ant-Man and the Wasp was filmed.
I immediately notice her Canadian accent; one not so easily noticed in her film roles. Lilly was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta and discovered in Kelowna, British Columbia by the famous Ford modeling agency.
“I think that was the first time it really sunk,” Lilly said about seeing her character’s name included in the Ant-Man sequel title. “People were telling me, even after the first one while I was doing press interviews, ‘How exciting! You’re going to be the first title female character in a Marvel film!’”
Lilly commented on the already popular MCU female characters like Black Widow and Scarlet Witch, noting what an amazing job they were doing for women. She didn’t immediately understand why playing a titular role as a woman in the MCU was a big deal at the time.
“Then, I saw the title and thought, ‘Yes, this is kind of special,’” said Lilly. “I think for the first time it sort of hit me what it meant for the female population, period. To see a woman’s name in a title in Hollywood is a very unique experience and I think it’s happening more and more but it’s still a far cry from where it should be.”
Harassment In Hollywood
With everything that’s been in the news about Harvey Weinstein and other men in Hollywood being called out for sexual harassment, Lilly says that her role in the MCU and in the film’s title is very timely.
“At the bottom line, this film is about female empowerment and about a woman being powerful. [These situations] made me feel very weak and very vulnerable and very emotional. It was a really hard thing because I think we’ve all experienced some level of… whether it’s harassment or discrimination or abuse, like all the time. We always deal with it. All those little things for me just came tumbling all together and hit me, all at once. It wasn’t news for a moment; it was everyday. It’s all people were talking about on set.”
This conversation with Evangeline Lilly took place over 6 months ago and the subject is still very topical. Lilly said that it’s been empowering for her to be the Wasp during this time when she’s been already feeling vulnerable and emotional.
“I hope that Hope is the heart of the film,” Lilly said. “I hope that she really drives the narrative of the people we care about and why we care. Ultimately, you can have the greatest fights in the world, but without caring about the people who are fighting, the movie’s just gonna fall flat.”
How She Almost Starred In Captain America: Civil War
“I knew that if the first [Ant-Man] was successful, I would probably become the Wasp,” Lilly said about her future in the MCU. “But there was no guarantee… it was sort of like going to Vegas. I was just banking on the fact that, hopefully, it wouldn’t be the first Marvel fail. That would be horrific! If you were the first Marvel fail!”
Ant-Man was far from a box office failure, having made over $500 million in the U.S. alone.
“Originally, the plan was to put her into Civil War. Thankfully, the very sensitive and intelligent heads of Marvel Studios decided that, if they were going to introduce their first [titular] female superhero, rather than throw her into an ensemble, they should give her an origins movie, essentially,” Lilly told us. “Although we already saw the origin [of the Wasp] in the first Ant-Man, it’s really kind of about seeing her take on the mantle of the Wasp and not that she just happens to be fighting with Captain America.”