Exclusive: Hannah John-Kamen Talks Tomb Raider, Ready Player One and Marvel’s Ant-Man & The WaspPosted by Wilson Morales
April 5, 2018
Currently in theaters is the #1 film Ready Player One, which is based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars along with Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Lena Waithe, Hannah John-Kamen and Mark Rylance.
The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger.
For Hannah John-Kamen, the is the second film within three weeks in which audiences have seen the British native on the big screen. She can also be seen opposite Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the reboot of “Tomb Raider.”
Best known for her sci-fi series “Killjoys,” her two episodes roles on “Black Mirror,” as well as appearing on “Game of Thrones,” John-Kamen is starting to make a splash in feature films. With just four feature films under her credits that includes “Star Wars: The Force Awakes,” “Tomb Raider,” “Ready Player One” and the upcoming Marvel film “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the light is shining bright for John-Kamen.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with John-Kamen as she spoke her roles in both films.
Let talk Tomb Raider, what role do you play?
Hannah John-Kamen: In Tomb Raider, the movie is paying homage to the video game, and it’s amazing because you get to see Lara’s vulnerability as well and her life before she has to take on this quest. My character is part of that life and part of her vulnerable side. That’s where I come in.
What came first for you, the game or the previous films?
Hannah John-Kamen: For me, it was the previous movies and then the game. That was my age growing up when the previous movies were in theaters. It was really fun to watch that. Then it was the game.
What was the attraction to doing the film?
Hannah John-Kamen: It wasn’t just the computer aspects of the game that got me to do the film. It was the whole concept and the whole story of Lara Croft. She’s a legend and it’s exciting and thrilling. That’s where my career is at the moment. I’m doing a lot of these movies where it’s set in a world where it is action and there’s a story and a lot of fights and a lot of thrill. It was definitely the script that got me involved.
What role are you playing in Ready Player One?
Hannah John-Kamen: I play a character called F’Nale Zandor. She’s amazing. She’s not in the book. She’s purely in the film as an antigonist. She’s very, very smart and very, very cool and very strong and she’s only in the real world.
How depth is your knowledge with technology?
Hannah John-Kamen: I’m intrigued by technology. I’m not a science wiz but i have that curiosity of where technology is taking us. I really do feel like it’s going to be like The Terminator in the future. It’s so fascinating to me where we are now and when you write sci-fi and you see sci-fi and when we actually are going to be and how true it is to reality now, it’s so fast growing. Ready Player One is setbin 2045 and we’re in 2018 now and it’s this virtual world. It’s the visors and we have that now. It’s the enhancement of that technology of where it could take us. That’s the harrowing thing about it.
Had you read the book?
Hannah John-Kamen: Yes. My friend read the book and he said “You should read this book” and he’s in a book club. So I read the book and that’s when I got a call from my agent. He said, “Hey, we would love to have you on tape for a meeting for Ready Player One.” I was like, “Oh my God, I know this.”
How was reading the script and looking for a character that doesn’t exist in the book?
Hannah John-Kamen: That was the fun bit. When I got the sides for a new character called F’Nale Zandor. I tought it was interesting. How true will it be to the book? How many characters are there? It was awesome to read that.
Ready Player One has a lot of pop culture references. What are some of your favorite things from that time period and what did you learn that you didn’t know about?
Hannah John-Kamen: I was literally in the love with the 80s. I love Stephen King. I love all the movies. I love all the music from the 80s. I always said that I wish that I went to an 80s prom. If you could go back in time, where would you go? What would you be? I’d love to be in the 80s. It’s incredible what the book and film does in bringing back things from that era.
Are there any movies from the 80s that you wish could have done or would like to be part of remake?
Hannah John-Kamen: I’m big fan of Back to the Future. Huge fan of those films. The first and second are my favorite. Just because it plays with time. That always fascinates me.
How was working Steven Spielberg?
Hannah John-Kamen: It was an honor to work with Steven. When I met in LA, it was just incredible when he told me that I got the role in the room. It was one of those moments where I was playing it cool until that moment and then I didn’t and that’s when the blend drained from me and was like, “What!” He was incredible to work with. He really is the legend that you have heard about and see. He is so fast and his team as well. They have worked with him since the beginning and it really shows because they work together like a family and he’s so smart. He knows exactly what he whats. We would sit and sing show tunes, which is fun.
You appeared in Tomb Raider, which also has Walton Goggins. The both of you will again in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Was that a coincidence?
Hannah John-Kamen: I think it was a coincidence. He’s a wonderful actor. I’m such a fan of his. In the world of acting, you will bump into actors and not know that you even worked on a movie together. You’ll see each other at the premiere and say, “Hey!” It’s just the world that we live in when it comes to this industry.
What can you say about getting a role like Ghost, that was portrayed as a male in the comic books?
Hannah John-Kamen: It made me feel like it’s limitless. It made me feel like an actor, like “Wow!” I don’t ever have to feel that I’m in a bracket or bracket myself. Anything can happen, especially in fantasy. It was a wonderful feeling.
Had you read the comics before getting the role?
Hannah John-Kamen: I totally did. I read a lot of Batman and Superman, but my favorites were Arkham Asylum on Batman because my dad is a forensics psychologist. I think I love the psychology of the Joker and Harley Quinn. I loved escaping to comics. I loved visually what it looked like. I think I was sometimes bored of reading so you want to look at something.
Have you seen Black Panther?
Hannah John-Kamen: It moved me. It was so good. The story was incredible and it really was relevant to today and expending. My dad is Nigerian and the tribal aspects of the film really resonated me. It was quite home. I was a huge fan of that. I have a couple of friends in the film so that was awesome. Letitia Wright and Daniel Kaluuya. It was great to see my friends just absolutely kicking ass. Me and Daniel first met when we did an episode of Black Mirror for the first season.
What’s the experience in being the Marvel universe?
Hannah John-Kamen: It was wonderful. To be a part of the Marvel family and it’s a big world, and it’s a fun kick ass role. It was amazing to with Paul Rudd and Peyton Reed. He’s such a phenomenal director. To come to a set where you feel safe and can really just play for the day, that’s exactly what it was.