Exclusive: Laurence Fishburne on Joining The MCU In ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp’Posted by Wilson Morales
July 3, 2018
Coming out this week from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.
“Ant-Man and The Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas.
Fishburne will play Dr. Bill Foster, who in the comics is an assistant to both Tony Stark and Hank Pym and who eventually takes on Pym’s Giant Man abilities and becomes known as Black Goliath. Last seen opposite Steve Carell in Last Flag Flying and with Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 2, he currently appears on the ABC Emmy nominated comedy series Black-ish. Fishburne is also no stranger to the comic book film world as he has played Perry White in 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Blackfilm.com spoke exclusively with Fishburne about his role and joining the MCU.
How did the role come about for you?
Laurence Fishburne: I was very much a Marvel comic fan when I was a kid. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe and had been hoping that I could enter it in some way, shape or form. I had a meeting with Louis D’Esposito, who had worked with a long time ago. He said, “You know what? Let’s think about that.” He came back and told me there is a character named Bill Foster, who was part of the whole world of Ant-Man and Hank Pym and that I might right for that. That’s how that happened.
Not only was Bill Foster a part of that world, but he happened to be a black character as apposed to your role in the DC film as Perry White.
LF: It’s really quite fortuitous what you said.
How much did you know about the Ant-Man world?
LF: I was not an Ant-Man. I did not know much about it. I was given as a gift the issues of Black Goliath by Paul Rudd when we were at the premiere.
How is Bill Foster in this MCU and you have caught up with the rest of the Marvel films?
LF: He’s Dr. Bill Foster, a former colleague and assistant of Hank Pym, who was involved in the same technology. They have a bit of rivalry and it’s about 20-30 years since they have seen each other. I’ve seen all of the Marvel films since the beginning, so I was caught up.
Are there any similarities of Bill from what fans will see on the screen and those who know him in the comics?
What does it say to you that film fans are now seeing some of the black characters from the comic books now make it on the big screen?
LF: It’s great and fantastic. Marvel did a great of being inclusive and really making their characters diverse from way back in the 60s. They started being diverse as early as then. Sam (The Falcon) first appeared in the 1970s, Black Panther appeared in the comics in 1969, Luke Cage appear in 1974, James “Rhodey” Rhodes appeared in 1970s, and women had had their own titles in Marvel when you talk about Black Canary or Black Widow. They’ve just been really good the whole time. They’ve also done a good job of taking material that was created back then and bringing it into the moment. This was part of my universe growing up. It was a part of how I educated myself. People don’t think of comics as far as being an educational tool but the fact is because I was reading comic books, I was reading.
How was working with Michael Douglas and the rest of the cast?
LF: It was awesome. I’ve been a Michael Douglas fan since I was a kid. I was really pleased to be able to work with him. He’s really a fantastic actor and a wonderful man. As far as working on the set with the rest of the cast, it’s always lovely. I love what I do. Peyton Reed the director sets a brilliant tone and Paul Rudd as the lead of our cast sets a really wonderful tone. Things are very professional but things are also loose and there’s a lot of fun to be had. It’s almost as much fun making the movie than it is watching the movie.
This is not your first rodeo playing a character with advance technical knowledge. Does it get easier speaking that jargon on the screen?
LF: It’s not even about that. Every story is different. Every character is different and it’s just about trying to ring as much integrity and authenticity to the character as possible.
With as many films that you have done, what goes into saying yes to the roles you take?
LF: It’s all about whether or not the material speaks to me, more that anything else. It’s just that. There’s no hard and fast rule for me. I have to like it on some level.
How much fun are you having doing Black-ish?
LF: We haven’t started season 5 yet but they are in the writers’ room now and I’m sure they will come up with some stuff that will be great, funny and all of that.
Is there any episode that stood out for you?
LF: I love the Juneteenth episode. That one for me was really significant. I also like the episode where Diane is having her menstrual cycle due.
After five seasons, is it easier to balance the film and TV world?
LF: I’ve always done TV and film. Back in the 80s, I was doing Pee-wee’s Playhouse and I was working in film regular as well. I was doing Pee-wee’s Playhouse at the same I was doing Spike Lee’s School Daze.
If you didn’t see the first film, what’s a good reason to see Ant-Man and the Wasp?
LF: It’s incredibly fun. It’s smart, funny and it’s family. You can bring everyone to it from 8 years old to 80 years old. It’s a great, great experience. I enjoyed it very much.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP opens in U.S. theaters on JULY 6.