In July 2018 the heavily anticipated Marvel film ‘Captain Marvel’ was on the tail end of filming in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, one of the many on-location settings for the movie, The film stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, an air force pilot who acquires superhuman powers after an accidental alien encounter. The story takes place in the 90s as Danvers strives to make the world a better place while coming to terms with the powers within her.’ The film arrives March 8, 2019.
From directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, ‘Captain Marvel’ is filled with a roster of A-list talents including Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, with Annette Bening, with Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. During filming Blackfilm.com got the opportunity to sit down and speak with a few members of the star studded cast and discuss their experience being apart of the colossal project.
We got a chance to chat with star Lashana Lynch about working on her first Marvel film and how she found out she booked the gig! Lynch is most known her starring role in Shonaland’s short-lived ABC period drama, Still Star-Crossed.
Lynch will be playing Maria Rambeau, one of Carol Danvers’ oldest friends and fellow Air Force pilot using the call sign Photon. She is also a single mother to a young daughter who has some superhero aspirations of her own.
In the Marvel comic books, Maria’s daughter is Monica Rambeau who gains the ability to transform her body into any form of energy within the electromagnetic spectrum after being exposed to extra-dimensional energy. Initially taking on the name Captain Marvel, Monica eventually takes on a variety of codenames including Photon as seen in one of the photos.
How does it feel to be in your first Marvel film?
Lashana Lynch: It feels kinda good!
What was your reaction when you got the final call that you got it?
Lashana Lynch: Good question. So prepare yourself. There’s bits of this story. So I’m in a restaurant right with my two friends. We’re chilling, having some food, and then my manager calls me at like 9. That’s not normal but I don’t think anything of it and my friends straight away are like, “Yo, it’s the call. My gosh.” And they start filming me. I’m like, “Okay, sure. I’m sure she’s just calling to see how I am.” Even though it’s 9:00. So she’s trying to connect everyone, can’t hear anyone. Eventually one of them say, “Congratulations.” ‘Cause I’m like, “I need to hear the words. Just give me the words ’cause it could be you saying well done for getting so far and I can’t deal with that conversation right now ’cause it’s been two years. So give me the words or let’s just get off the phone.” So they said, yeah, congratulations.
I just dropped on the ground and was like thank you God yes. My friends are going crazy. My two friends from home by the way. They’re doing their London thing. And then, we’re just walking and just saying, “So you’re life’s just changed then. Like you’re life’s literally just changed.” I was like, “It has, it has. I can’t believe it. But I can believe it because I knew within myself. I knew it was happening.” I knew the whole week, as soon as I got that first call that there was an energy around the call. There was an energy around the meetings. There was an energy around the numerology I was experiencing that week, which I’m very into.
Then we walked towards, my house was in Hollywood at the time. Then we passed CVS and I remembered that I needed face wipes and Bimbox for some reason, trash bags are in. So I went into CVS and I was looking at the face wipes and my friends are like, “Are you sure you need to do this right now?” And I’m like, “Yeah. I feel like I really need to discover, should I get the buy one get one free, should I get the …” My friends are like, “We’re definitely sure you can afford tons of face wipes in the next couple months.”
Anyway, got those, went back home, called my mom and I told my mom that day that I wouldn’t call her unless it was the call. So it was 5:00 a.m. at home and she’s Jamaican. I’m Jamaican by the way. So she’s like, “You got it?” And I’m like mm-hmm (affirmative). So I got the call. She’s like, mm-hmm (affirmative). I said, “So I got the part.” And screamed and the whole thing. Then it went blank for like three seconds. She said, “What you said? We can’t hear you? What you said? We can’t hear.” I was like, mom this is a lot. My friends are listening. Anyway, eventually I told her. And that was the moment ’cause she’d been praying for this for years. She’s the biggest … she’s the reason why this is all happening. So it was important for me to connect with her back home. But yeah, that’s what happened. So I dropped to the ground, went to CVS, did what I needed to do, told my mom, then went to bed.
Did your mom pull you into acting?
Lashana Lynch: No. Not at all. I found it by myself. So I sang before I acted. I sang since I was seven. I went to drama classes and singing classes. My elementary school teacher looked like Mahalia Jackson and sounded like Mahalia Jackson so she taught me what a vibrato was and how to communicate through song. Then that just transcribed into drama school. Went in there for three years, got my degree, then it just spiraled from there. Got my agent at drama school as well, who I’m still with. And yeah, just the usual really.
John Boyega mentioned that sometimes doing American accents hurts his throat, which I thought was was interesting. Did you ever find any challenges with doing American speech?
Lashana Lynch: Not in terms of health, no. That’s kind of worrying. John, I need to have a word. Maybe when you’ve done it for so long … this is my first time doing an American accent in a project outside of drama school.
I wanted to find a balance between a general, but with the southern sounds. We don’t want it to be like way over. But it was important to me to get the black realness in this film. So there’s little points where I deal with Monica [her daughter] and she’s just trying me and I do that, ‘if you stop don’t right now.’
There’s just like she’s a disciplinarian, she’s strong, she’s bold, she’s fierce, she’s honest. She’s the backbone of the family, she’s single, she’s a single mother which was important for me to play in this lifetime because I come from a single parent household. Even though I’m very much in contact with my dad. So there’s little moments that as a mom and daughter it was important for me to show that black household. Because I wouldn’t wanna watch anything with a single black mother and her child just being cas and like, as Jamaicans say, acting like they’re your size. Like we’re not the same size. You’re my child. You listen to what I say. And if I do this you know what it means.
What might the musical soundtrack feel like?
Lashana Lynch: I don’t know. There’s a point when I’m playing music, a song played under the scene. I’m really interested to have a conversation with the directors about what that could be ’cause they have an idea and I have my own ideas.
What are they saying about when it comes to the black experience? Like the audience is gonna need a chance to see, obviously with the success of Black Panther looking with microscopic eyes on this black culture. So what are you most excited about?
I think firstly that we’re following up in just the next year after Black Panther. We have a black character. Because Marvel could have easily just used everyone else or put in someone else. They have so much scope that they could have done anything with it. It was really important for them to stick with Maria and actually with the Monica story. But Maria didn’t necessarily have to be there. They could have just put Monica in down the line.
I feel like the black community over the last couple of years have just shifted into this new level of consciousness, if you like. I feel like Marvel had a great opportunity to bring the black community right here, they brought them there, we came together and I feel like with this, having a single black female mother running a household who is strong, bold, raising a queen, it was important for me to carry that through. If we weren’t gonna do it that way then I would have had conversations. But they already had things in place. Which means that they were already considering and thinking about it.
So that was a new thing. Also discipline in the household from a Jamaican background, there’s certain things that I just wouldn’t get away with as a child. We’ve definitely put some of those things in to make it known that as a single mother, you have to do both roles and doing that comes with expecting a lot from your child. But with Monica having a mother from the military, she had to grow up quickly. They moved around quickly. She learned and matured quickly.
I think that’s really shown here and it sets Monica up really nicely for her future as well.
When you play a character that’s relatable, it has a tendency to really, really change your life. You’re gonna be everyone’s favorite person in the world when this movie drops. Are you ready for that?
Lashana Lynch: Yeah. Yeah. As ready as I can be without understanding physically what that means. I’ve been ready for this industry as much as I can. I’ve done a certain amount in my own country and it’s been amazing. But it’s a shift. It’s a different level and I just roll with the punches of they come along. I have fantastic people like Sam who are gonna guide me through as I go into this new phase of my life.
Guide you through your loss of anonymity.
Lashana Lynch: I have been private and probably always will be. So that will be a challenge. But you just roll with the punches. I think you have a choice. You can either just love it and love the attention, or you can just make your own choices and teach people how to treat you when you’re in the United States.
You mentioned auditioning for several Marvel movies before. Which were your favorites coming into this?
Lashana Lynch: Black Panther. I love Black Panther.
What part did you audition for?
Lashana Lynch: Shuri. The thing is, I was taping it all from home. This Captain Marvel was the only one I had been in the room for. So it’s funny how that happened so quickly that then five days. I went out for this last year. I read Jude [Law’s] character with him. Off the page. Then, I think yes. Then another one, which I can’t remember.
How top secret has this process been? Did you guys get the entire script for the movie or was it bits and pieces.
Lashana Lynch: I did actually. I did get the entire script. The day before the table read I got the entire script. But before that I didn’t know. I had a week or something like that before, after getting cast, to just maul on it. Then I found out who I was properly playing. Because I thought I was playing Monica at the start. I thought they were gonna shift the age or something like that and make it Monica and that made sense. But then bringing the mother in with the time setting that’s in the beginning, that made even more sense.