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Evangeline Lilly fought hard to make Ant-Man and The Wasp embrace its femininity

The Wasp will have you know she is not trying to do it like a man

Ujjainee Roy @UjjaineeRoy 6 July 2018, 4:23 PM
Lilly is the first female lead to be in an MCU title

Lilly is the first female lead to be in an MCU title Image: Twitter

Ant-Man and The Wasp sets a milestone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — which comes a few years too late (you can thank the Black Widow solo movie — oh right, it doesn't exist). It's the first MCU movie to feature a woman in its title in its decade-long history.

Evangeline Lilly — the woman in question — plays The Wasp in the latest MCU outing. She can shrink to a height of just a few centimetres, can fly and can also fire bio-electric energy blasts.

Interestingly, the original Wasp aka Janet Van Dyne was one of the founding members of the Avengers in Marvel comics. She appeared in the first issue and even gave Avengers their name in Avengers Issue #1 in 1963.

The original Wasp aka Janet Van Dyne was one of the founding members of the Avengers in Marvel comics

The original Wasp aka Janet Van Dyne was one of the founding members of the Avengers in Marvel comics Image: Twitter

Fifty-five years later, Janet's daughter Hope Van Dyne is taking the legacy forward and reclaiming what's hers. Lilly plays The Wasp aka Hope. Her mother Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) aka the original Wasp is stuck under a quantum realm, after a mission gone astray, and it's upon Hope to make things right.

And Lilly reveals she had to fight pretty hard to make things right in the MCU — which has kind of been a boy's club, give or take a Black Widow.

"She (The Wasp) moves differently than a man. I wanted her to have a signature style that little girls, like I was when I was a feminine, girly little girl, would be able to fall in love with, emulate and relate to in their own movements," Lilly told The Hollywood Reporter.

"Men can, of course, be compassionate or feminine, but femininity is at the core of what is disrespected in the patriarchy, so it was important to me to always push for feminine qualities to be apparent when she is dealing with situations — how she emotionally reacts to them," added Lilly, who first got to know about the movie's name, when she got a surprise email with nothing but a JPEG of the title card.

Lilly, whom you might have seen in the TV series Lost or in the The Lord of the Rings franchise, pointed out that the realm of fantasy or sci-fi in Hollywood still needs a female voice.

"In the sci-fi/fantasy space of Hollywood, it's even more predominately male than in some of the other dramatic spaces, so I'm used to trying to be that voice in the room," said the actor.

Lilly admitted the MCU bosses were mindful of all her requests to stop the female superhero from ending up as a 'mommy stereotype,' and she really, really pushed back against that.

"It would be so easy with her nature, personality and drive to get her mother for her to become the motherly figure that's constantly scolding the juvenile boys, saying, 'Now boys, let's focus, let's stop goofing around.' I was just was terrified of the idea of this female superhero who's meant to represent a modern woman being some kind of horrible stereotype of 'mommy,'" the actor admitted.

Lilly thinks The Wasp is a woman who can take a joke, but gets the job done. "I really challenged myself on this film to shut out all of those critical voices, and the male pressures to conform and to really stand up," she added.

Lilly has brought her own voice to the MCU, and we don't just mean on screen. A few days back, during an interview, she roasted male actors who complain about being uncomfortable in their superhero suits. 

Especially since women in Hollywood are uncomfortable... always. "I have been hearing Marvel male superheroes complain about their suits for years. And I got into my suit and I was wearing it, working in it, doing my thing, and I was like, ‘it’s just not that bad’" Lilly opened up to the Backstage OL.

"Do I have the most comfortable suit in the MCU? Or have men not had the life experience of being uncomfortable for the sake of looking good?” she clapped back, and raised her stilettos which did not spell out comfort in any way.

"This is like normal. I wear heels to work. I’m uncomfortable all day. ’You get used to it. You tune it out’," Lilly said. So, there you have it — MCU's women are clearly ready for a change. Hey MCU, you looking?

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