FROM THE 'CAPTAIN MARVEL' PRESS CONFERENCE - 14 FEB 2019, MARINA BAY SANDS
Anyone and everyone hoping to learn more about ‘Captain Marvel’ and/or the superhero’s role in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ from the Asia press conference of the former movie would most certainly be deeply disappointed.
Despite being touted as the only promotional stop in Asia, the event at the Marina Bay Sands on Valentine’s Day (14 Feb) was staid to say the least. Samuel L. Jackson displayed little of his sharp, straight-talking self during the half-hour conference, while Brie Larson did not divulge anything that you wouldn’t already know from reading previous reports.
In fact, the most amenable of them all was British actress Gemma Chan, who plays the supporting role of Kree geneticist Doctor Minerva in the movie. Displaying a keen enthusiasm to engage with the journalists gathered in the room, Gemma eagerly described her role as being diametrically different from that of Astrid in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.
“They couldn’t be more different,” said Gemma. “Astrid is gentle and kind, and Minerva is kind of the exact opposite. She is naturally sarcastic, and I had a lot of sassy one-liners that I really enjoyed.”
But the most significant difference between the roles was the physical challenge of playing Minerva. “I had to learn kickboxing and sniper training,” she said. “My main challenge was trying not to hit myself in the face with my rifle, because the rifle that I had practised with was shorter than the one we used during filming.”
The physical training she had to undergo for the titular role was also clearly on Brie’s mind, which was just about as open as she was prepared to be about the movie.
“I kind of went on this path where I trained every day for nine months, and it changed the way I viewed the world,” Brie said. “Like I would see a guy with a gym jacket on, and I would say to myself, oh I could totally throw him right now.”
She said that the training helped her relate better to the emotional journey which her character went through in the movie. “There is something about pushing yourself beyond the threshold where you felt comfortable,” she explained. “You could end up on the floor crying, but when I had to play Carol picking herself up, I could totally relate to how she was feeling.”
Even though shooting the action sequences were tough, Brie clearly relished the experience. Recalling a sequence she shot early on with Jude Law, she said: “I remember us going back and forth at each other like we were dance partners. And after 16 hours, I remember sitting in a car covered with cuts and bruises, but absolutely loving it.”
She was however tight-lipped when asked point-black whether Captain Marvel would reverse everything Thanos did in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. As expected as that was (given how Marvel Studios would probably have issued explicit instructions what could be said), she was also not willing to shed any light on the “emotional journey” on which Captain Marvel would go on in her origin movie, only going so far as to say that “the character moments in between the big fights were handled with as much care as the explosions”.
Neither for that matter were directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck prepared to share anything more than what they already had.
When asked how they managed to snag the biggest movie of their careers (after a decade in the indie circuit writing and directing such critically acclaimed movies as ‘Half Nelson’ and ‘Mississippi Grind’), the couple would only say that their vision of Captain Marvel as “complex and dynamic, tough and vulnerable” was exactly how Kevin Feige saw it.
Sticking to the obvious (from the trailers), Ryan said to expect “awesome action” that takes place everywhere from space to alien planets to mountains and deserts and even on city trains. Like Brie, Ryan alluded to the “emotional journey” that Captain Marvel would go on in the movie, but said little else specific.
Contrary to his onscreen personas we’re used to, Samuel was absolutely reticent during the event. Asked about playing a younger Nick Fury, Samuel said it was fun having two eyes for a change (as opposed to wearing an eyepatch). In another case of stating the obvious, Samuel said that the version of Nick in the movie has less instinct and less knowledge.
If there was one new thing we learnt though, it was that it took “a lot of cameras making a lot of 3D holographs” to get the suits right in the movie. It was the rare bit of detail which Brie (perhaps inadvertently) shared after Samuel spoke of the “body scans” that the cast of each Marvel movie had to go through, saying how he would not be surprised should the late Stan Lee pop up in subsequent Marvel films.
Frankly, not even the novelty of seeing the stars in the flesh could make up for our sense of disappointment about the event – after all, if we could already have read about everything they were willing to share, then why bother having them say it one more time for the sake of it?
That said, it hasn’t dimmed our excitement of seeing the movie, which early word has heaped much praise on. We may not have left seeing the stars feeling Marvel-lous, but we sure hope the film leaves us just that way.