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Female friendships, diva cats, and de-aging at the Captain Marvel press conference

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Mar 6, 2019

Captain Marvel opens in theaters on March 9, and star Brie Larson is set to take us, as the tagline says, “higher, further, faster.”

SYFY FANGRRLS was given the opportunity to attend the press conference for the first Marvel film with a female lead. Among the special were Larson herself, Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, Marvel President Kevin Feige, and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Flack.

Larson spoke about the idea of playing a female superhero who was complex, stating that she didn’t think a perfect superhero was “realistic or something aspirational at all.” She told the crowd that the thing that she loved about Carol was that she didn’t lie down but got back up after failures. When it came to training to portray the character on-screen, Larson also shared the difficult process, which took place over nine months and often left her sobbing in the gym, but by the end she was able to deadlift 225 pounds and hip thrust 400 pounds. She also pushed a Jeep up a hill for 60 seconds!

Jackson plays a de-aged version of himself, something that Feige said wasn't much work at all, for either Nick Fury or Agent Coulson. Jackson spoke about playing a younger version of Fury. He explained that his character is a “kind of gentler, not-so-simple, world-weary, chip-on-the-shoulder Nick Fury who hasn't met anyone from another universe just yet.” He told the crowd that it was fun to “not be the all-knowing, angry persuader that Nick Fury always is." He also joked about it being great to have two eyes so he didn’t have to cover one while learning his lines, and that the dots on his face for the de-aging made him feel like he was in Wakanda.

Jude Law, who plays Carol’s Kree mentor, said that his kids were happy about his role in a Marvel movie, but “they cared only as an actor with a teenage kid, so like, ‘Yeah, it’s cool.’” He also spoke about his big takeaway from the film, saying, “I think you always take away the experience of meeting new people. Every job you do. That's one of the blessings of the jobs we have. You meet and work with a whole new group of people. And I think that's always a blessing.” He joked that the thing he misses the most from the '90s, where the film is set, is the rock band The Verve.

Larson explained that the real love in this movie is the love between Carol and her best friend Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch, who said she campaigned for the role. Lynch said that the characters “found power wherever they find connections. I feel like they have a sarcasm together.” Larson expanded by saying, “I think what they've gone through together, going through military training together, being the only women. And then using each other to lean on each other through that type of support, and a recognition of their experience is really special. Of course, I think they would have been friends outside of that experience. But I think that that's a really tight-knit bond that they have, and their family.”

Clark Gregg reprises the role of Agent Coulson as a young man, and Gregg was very excited about one thing. He said, “I've gotten the thrill of taking my young daughter to a bunch of Marvel movies, but I'm taking a 17-year-old young woman to see Captain Marvel next week. And I've never been more excited to take her to anything, ever.”

Gemma Chan plays Minn-Erva and explained that this was a really fun role after what she did in Crazy Rich Asians. “It was really fun going from playing Astrid, who is this very warm-hearted, kind, empathetic person, to Minn-Erva, who is much ... well, she's got a harder edge. She’s sarcastic … a little bit of a mean girl.” She also told us that she learned that playing a blue character meant, unfortunately, being in the makeup trailer at 3 a.m.

As you may have read in the first reactions to the film, the cat Goose (played mainly by a cat named Reggie, as well as Gonzo, Rizzo, and Archie) steals the show. When asked if he was a cat person, Jason said, “No, I am not a cat person. But I'm also not a dog, fish, or bird person, either. No. I just don't engage pets. Reggie is like most animals that people bring to set that have been trained to do this, that, or the other, he's snack-oriented. Give him something to eat, he shows up. You know, you give him something to eat. You toss something nice to him, give him something to eat again, they love you.” Larson, who is allergic to cats, said that you had to be quiet when Reggie was shooting, and she got in trouble for yelling something about going to Shake Shack while he was working. What a diva! Boden did call him a “very well-trained, very directable cat.”

Finally, a 12-year-old reporter asked Larson what she hoped kids would take away from the film. Larson turned it around and asked her what she thought of the film, and the answer was, “I thought it was amazing … I loved you as Captain Marvel, because I thought you were such an empowering female role figure. And role model, and I think that all my friends and me, when we watch the movie, we'll all really appreciate that.” There were audible sniffles in the audience.

Captain Marvel will hit theaters on March 8.

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