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Article – Evangeline Lilly on Lost and Playing the Wasp


Posted September 21, 2018 by

Evangeline Lilly on Lost and Playing the Wasp

Lost and Marvel Cinematic Universe actor Evangeline Lilly was at Fan Expo Canada promoting her children’s book, The Squickerwonkers, recently and she took the time to speak to fans about her love for her character on Lost and the joys, and frustrations, of portraying Hope Van Dyne in Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Speaking of Lost, Lilly said that from all the characters she has played on-screen, her favourite is Kate Austen.

“I lived with her for six years; I lived and breathed Kate. She came out of so much of me… Kate was, in so many ways, exorcising my demons as a young woman through this character. I was forced to stay trapped on a real island for a long time, with this vagabond gypsy, that was a challenge! The whole experience was very immersive and I don’t think I’ll ever kick Kate.”

Evangeline Lilly

Lilly added that she has been able to see herself developing through the characters she has portrayed, “evolving from a young woman to an older woman, to a mother, to an older, older woman. And, the changes in me are sort of reflected in the characters I play.”

When asked by a fan which Ant-Man film she enjoyed shooting more, Lilly surprisingly said she enjoyed the first film more, acknowledging that the fans in the audience would be disappointed with her answer.

Critics had noted that Ant-Man, despite being an enjoyable film, had fallen into the trope of leaving the sole female character out of the action for her own protection. Many fans called for a change in tack, leading to Hope Van Dyne becoming a superhero and receiving equal billing in the sequel.

Ant-Man and the Wasp was tough,” Lilly explained. “It was a tough shoot, and it was particularly tough for me, because I am controlling. I had to share this character suddenly with an entire team of people – I had three stuntwomen on the movie, the special effects team, the editors, the post-production team, the producers and the director. Everybody had so much more of a say, and work to do to create this character, that I felt like, at the end of the day, I was responsible for 25% of her. That was so hard for me to let go of control and just say, ‘okay, I trust you guys and I’m sure it’s gonna be amazing’. I kept kind of grasping there, ‘no, give her back, I want to do it’. So, Ant-Man was more fun for me.”

Interestingly, part of the stunt-work that Lilly had to work on for Ant-Man and the Wasp required practicing Hope Van Dyne’s movements. “I choose how all of my characters will move,” said Lilly.

Alongside learning how to throw punches and kick, she spent time “standing in front of a mirror with two other stuntwomen and mirroring each other’s movements so we could be in-sync, so we would look identical when we moved – there would be one character, instead of three people.”

Evangeline Lilly in Ant-Man and the Wasp

But, there was one other aspect of Hope Van Dyne that Lilly wanted to focus on – her femininity. “I really wanted her to be feminine,” said Lilly, emphatically. “I didn’t want her to look like a dude fighting because I feel, very strongly, that to say a woman is only strong and powerful when she acts like a man is bulls***. We are powerful because of our femininity and not despite it. So, that was something I spent a lot of time building into her.”

With Lost’s Kate Austen, Lilly had gone with the masculine approach she eschewed for Van Dyne, because Kate is a woman who has her guard up. “Her femininity made her vulnerable when she was little and that made her very defensive and that created this masculine mask, which I thought, Sawyer and Jack were pretty good at getting behind.”

However, femininity alone is not what Lilly believes female characters onscreen require. Speaking of watching Avengers: Infinity War at its premiere, Lilly mentioned the scene where Scarlet Witch, Black Widow and Okoye team-up against Proxima Midnight, and how excited she felt seeing this interaction. According to Lilly, she leapt out of her seat, doing a fist-pump in the air, which she re-enacted for the Fan Expo Canada audience, because it “was this amazing moment with women just supporting women… that’s what I want to see, women supporting women!”

MCU Female Cast - The Real Stan Lee

Sadly, Lilly also finally put paid to the rumours of an all-female Avengers film being in the works. If it were to happen, she said she would love to do it, especially if she got the chance to work with Danai Gurira, who portrays Okoye in the MCU. “I have a bit of a woman-crush on Danai. She’s amazing!” It seems, at the moment, the all-female Marvel film is not on the cards.

Lilly went on to elucidate on the importance of including more women behind the scenes, as well. Speaking of women entering the film industry, she said, “It’s a big question right now because we’re in the midst of this mobilisation of women in Hollywood and across the continent, really. I’m very curious to see where that’s going to leave us.” Lilly said she hoped that the environment young women would eventually step into would be different from the one she entered 15 years ago.

“What I’ve seen from a lot of female filmmakers and producers is a hardening that’s happened because they have had to not just keep up with the boys in the boys’ club, but they’ve had to so far exceed their talent and intelligence in order to just be given a modicum of respect, and so there’s this hardening to get where they’ve gotten to, it’s been very, very difficult.”

Lilly ended her talk with the hope that in the near future she can meet fellow women in the industry who will speak of their entry into the world of films as nothing out of the ordinary, just as men do today.


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Louis Skye
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