With reporting by Josh Horowitz
The Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces a brand new badass in this weekend's "Ant-Man," someone who has all the potential in the world to win fans over and become a favorite in this sprawling, multi-movie franchise in the years ahead.
Nope, not talking about Scott Lang, although all that certainly applies. I'm talking about Hope van Dyne, the daughter of Hank Pym, a key player in the central heist of "Ant-Man," and the person who throws a punch better than anyone else in the movie.
Although she doesn't get Black Widow levels of screen-time or action, Hope makes it clear throughout the movie that she's an important new addition to the MCU, one we have plenty of reason to expect to see again — and plenty of desire, too, thanks to strong work from Evangeline Lilly, and equally strong material.
But Lilly and Hope were not always fated to meet. Speaking with MTV's Josh Horowitz, Lilly says that she was in a unique position once Edgar Wright parted ways with "Ant-Man," in that she was one of the few actors connected to the movie, but not yet signed on.
"Not everyone had that luxury," she recalls. "A lot of people were left holding their breath, going, 'Oh God, I hope this works out.'"
Thankfully, it worked out, at least as far as Lilly is concerned. But what pushed her into finally agreeing to move forward with "Ant-Man," once Peyton Reed signed on to replace Wright, with Rudd coming along to contribute to the script alongside Adam McKay?
"What was important to me is that we address all these rich, underlying tension issues between her and her father, and that they not be glossed over or in any way trivialized — but that they actually drive the character," she says. "I think it's really easy to make a kick-ass cliched woman. What I never want, when I'm looking at a role, is a woman who just knows how to knock a man out or shoot a man. She actually has to have emotional dimension and have a character arc that I can identify and get on board with."
Lilly adds that she was just starting to have those conversations about Hope with Marvel, right around the time Wright left the film. Thankfully, she was happy to find that those conversations continued following Wright's departure, and that Marvel was just as interested as she was in creating "a fully realized and multidimensional human being" out of Hope.
"The thing that was the most encouraging to me is I could tell they wanted it too," she says. "They weren't humoring me. They were like, 'Yes! Yes! We want that!' I felt like they were actually open to my input to help them get there. That meant a lot to me."
What does the future have in store for Hope? We'll have to wait and see where everything lands after "Ant-Man" ends — but by the end of the movie, you'll have an idea or two.
"Ant-Man" opens on July 17.