How was it like to film the movie with four cats? Will the audience see Nick Fury engaged in fight sequences in Captain Marvel the movie? Is Captain Marvel key to defeating Thanos?

The Captain Marvel cast and its directors fielded these questions posed by a roomful of journalists who had awaited their arrival with bated breath at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center on Thursday morning. Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Gemma Chan, along with directors Anna Boden and Rylan Fleck, were in Singapore for the one and only media junket they made to promote Captain Marvel in Asia. The press conference was followed by a fan event in the evening.

While all the questions posed at the 20-minute press conference were addressed, it was apparent that some questions were answered more candidly than others. Here’s our attempt at reading between the lines (RBTL)*.

Questions for Samuel L. Jackson

Q (for Samuel L. Jackson): If Samuel L. Jackson were a superhero, would you wear an eye patch, a cape, a kangol hat, and why?

A: I would wear the eye patch because it always adds a bit of mystery, whether you need it or not.

RBTL: Kangol hats went out of fashion in the 1990’s, but they’re part of Samuel L. Jackson’s signature red carpet look in real life. However, as an onscreen superhero, an eye patch is legit badass. Besides, we’ve never seen Jackson in a cape, probably for good reason.

Q: Nick Fury is much younger in this movie. Will we see him in fighting scenes?

A (Jackson picks up the mic and exchanges long, consultative glances with his co-star and the directors): Yes.

RBTL: Duhhhh… Wasted question considering that reporters cannot ask follow-ups at this press conference! Should have asked “What kind of fighting scenes will we see a younger, intact Nick Fury in?”

 

Questions for the directors

Q: What were the greatest joys working with the cats (Gonzo, Rizzo, Archie and Reggie) and what were the most frustrating things working with the cats?

A (Boden): We had four cats play the main lead cat Goose, and Reggie is really the face, the heart and soul of the character. I remember that very early on in the development process, Kevin Feige looked at one of our outlines and said, we need a hundred per cent more of that cat in there, and he got it. And so did you.

RBTL: Sounds like Gonzo, Rizzo and Archie are just stand-ins for Reggie when he needs a break!

 

Questions for Brie Larson

Q (for Brie Larson): If you had a chance to be featured in Captain Marvel 2, which superhero would you like to be paired with?

A: My dream would be that Ms Marvel gets to come in to play in a sequel.

RBTL: Ooh a standalone sequel is not confirmed, but it could mean that Brie Larson is hoping that Ms Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, would be one of the characters in a standalone sequel if there were one.

Here’s some interest subtext you may like to know about. Captain Marvel, the Carol Danvers version, went by Ms Marvel in the 1980s to the 1990s. Until the 2000s, Captain Marvel and Ms Marvel were interchangeable names for our female protagonist and nobody was really specific about which moniker she used. Then in the 2000s, another character was created – Kamala Khan. She took on the name “Ms Marvel” and Carol Danvers stuck with “Captain Marvel”, so since the 2000s, Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers and Ms Marvel is Kamala Khan.

Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel is not only seen as a big step forward in racial representation but also a statement on not sexualising female heroes by dressing them in skimpy costumes.

Q (for Brie Larson): Captain Marvel goes on a transformative journey where she discovers her memories. In preparing for this role, you mentioned that you’ve been through transformations as well. Could you tell us a little bit more how you infused some of the insights you’ve gleaned from the experience of playing Captain Marvel and going through that transformation?

A: For me, it’s all about putting myself in experiences that allow me to front myself and then those real things like, infuse into the main piece and that’s what is her strength, and getting strong and meditating a lot on what females are trying to look like and not wanting to just emulate things I had seen on screen before, but to kind of understand what that felt like embodied within myself. And so I kind of went on this path, of just training everyday for nine months to see what I was made of and how strong I could get in the end, and it changed me so much – it changed my mind, it changed the way I view the world, especially martial arts, it’s crazy how differently you start to view the world and people that are standing in front of you.

Once I started doing more judo I’d be like, “Oh, that guy has a jean jacket on, I could totally throw him right now.” It’s just weird, your brain goes to all these crazy places. But there’s something about pushing yourself beyond the threshold that’s comfortable and going even further than that, and I was lucky to have a really great trainer, Jason Walsh, who got me into weightlifting. And it was really that, it was these moments of that breakthrough, of going beyond what was possible, beyond what you thought your body was capable of doing, and it means sometimes you end up on the floor crying, like begging for it to stop. But all of that is what Carol is. You know, when I see that montage of her over the years getting back up, I feel like that was 100% my experience in my life, in particular, in my prep for the film.

RBTL: Don’t piss Brie Larson off while you’re wearing a jacket. She can throw you! And also, she’s really encouraging people to pursue a fitness regime to challenge themselves and make themselves stronger, not just to pursue a certain body image – that’s really a empowering thought!

Q (for Larson): What was the motive for sending Samuel L. Jackson all those videos of you training? Was it to motivate him to get in shape and appear 30 years younger?

A: Nah, it was just to brag, legitimately, right? But it’s like, when you’re pushing a Jeep up a hill for 60 seconds, I feel like you have a lot to brag about it.

RBTL: Larson told Ellen DeGeneres on her show that she was not an athletic person before she took on the assignment to play Captain Marvel. She had joked with her trainer that since Captain Marvel is supposed to be able to move planets, she would feel ready for the role if she were to be able to push his jeep uphill. Two months into her training with Walsh, she was able to do it.

The question on everyone’s minds

Q: Is Captain Marvel key to defeating Thanos?

A (Brie Larson): Yeah that um, is a really great question that I absolutely cannot answer. But power to you for asking.

RBTL: She would never give away such a big spoiler, but hey it’s the elephant in the room and somebody’s got to ask!

 

Finally, a question for Gemma Chan

Q (to Gemma Chan):  How is it like to play Minn-Erva, after your success as Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians?

A: Astrid’s very gentle and kind, Minn-Erva is uh, kind of the opposite. The main thing was the physical challenge. I had to start doing kick-boxing training and sniper training. The main thing during Captain Marvel I had to be concerned about was trying not to hit myself in the face with my own rifle. That was like, an ongoing concern that I would accidentally do that. The one that I practised with was a bit shorter than the one we ended up using in the film, so I had to adjust for that. No, I loved it. It was great to play a character that was sarcastic; she has a lot of sassy one-liners.

RBTL: Minn-Erva is a badass villain in Captain Marvel, not a sweet-mannered heiress.

Captain Marvel opens in Singapore cinemas on March 7.

*Views expressed here are independent of any affiliation, are completely unqualified, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, and not to be taken seriously.

All images by Evelyn Goh of Alvinology.com.

Edited on Feb 18, 2019 to add on RBTL details on Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel.

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