'Captain Marvel' star Brie Larson pushes for off-screen inclusion

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actress Brie Larson is using her starring role in “Captain Marvel,” the first female-led superhero story from Marvel Studios, to advocate for women behind the scenes as well.

Cast member Brie Larson poses at the premiere for the movie “Captain Marvel” in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Larson, 29, who won a best actress Oscar in 2016 for independent drama “Room,” began campaigning for stronger female representation on and off screen more than a year ago.

So when it came to promoting “Captain Marvel,” which begins its international rollout on Wednesday, she lobbied for more women and people of color among those interviewing her.

“This film allows me an opportunity and a platform to be able to have more flexibility to do more, and I just took that opportunity,” Larson told Reuters Television.

In a speech last year, Larson noted that 64 percent of the reviews for Hollywood’s 100 top grossing movies in 2017 were written by white men.

“Captain Marvel” is not the first female-led superhero movie. DC Comics “Wonder Woman,” starring Gal Gadot, broke that barrier in 2017.

But like “Wonder Woman,” Larson said “Captain Marvel” had to pay more than lip service to women. The movie’s co-director and co-writer is Anna Boden.

“We’re telling a female story, but it’s not good enough to just be like, ‘You just hired a female lead and then we did it!’,” Larson said.

“You have to infuse it in every aspect. We have to make sure that we are actually bringing more seats to the table, that we’re walking the walk. We’re not just putting it on a poster, that we’re living it,” she added.

In the film, Larson stars as 1990s former fighter pilot Carol Danvers, who goes on a journey of self-discovery and becomes the powerful Captain Marvel, a superhero caught in the midst of a galactic war between two alien races.

It is also a tale of female friendship, with black actress Lashana Lynch playing Danvers’ best friend and fellow pilot Maria Rambeau.

Lynch said the film marked a “really special moment to be able to represent women and people of color in such a positive light.”

Larson, whose directorial debut “Unicorn Store” hits Netflix next month, said she felt encouraged by steps Hollywood studios were taking to be more inclusive.

“Sometimes it’s just (that) it takes one person being like, ‘Something seems weird,’ and people are like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re right!,” she said.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Editing by James Dalgleish


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