After her turn as Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, both in her titular standalone introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and later in Avengers: Endgame, it’s hard to imagine anyone but Brie Larson in that signature role. But as she revealed in a new video on her recently started YouTube channel, she’d initially turned down the role a few times.
“I remember getting a call when I was shooting [Kong: Skull Island] … and they said Marvel is interested in you playing Captain Marvel,” recalls Larson in the video (below). “I was like, ‘I can’t do that. I have too much anxiety. That’s too much for me. I don’t think I can handle that.'”
She then told her team to turn the role down, but a few months later Marvel came knocking again. “They were like, ‘Hey, they called again. Are you sure?’ [and] I was like, ‘Yeah. I’m too much of an introvert. That’s way too big of a thing for me.’ It was beyond my comprehension.”
Finally, Marvel came back a third time, because, as Larson explains, her team hadn’t really turned them down. “Every time I was telling them no, and I thought my team was telling them no, they were not. Because I think they were like, ‘She would be great as this.'”
The actress goes on to say that part of her initial hesitancy also had to do with her inability to multitask during a project. “If I’m on a job and I’m playing a character, I can’t self-tape. I can’t do anything else. I can only do one job at a time. I’m embodying this character, [so] I can’t think of anything else.”
When Kong eventually did wrap filming, Larson was able to take a meeting with Marvel, which included a pitch and a mock-up of her character’s costume.
“I was very moved by what they were trying to achieve, [and] what they were talking about. It felt very progressive,” Larson states, thinking back to that early stage in the casting process. “I was very surprised by that, by the way they were talking about feminism [and] the way they were handling it. There were all female writers, [a] female director, [and it was] going to have as many female voices in this as possible.”
Larson began to consider the role, asking to meet with the writers so she could see what they were doing and whether the story made sense. “That’s a whole level of fame I never expected to participate in,” says Larson of the pitfalls of taking on such a role. “The only way this works is if I believe in the story and what the messaging is.”
As history shows, it was something Larson ultimately became completely on board with, as it left her excited to step into Danvers’ flight suit and become the first female Marvel hero to headline her own film. And just like her character, accepting the role — and everything that came with it — was a pivotal moment for the actress.
“It was a big step for me in embodying myself, in believing that I could do something so big, in my confidence as a leader and the belief in storytelling,” she adds.
Of course, as Larson also notes in the video, Captain Marvel wasn’t the first time she’d gone in for a part in the MCU — though it was certainly the biggest role she’d approached. She’d also auditioned for both Iron Man 2 and Thor, though she didn’t really state which characters she might have played in either film. Other projects she tried out for but didn’t get include Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Jennifer’s Body, and even The Big Bang Theory.
She also looked back on another iconic role she did get during her Oscar-winning career: Envy Adams in Edgar Wright‘s film adaptation of the graphic novel Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Not only has the film gone on to become a cult classic that celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, but her cover of Metric’s “Black Sheep” has become a fan favorite, with the much-requested track even featuring on the upcoming vinyl soundtrack of the movie.
Larson is set to return as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel 2, which will be directed by Nia DaCosta (Candyman), and written by Megan McDonnell (WandaVision). There’s no news on when filming on the project is expected to begin, but the movie is scheduled to fly into theaters July 8, 2022.