Original-Cin Q&A: Lashana Lynch, Captain Marvel's high-flying BFF talks working with Brie and multi-Gs in an F-16

The latest Marvel movie is upon us.  Captain Marvel starring Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson, is the comic-book empire’s first stand-alone movie to spotlight a female heroine.

Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel  is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroeswhen Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

The film’s solid cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Ben Mendelsohn) includes Carol’s best friend and fellow fighter pilot, Maria Rambeau, who is played by British actress Lashana Lynch.

Lashana Lynch as Captain Marvel’s pal, USAF pilot Maria Rambeau. Believe it or not, she’s flown these things.

Lashana Lynch as Captain Marvel’s pal, USAF pilot Maria Rambeau. Believe it or not, she’s flown these things.

Our Bonnie Laufer spoke with Lynch about her excitement of being in a Marvel movie, how she sees her character as a true hero and making this movie for her mother.  

Original-Cin: What an opportunity to be cast in Marvel movie. What does it mean to you to be part of this universe? 

Lashana Lynch:  “It’s amazing! I’ve been a huge fan for a long time. So as a fan, and watching the movies, I always get so excited. But then to be actually cast in one? Wow, all I could think of was how am I going to be a fan and be part of this family at the same time? How am I going to mesh those two parts of my mind together?  I honestly don’t know how I am making it work, but I am going through the motions. It’s been wonderful.”

OC:  What was your immediate reaction when you found out that you landed the role of Maria Rambeau? 

LL: “I was actually with two of my friends from home in Los Angeles having dinner and I got a call from my management team to let me know.  

“I initially couldn’t hear anything, I mean they were talking but I truly couldn’t hear anything that they were saying. When I finally processed what they were saying, I fell on the ground in sobs of tears! When I got off the phone I took a walk down the street and my friends were saying, ‘Your life is going to change. Do you know what a big deal this is?’  

“I just couldn’t take it all in, but I do remember needing to go to my local pharmacy because I really needed face wipes and trash bags trying to decide if I should get the two for one special.”

OC: Hey, a girl needs to put her priorities in perspective! 

LL: “Yeah, it was such a surreal moment in my life and I was at the CVS!” (Laughs) 

OC: Maria Rambeau is really such a great character to play because she’s not only Carol Danvers’ (Captain Marvel’s)  best friend, but she is really a hero in her own right.  

LL: “Absolutely! That is actually the first thing that I realized when I read the script. Because  everyone who watches a superhero movie thinks that all the ‘heroes’ are going to have some sort of special power  like shape shift or throw proton blasts.

But Maria’s superpower is  being a woman (first) and being a single mother. I think that she has just done an incredible job by harnessing that power and injecting it into this incredible, wonderful daughter of hers, Monica (Akira Akbar). If that’s not a superhero then I don't know what else is.”  

OC:  Tell be about working with Brie Larson and how you established your relationship with her? 

LL:  “To be honest I never had to develop a relationship with her at all. We were just two women on the same page  from the get-go. We knew what we wanted, we knew  how we wanted to represent women in the movie and in all movies. 

“From our first audition together, I could see that she was just a good human being.  You know you meet some souls sometimes and  you immediately know that you want to be their friend. That is exactly how it was with Brie.  This is going to be great.   

“We hung out a bit before we started shooting and she was wonderful. So developing that friendship was so easy on screen it was just two women connecting with each other.” 

OC:  There was some preparation work for you as well. How cool was it to do some fighter pilot training for the role? 

LL: “So cool!  That’s something you don’t get to do every day! That was a special moment for me. I got to fly with these two incredible female fighter pilots  at Luke Air Force base, and they just treated me as though I was a part of the team.   

“They let me in on their meetings  and they literally taught me everything that they could within two days. At the end, they were kind enough to let me fly their F-16, which feels so weird even saying it out loud!  So surreal!” 

OC: Any sickness up there?

LL:  “Thankfully no! I can only describe the feeling as  your eyeballs coming out of their sockets landing in your back pocket. And you want that to repeat over and over again because it’s just such an incredible feeling. Your whole body is going through this whirlwind of an experience. I can’t liken it to anything it’s just wonderful.” 

OC: With all the stars on the set, you had to be a little star-struck. You had some great  scenes with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn  two amazing guys in their own right!  

LL:“It was like a pinch me kind of moment but i have to say it felt weirdly natural and normal because they are really nice, natural and normal people. They couldn’t do enough to welcome you into this space.

“And you know what?  Everyone is having a brand new experience, even someone like Sam who has been a part of the Marvel Universe for years is playing a new version of himself. He’s never experienced 40-year old Fury either, so it was pretty incredible to go through that with him. 

“Ben Mendelsohn was hysterical, such a funny guy and constantly made us laugh on set. Everyone was just so welcoming and lovely.”

OC:  What does your mother think about all of your success and in particular your role in this movie?  I understand that she raised you as a single mother, so this really has to hit home for you on so many levels. 

LL:“Yes, it did. This movie is for her and other women that I know that are like her doing such an incredible job with kids who wanted to be actors! (laughs)  

“That’s not easy to see your child as something, and know that they can be that thing and then do it on their own.  

“This movie is unquestionably for her. This is my ode to her. She’s done an amazing job and when she found out the news she was just  screaming at the top of her lungs. It was her moment and I couldn’t have been happier because it’s all for her.”