If Evangeline Lilly isn’t buzzing over a role, she’s going to let you know.
The Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania actress revealed that, prior to becoming Ant-Man’s clever scientist Hope Van Dyne, she once turned down an unspecified role in an X-Men film that was personally pitched to her by Wolverine himself (aka Hugh Jackman). As Lilly recalled on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, the awkward moment occurred when she and Jackman were working on the 2011 film Real Steel together.
“[He] was like, ‘Hey, so, the X-Men guys are asking me if I would approach you because they know that you won’t talk to anybody,” she jokingly said. “They knew I was working with you and were interested to know if it would ever interest you to do an X-Men thing.”
But Lilly wasn’t feeling Professor X’s psychic connection — even though it meant having to decline the offer straight to Jackman’s face. “I was like, ‘No. It doesn’t interest me. I’m not interested,'” she admitted. “I was like, ‘I feel like such a dick because I’m talking to an X-Men! The X-Men! And I’m telling him, ‘No that doesn’t appeal. Like, what?!’ I felt so rude!”
If it makes Jackman feel any better, this wasn’t the first sizable superhero franchise role that Lilly had shot down. Earlier in the interview, the Lost star revealed that she also had a similarly ill-fated audition with Joss Whedon to play Wonder Woman too.
“I think my impression, coming away from it, was I had no desire and he could tell,” Lilly said about the experience, noting that she was “too young to be that polite” to at least fake interest in the idea of becoming the DC character.
“It didn’t appeal and there was nothing about the meeting that like, jazzed me or made me think like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta do this.’ Nothing clicked. Nothing felt good,” she explained. “I am way too authentic for my own good. I mean, it’s not good. If I am not impressed, you’ll know. And maybe you shouldn’t know sometimes.”
Lilly added that she thought there might have been a smidgen of “offense taken” on Whedon’s side that she wasn’t immediately on board with becoming the legendary Princess of Themyscira. “I was okay with that. I was okay with burning bridges,” she said. “I was okay with not having everyone in Hollywood wanna work with me.”
“I just always had to do what felt right for me,” she continued. “And honestly I wasn’t into superhero movies and that’s the main reason why, in both of these instances, I just kind of felt like I don’t know what I get out of this.”
The actress — who has since stated that she’d love to see a Wasp and Wonder Woman crossover — acknowledged that, at the time, she just didn’t see the appeal of superhero movies. “I often was very critical of them,” Lilly said. “Like, I was known to mock them and treat them as lower forms of entertainment until Marvel came around.”
In fact, she initially was going to turn down Ant-Man before she was encouraged by her agent to actually check out Marvel’s films. She added, “When I did, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re doing something very different and very cool.'”
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