Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
You may have read this morning about the concept art driving Marvel Studios’ cinematic retelling of CAPTAIN MARVEL’s story. But at a recent press junket for FREE FIRE, the film’s badass star Brie Larson dropped a few substantial, but heavily guarded hints at what we can expect from her portrayal of “Carol Danvers.”
The Academy Award-winning actress is surrounding herself with capable professionals to help her work out the more demanding physical side. Larson didn’t seem phased by the physical preparation at all during our roundtable interview, stating,
Anything that’s the physical side, from past experience, you hire specialists to help you understand that and quantify it and pace you out and figure it all out. That’s part of the fun of making a movie. There’s a person who does the focus-pulling and they’re the specialist at understanding depth. They do something I don’t understand and I do something they don’t understand. My main focus is more on the human side of it. The costumes and all the stuff that’s on the surface, there are people you should talk to that are really interesting and they’re the ones in charge of that part. I’m just in charge of what’s going on in her head.
There’s a lot for Larson to deep dive into with Danvers’ backstory. That said, she welcomed the chance to explore the more mental complexities of the character.
It’s always for me about the complexity. The thing that I love about her is that there are these actual two sides to her – these two things that are at war with each other. I feel like that’s what I love about being a person is that we’re constantly trying to balance between these two sides of ourselves, or many sides of ourselves. It’s such an amazing opportunity to be able to put that metaphor on the outside and make that part of what her conflict is.
Though we’ll all be waiting until March 8, 2019 to see what depth and dimension Larson brings to the iconic and beloved heroine, you can catch her flexing her action muscles in FREE FIRE much sooner!
There, Larson was also able to show another surprising side to what audiences expect out of a stereotypical action-movie heroine. She said of the Ben Wheatley-directed film,
Movies are like this funhouse mirror reflecting back on society. Watching movies was how I learned about different parts of the world. It’s how I learned about different periods of time. It’s not until I’ve gotten older where I was like, ‘It’s not history. Movies are not history.’ They can give us a flavor of it but it’s told through the eyes of an individual, of an idealized world. Ben’s response to that is, ‘how can we make this what it actual is, which is not glorifying this at all, showing how ridiculous the whole thing is.’
The first time I watched the movie, I remember being about 45 minutes in and I was laughing, but was like, ‘Why is this happening?! Why is everyone still in this room?!’ Just one person has to go, ‘Hey! I don’t wanna do this anymore,’ and they walk out.
I have my reasons for wanting to explore this as something that’s part of culture and something that’s part of the industry that I’m in. On the side of being a woman, it’s been important for me to say, ‘Guess what? We’re lots of different ways and I’m going to do my best to show all the different sides that I can portray that, I hope, other women pick up where I’m leaving off because I can’t do it all.’ It’s the same thing with genre and the way we’re objectively looking at things. Being part of films that say, ‘That doesn’t really look the way that we’ve maybe done it before’ – that’s how we continue to improve and that’s how my industry continues to improve.
FREE FIRE opens on April 21.
Photo Header: courtesy of Variety.