Evangeline Lilly has found success playing Hope van Dyne/Wasp in the MCU, including in the new movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. However, the role wasn’t her first offer to play a superhero on the big screen.
While promoting the sequel on the latest episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Entertainment Weekly), the actress revealed that she turned down Hugh Jackman’s offer to join the X-Men franchise. She also refused Joss Whedon’s pitch to play Wonder Woman.
Jackman presented Lilly with the opportunity to star in the X-Men franchise while they were filming the 2011 sci-fi sports drama, Reel Steel, together. She revealed that her co-star, who had appeared in four X-Men movies at that point, and also had a cameo in X-Men: First Class, approached her with the offer.
Lily shared that Jackman “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. They knew I was working with you and were interested to know if it would ever interest you to do an X-Men thing.'”
The Golden Globe-nominated actress revealed that she didn’t need a lot of time to decide to turn her co-star’s proposition down. She immediately replied: “No. It doesn’t interest me. I’m not interested.'” She added that she felt rude because she was “talking to an X-Men! The X-Men! And I’m telling him, ‘No that doesn’t appeal.'”
The instance wasn’t the first time Lily rejected an offer to appear in a screen adaptation of a comic book film. Whedon previously offered her the role of Wonder Woman in a movie that never went into development.
The actress revealed that when they met, “I think my impression, coming away from it, was I had no desire and he could tell.” She added that she was “too young to be that polite” to at least fake interest in the idea of becoming the DC character.
Lily continued: “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.
“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,” the actress added.
Lilly also divulged that she sensed Whedon was slightly offended, but she “was okay with that. I was okay with burning bridges. I was okay with not having everyone in Hollywood wanna work with me…I just always had to do what felt right for me,. 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 also admitted that earlier in her career, “I often was very critical of [superhero films]. I was known to mock them and treat them as lower forms of entertainment until Marvel came around.”
When the studio expressed interest in working with her, Lily’s agent told her to actually watch some of its screen adaptations. “When I did, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re doing something very different and very cool,'” she said.
So the actress decided to joined the MCU in the first solo Ant-Man movie, which was released in 2015. She has since appeared in its first sequel, 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, as well as Avengers: Endgame, which was released the following year. The second follow-up to Ant-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, opened in theaters this weekend.