When I sat down with Evangeline Lilly three years ago during the Los Angeles press day for Ant-Man, she had an immediate answer for who she wanted to play Janet van Dyne, a.k.a. her on-screen mother, in the sequel: Michelle Pfeiffer. Funny enough, this dream wound up coming true, with Pfeiffer being announced in the role last year -- but this doesn't mean you should start crediting Lilly for the suggestion. According to her, she may have put some good thoughts into the universe, but that's pretty much where it ended:
I honestly don't think I had anything to do with the decision. [laughs] I swear to God, the stars just aligned in my favor. Maybe I manifested it. Maybe I just thought on it so long and so hard and wanted it so badly, I made it happen. But nobody ever really officially came to me and said, 'Evangeline, we would like the official word on your opinion for who should play the original Wasp.' No.
I had the pleasure of talking with Evangeline Lilly again last year as part of a roundtable interview on the set of Ant-Man and The Wasp, and the first question I asked was about Michelle Pfeiffer playing Janet van Dyne. I asked if she had any specific influence in the casting, possibly letting the producers know her thoughts, but that apparently wasn't the case. Instead, it's really just a case of things working out well.
Michelle Pfeiffer, of course, has an important history in comic book movies, having famously played Catwoman in Tim Burton's Batman Returns. She hasn't returned to the "genre" since, but is now coming back in a big way. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, Janet van Dyne was the original Wasp, teaming up with Dr. Hank Pym's Ant-Man on missions during the Cold War. In order to stop a potentially deadly missile, she shrunk herself small enough to fit between the molecules of titanium plate -- and while she was successful in disabling the projectile, it was a sacrifice. Making herself that tiny essentially transported her to what's known as the Quantum Realm, where all meaning of time and space is lost. She's been there for the equivalent of decades in the normal world, but Ant-Man and The Wasp will see the heroes on a mission to bring her back.
At the time when I was on the Ant-Man and The Wasp set Michelle Pfeiffer hadn't started filming yet -- but Evangeline Lilly did tell us about her first opportunity meeting the actress. It was part of a shoot for a special San Diego Comic-Con video, and according to her, it went as well as she could have hoped. Said Lilly,
I was so excited. I met Michelle doing a Comic-Con video. And, you know, sometimes in this industry you get excited to meet people and then you meet them and you're like 'Oh, I wish I hadn't met them, 'cause the bubble was so much better. I wanna go back to my bubble.' And she didn't burst my bubble! She was wonderful. Very cool lady.
Outside of poster shots we haven't really seen much of Michelle Pfeiffer's Janet van Dyne yet, but we don't have too much longer to wait. Ant-Man and The Wasp will be in theaters on July 6 -- and we have plenty more set visit coverage coming your way between now and then.