Brie Larson can’t really say anything about the upcoming second Captain Marvel movie, The Marvels. You know it and I know it, but in our recent talk ahead of the debut of her new star-studded Super Bowl ad for Nissan (Hi Dave Bautista! Hi Danai Gurira! Hi Eugene Levy’s God-level locks!) she’s happy to engage in what she calls “the dance” where we playfully ask and she playfully dodges and we have a good laugh about the nature of super-secret movie news.
But, dear reader, an army of Disney lawyers couldn’t stop Larson from co-signing the idea of a Fast & Furious/Marvel crossover. And so there’s a touch of that here, a few complimentary words about her Marvels director, her love of cars, and a great deal about how she disconnects from the idea of being on millions of screens at once, putting herself out there on YouTube, and her freshly announced Disney+ unscripted series about helping people overcome things that they might feel shame over.
So I guess the first thing I have to ask is, can we just talk about Eugene Levy’s hair in the ad for a second? Because it’s so amazing, isn’t it?
Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah. A lot of thought was put into that hair, by the way. The facial hair, the hair on his head. All of it. There’s a lot. A lot of conversation, a lot of planning around all of that.
I’m getting Fabio vibes. Now, that’s natural, right? That’s not a wig. I assume he just took six months, went to a cabin, pondered things, and grew that out, right?
You’re absolutely right. We are method here. We go hard for the Super Bowl. We plan six months in advance so that our hair is the correct length.
Obviously, you’re no stranger to being on a screen with a lot of eyes on you, but does it ever not feel weird to know that you’re going to be in a Super Bowl commercial and that the entire world is going to be watching you?
It doesn’t feel weird because I don’t think about it. [Laughs] I don’t really take it on. I think in order to actually be healthy in my mind, you have to have a bit of distance from that. My job is, I’m on set, I’m having fun, I’m doing what I love to do. And the outcome stuff isn’t for me, that’s not my job as an artist. My job is to just help make the thing. And then everybody else is allowed to have their own interpretation and feelings around whatever it is. You know? So all I get is process. The rest is whatever.
There are definitely certain moments where they’re like the pinch-me moments where you’re like, “holy moly, my face is in Times Square. I’m playing during the Super Bowl.” There are certain things like that, but I don’t have a hard time connecting any sort of… I don’t know, it doesn’t really connect with my experience. I live a pretty normal life. I can walk down the street and do whatever I want. I don’t really get recognized. So it doesn’t really fit in with my experience. I just feel like I’m the luckiest person in the universe and I feel really grateful.
What kind of car are you most likely to be behind the wheel of?
Oh, interesting. Well, this has been the fun part about doing all these Nissan commercials: I’ve actually got to test drive so many cars at this point and understand that it’s such a personality shift, depending on which car you’re in. It’s really changed my personality a lot. I had a smaller car for a while and I always had smaller cars, and I liked being able to zip around and have an easy parking spot. And then more recently, I got a bigger car and I am feeling myself. It’s a whole new level of confidence, of being a little bit higher on the road. And I had a lot of friends tell me that. They’re like, “Oh, once you experience that, you’re going to love it.” And it’s so true. I feel like a different person on the road.
I know that this isn’t the end of my car journey. I find myself, just like how I play different characters and I wear different clothes, and somehow I can be like, ooh, this feels really good. It feels good to be introverted or it feels good to be confident. I feel the same way about these cars. For this commercial, when I had to sit in the Z, I was like, wait, am I a sports car person now? I just find myself… I see why people have multiple cars. [Laughs] I guess, is what I’m saying. I never used to understand that. But now I get that, your car is an extension of your personality and we spend so much time in it, so it should be something that gives you a feeling of some kind.
Sticking with car culture, is it a dream for you to be in a Fast & Furious movie?
One hundred percent. One hundred percent.
We want to start the campaign right now?
Please, please tell everybody I would of course want to be in a Fast & Furious movie. I’m obsessed. I love them. I think they’re so good. They’re so fun. And they’ve made me appreciate cars. And it’s something that should be appreciated. They’re incredible. So of course, please.
See, the thing that they don’t do enough of is blend franchises across studios. You need an Avengers/Fast & Furious crossover.
Whoa! That’s a gazillion-dollar idea.
Right? What more can Marvel really do as far as upping the ante and bringing in more superheroes? There were 9,000 of them in Endgame. So yeah, you have to go Fast & Furious and Marvel. I think that’s the next step.
I’m down to play new characters and whatever. Whatever it takes, but I’m very down for a crossover moment. I think you’ve tapped into something that is a true love of mine, so I would be so down.
I’ll make all the calls.
So, what are you legally allowed to say about The Marvels?
Um, nothing. [Laughs] That we made it? I can tell you that we made it. I can tell you that it’s going to be really good. You know the drill. It’s like, we’re going to play this game for a while now, and we’re going to play this game for I don’t know, however long it takes for the movie to come out, where every interview, someone’s going to ask me a question. And every interview, I’m going to say, sorry, I can’t. We’re both going to be like, “Yeah, I know.” I know you have to ask, you know I can’t say anything, but it’s fun. It’s a fun little dance that we’re playing isn’t it?
It doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I feel bad for you all because there are like 19 lawyers waiting on the other end of every phone call that you guys are on, probably.
[Laughs] Oh, don’t feel bad. I don’t feel bad about it. I feel it’s like, I wish I could talk about it. I can talk about my feelings around it. I can say that… I can’t say enough about how incredible our director, Nia DaCosta, is and what an honor it was to work with her, what an immense talent she is, how much I just feel like she’s the future. And I could also say that, when I read the script for the first time, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was like, this is bonkers. And it’s the thing that I love about Marvel, is that they continue to reinvent. They continue to do the thing that you just would never think would be possible in these films. And they’re not afraid to go there. So I’m super excited about what we did. I think there are some huge personal achievements of mine that I’m really excited about sharing, but you know, it’s fun to have a bit of a secret. And it’s fun to know that, when this film comes out, people are going to be delighted. And I get to keep that to myself for a little bit longer.
Just a little bit longer. And then it’ll be everywhere.
Just a little longer.
I read something about how you were somewhat hesitant initially to take on the role [of Captain Marvel] because you’ve considered yourself to be more of an introvert. And obviously, with stuff like your YouTube channel and everything, you’ve gotten past the introvert phase.
When did you make that conscious decision to just put yourself out there more? It’s just so positive.
I’m pretty in touch with my feelings and I think it’s because it’s my job. My job is to be pretty clear with where I’m at, so that I can portray different emotions in a day. People can hand me a script and it’s like, oh, you’re crying today. Or, oh, you’re mad today. Oh, you’re happy today. And so I’m pretty good at moving through stuff. And so I’m pretty in tune, and it really was just a feeling that I had. I realized that there was only so far I could go with my art because I was only going so far with myself. And I had this fear of revealing myself. I had for a really long time, believed that if people knew who I actually was, that they wouldn’t believe me as a character on screen. And so I needed to be extremely private and really shut myself down, in order to do my job. And I grew out of that, quite simply.
I just started realizing that I have to believe in my talents more than that. That I don’t have to fully hide in order for people to believe me as somebody else. And also that maybe there is something powerful in, at least just for myself, in sharing myself. And so really, the YouTube channel was more of a practice of just can I put myself out there every week? Can I, as somebody who struggles with anxiety or struggles with being insecure, can I just keep putting myself out there every week and deal with it? And I totally can.
I feel really good about it. It’s been a wonderful experience for me. And during the time when I had to take time off from YouTube, I really missed it. I don’t know, it’s just the idea of doing something to do it, not necessarily because I have an outcome in mind or there’s something that I was trying to get at. While I was sheltering at home, I was like, I might as well be more comfortable with myself since I can’t try and force myself to be productive in a different way. So it’s been wonderful.
I just saw the press release come through for Growing Up, the new unscripted series with Disney+. Can you tell me a little bit about what that is? It sounds really interesting.
I’m really excited about it. It’s this idea that I came up with… it hit me one day while I was driving in the car, about four years ago. And it was just about shame, and it kind of just connected to what we were talking about earlier. I was just thinking, “[what] if we were able to talk about and release the thing that is inside of us that we feel is the most shameful thing about us?” I started getting really interested in that question. And so for the last couple of years, I started asking people that: friends, family, people that felt comfortable talking to me, I’d say, “Hey, what is the thing you feel the most shame about?” And I have to say that, 100% of the time, the thing that they told me, I didn’t think that they needed to hold onto. It didn’t seem shameful to me and it was holding them back.
I have incredible partners with this production company, Culture House. And so we’ve spent the last couple of years really refining this process and we ended up landing on the experience of growing up. That feels like just such a pivotal moment when you’re going through it. Going through high school, figuring out who you are, coming to terms with who you are. And so, each episode follows a different… we call them heroes… [each episode] follows a different real-life person. And we pair them with a director who has a similar background as them, and we help them tell their story. So we build sets that they help us design to recreate and we’re honoring them, their story, and the thing that they feel shame about and overcame, and also the thing that they are the most proud of. And it’s really a beautiful show.