Naturally, most Captain Marvel publicity so far has revolved around three key aspects of the movie: (1) Brie Larson leading Marvel’s first female-fronted superhero film; (2) Samuel L. Jackson playing a two-eyed Nick Fury; and (3) Goose the Cat. However, early reactions to the movie pointed towards Ben Mendelsohn being the surprise MVP of the film, and Hollywood Reporter has published a wonderful interview with the veteran Aussie actor about his process in portraying the film’s arguable main villain.
Mendelsohn plays Talos, a Skrull commander who’s leading the shape-shifting alien species’ infiltration of Earth. The film, of course, takes place in the 1990s (not only does Fury’s eye-status point toward that fact, but the Blockbuster store and Carol Danvers’ NIN t-shirt are a dead giveaway). There’s another hidden touch as well, given that Mendelsohn admitted that one particular nefarious shape-shifter influenced him most — Terminator 2: Judgment Day‘s T-1000 cyborg, played by Robert Patrick in the 1991 sequel:
I thought about Robert Patrick quite a bit! That’s just such a great benchmark for the piece. But, the mechanics of what go on between the Terminator stuff and the Skrulls are markedly different. I did dive back to the earliest Skrull appearances. You think about how they started their lives and what their job was in the Marvel world back at that time. It wasn’t yet a Marvel universe, per se. So, I thought about Terminator 2 probably more than other movies, but they just become distant background music that is less relevant once you get into the playing of what it is you’re actually doing.
Back in March 2018, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also name-dropped T2 as a predominant influence in the “action elements” that take place in Captain Marvel. “That’s about as iconic as you get,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly. “Looking at kind of those cool street level fights, street level car chases, and fun stuff like that.” Feige added that street-level was one thing, however, and the outer-space portions of the film were quite another, so there are plenty of other genre inspirations to be found.
With all of that said, Mendelsohn’s interview at Hollywood Reporter is full of colorful quotes, including his take on his The Dark Knight Rises “dance partner” Tom Hardy (Bane, obviously), with whom he filmed an especially technical fight scene. “Tom is a formidable guy, but he’s also capable of real gentleness and gentlemanliness,” he affectionately reminisced. “I respected him greatly for that because he could’ve been a real dick that day.” Read the full piece here.
Captain Marvel arrives on March 8.