Evangeline Lilly is headlining her second Marvel movie with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” but it turns out her first go-around with comic book movies as Hope van Dyne/Wasp in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was her third offer to play a superhero on the big screen. On the latest episode of the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast (via Entertainment Weekly), Lilly looked back on turning down Hugh Jackman’s offer to join the “X-Men” franchise and Joss Whedon’s offer to play Wonder Woman.
The “X-Men” offer came in during the making of 2011’s “Reel Steel,” which starred Jackman and Lilly. At that point, Lilly was fresh off wrapping up “Lost” and Jackman had four “X-Men” movies under his belt (plus a cameo in “X-Men: First Class”).
“[Hugh] 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,'” Lilly said. “I was like, ‘No. It doesn’t interest me. I’m not interested.'”
Lilly added, “I was like, ‘I feel like such a dick because I’m talking to an X-Men! The X-Men! And I’m telling him, ‘No that doesn’t appeal. Like, what?!’ I felt so rude!”
It wasn’t Lilly’s first time rejecting a superhero offer. Joss Whedon previously offered her the role of Wonder Woman in a movie that never got off the ground. The “Lost” actor met with Whedon but said, “I think my impression, coming away from it, was I had no desire and he could tell.”
“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,” Lilly continued. “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.”
Lilly sensed there was a slight “offense taken” by Whedon, but she added, “I 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.”
Clearly Lilly’s attitude about superhero roles changed when she joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Ant-Man.” She has since appeared in “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Avengers: Endgame” and now “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” opening in theaters Feb. 17 from Disney.
Watch Lilly’s full appearance on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast in the video below.