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Playing Captain Marvel Was Life-Changing for Brie Larson

March 16, 2019

Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson plays the first lead female superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her role as Captain Marvel. And portraying the flawed-but-unapologetic heroine has inspired Larson in her own life. Indeed, she wants to hold onto aspects of the character’s personality, that is, the ones that left her feeling more empowered.

In a recent In Style interview, Larson shared, “I want to hold on to the cockiness and the sense of ownership. Because I do believe in my abilities, and I do value myself, and I do know that I’m strong, and I do know that I can do a lot of things that people don’t think I can do.”

Born in Sacramento, Larson realized she was drawn to acting in early childhood. But there was an obstacle she needed to overcome: she suffered from social anxiety. As it turns out, acting would go on to serve as more than skill development in building her career. The star insists that learning how to act also taught her how to interact with people in general.

“It was a way of learning how to be a person. This is how you make eye contact. This is how you talk. This is how you hold a conversation. This is how you connect with your feelings. This is how you express yourself,” she recalled. “I’d be in a completely different place if I hadn’t found acting so early on because I think I really would have found comfort in my extreme shyness.”

By the age of six, Larson became the youngest student attending the drama training program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before she landed her first gig performing commercial parodies on The Jay Leno Show. As a teen, she was cast in supporting roles in comedies such as the WB sitcom Raising Dad, and she later starred in the Showtime series United States of Tara and the 2012 film 21 Jump Street.

But Larson says she actually shied away from leading roles. “I was actively avoiding it. I guess, now that I think about it more, I wasn’t ready to do it,” she once told The Daily Beast. “I didn’t recognize myself as someone who was worthy of being observed for that long.” Her breakthrough came with being cast in the lead role in the indie Short Term 12 in 2013. Although Larson tried out for a supporting role, she came out with the lead.

Larson’s defining role came two years later with her extraordinary performance as a kidnapping victim, Ma, in the independent drama Room. In fact, her performance was recognized with a best-actress Academy Award. But she wasn’t sure what to make of the tremendous honor. She felt like she was randomly selected, and she still found herself questioning her acting abilities. “I guess the truth is, for me, no matter what recognition I get, I think I am always going to question myself,” she said. 

So, Larson turned to a friend about her frame of mind—Jennifer Lawrence, who’d likewise won a best-actress Oscar. “I was like, ‘I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel better about myself. I still don’t feel like I’m a good actress.’ [Lawrence] was like, ‘Oh, yeah. That’s totally normal. I’ve had the same thing. Don’t think of it like that. Think of it as, like, you got your Ph.D. You’re certified; that’s it. It doesn’t change anything. You can still f*** up. Every judge is still human.’”

Thankfully, being able to portray Captain America has made an impact on Larson. After enduring nine months of intense physical training, she was blown away to discover she could deadlift a whopping 225 pounds and even push a Jeep uphill. That’s a confidence booster right there! And after spending many years of second-guessing herself, Larson is determined not to let go of Captain Marvel’s confident mindset.

Have you ever portrayed a character and decided to keep some of the personal qualities for yourself?

Brie Larson On Achieving Your Dreams

March 11, 2016

Brie Larson recently transformed from a struggling actress playing supporting roles in films such as 21 Jump Street and Trainwreck to winning an Oscar for Best Leading Actress. In the pressroom just after being celebrated for her performance as “Ma” in the indie drama Room, the 26 year old was asked if she had any advice for people who have yet to achieve their dreams.

“You just have to do it. I mean, I wish that there was any sort of rules or code, but in fact I think the way that you get there is by breaking it, by listening to what’s happening inside of yourself. I personally had many moments of crossroads–probably hundreds of moments of crossroads–where I could go the way that people were telling me to go, or I could go the way that felt right within me. And it took me twenty years to be standing here on this stage. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. To be so grateful for all of the hardships that it took to get here, and not be discouraged by it. I think to live this life, it’s a bizarre combination of being plastic, and incredibly stubborn, and also really curious about what this life holds. To have no expectation, but to have an idea about a beautiful horizon that’s in front of you, and constantly moving towards it.”

Larson was then asked about the times she learned to stand up for herself along the way in her acting journey. She described “huge moments” in her career when she deliberately chose to follow her heart rather than do as she was told. “In particular, there were many times that I’d go into auditions and casting directors would say, ‘It’s really great, really love what you’re doing, but we’d love for you to come back in a jean miniskirt and high heels,” she recalled. Larson believed she was being asked to dress that way for no good reason “other than the fact that you want to create some fantasy and you want to have this moment.” The star learned to set clear boundaries by rejecting such requests, saying, “For me, I personally always rejected that moment; I tried maybe once, and it always made me feel terrible. Because they were asking me to wear a miniskirt and heels to be sexy, but a jean mini skirt and heels does not make me feel sexy; it makes me feel uncomfortable.”

This proved to be a good move for Larson. She’s now being called the newest Hollywood “It” girl. Although it seems her rise has come about suddenly, in truth she’s been working at her career since she was six years old when she became the youngest person to ever attend a theater training program in San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. She was seven when she landed her first role in a commercial skit on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. From there, she continued to land small roles in a variety of television shows, and later turned her focus to pursuing a career in music. In fact, Larson released an album entitled Finally Out of P.E. during her teen years, but when the album didn’t take off as she’d hoped, she continued with landing supporting roles including being cast in Showtime’s The United States of Tara. But it was Larson’s portrayal as a supervisor in a home for troubled teens in the drama Short Term 12 that earned her three Spirit Award nominations and drew the attention of the director of Room, Lenny Abrahamson.

There were times along the way when Larson considered giving up on her acting aspirations, but instead she forged ahead, learning to be strengthened by her convictions. As for those instances when she’d receive yet another miniskirt talk, she explains, “Learning, for me, what it took to feel confident and strong, and take what these people were trying to get to exude out of me come from a personal place and from my place, and trying to represent in film women that I know, women that I understand, complicated women, women that are inside of me–that became my mission.” 

Have you ever found the need to set clear boundaries when you audition? Have you ever felt tempted to “give in” hoping to land the part?