Fan Expo 2018: Evangeline Lilly Has A Passion For Writing, Not Ant-Man Sequels
With prominent roles in Lost, The Hobbit movies, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Canadian actress Evangeline Lilly has plenty of reasons to be excited about her acting career. However, her greatest enthusiasm is for The Squickerwonkers, a series of children’s books she wrote and passionately promoted—with illustrator Rodrigo Bastos Didier—at Fan Expo this past weekend (the second book in this series, The Demise of Selma the Spoiled, is scheduled for a spring release). During her Q&A, Lilly discussed her vision for this series, the future of Marvel, and her frustrations shooting Ant-Man and the Wasp.
What are The Squickerwonkers?
Rather than try to explain what Lilly’s series of children’s books is all about, I’ll leave that task to her: “The Squickerwonkers are a group of vice-ridden marionette puppets. There is Papa the Proud, Mama the Mean, Lorna the Lazy, Andy the Arrogant, and on the list goes. There are 10 of them. In the first book, you discover how The Squickerwonkers came to be marionette puppets, which is ultimately a cautionary tale about all of our vices… it’s important to tell kids about the reality of the consequences of their actions, instead of telling them, ‘It doesn’t matter. Everything is going to turn out just fine, no matter what you do.’”
The audience is everyone
With The Squickerwonkers, Lilly is aiming for an extremely broad audience, one that starts with young kids and never stops. “I’m an undisclosed age and I still love them,” she said. “I read them to my son when he was three and he loved them, so they’re kind of for everybody. I designed them that way on purpose because I have to read books to my children and reading a book that I don’t like over and over and over and over again sucks, so I wanted to make sure that these books were something that even the parents who are reading to their children could enjoy.”
The Squickerwonkers movie
Given the prevalence of children’s movies and Lilly’s own prominence in the world of film, it didn’t take long for fans to start asking if The Squickerwonkers might reach the big screen. Needless to say, the author is already on the case. “I am dying for that to be a reality,” she explained. “I’m actually in development, working on a package right now, but it’s not real until you’re actually greenlit with production, so that doesn’t mean anything. Things go into development a lot and then they never happen, but it is something that I am working on right now and my vision for it… I have to keep a secret because, if it does happen, I want to be able to reveal it because it’s really different. It’s something that almost nobody is doing right now.”
The Ant-Man and the Wasp ordeal
Asked if she had a preference between shooting Ant-Man and its sequel, Lilly hesitated for exactly zero seconds before reaching her decision. “I enjoyed filming Ant-Man more than I enjoyed filming Ant-Man and the Wasp,” she revealed. “It was tough. It was a tough shoot and it was particularly tough for me because I am controlling and I had to share this character suddenly with an entire team of people, from a huge team of stunt people—I had three stunt women on the movie—with the special effects team, with the editors, with the post-production team, with the producers, and the director. Everybody had so much more of a say and work to do to create this character. At the end of the day, I felt like I was responsible for 25 percent of her, and it was so hard for me to let go of control.”
As for the future of Marvel, Lilly made it clear that she’s enthusiastic about the rumoured all-female Avengers movie. But even if that project doesn’t come to fruition, she hopes for more highlights like her favourite scene in Avengers: Infinity War: “There’s this moment where one of the female Avengers, I believe it’s Scarlet Witch, is trapped in a trench and that horrible female villain lady—I don’t know what her name is—she’s going to kill her. She says something to the effect of, ‘What are you going to do now? You’re all alone.’ And then what happens next? She’s not alone, bitch! And I literally got out of my seat… I was on my feet before I knew what was happening and Paul Rudd’s looking at me like, ‘What are you doing?’ But that’s what I want to see: women supporting women.”