Ben Mendelsohn has played bad guys on screen before, from ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY to the TV program “Bloodline.” What kind of baddie will Mendelsohn be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
CAPTAIN MARVEL co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were very familiar with the Australian actor when they cast him as Talos, the lead Skrull, in the Marvel origin story. Mendelsohn played a gambling addict for the duo in MISSISSIPPI GRIND (alongside Ryan Reynolds), so Boden and Fleck knew all of the layers Mendelsohn could bring to this complicated villain.
“He’s one of our favorite actors,” Ryan Fleck said. “We of course worked with him before on our last movie, and he's just, he's just a wild beast. And I think whenever he came on the set, especially in a long shoot like this — and he was sprinkled throughout the whole movie — just when we’d start to feel a lull and get really tired, Ben would show up and just give everyone a jolt of inspiration. So yeah, it was really fun to have him around, and he's scary in the movie.”
You might not recognize Ben Mendelsohn right away in his CAPTAIN MARVEL scenes. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck covered him up with layers of makeup. He is playing an alien, after all.
“He’s such a chameleon as an actor. What a perfect role for him to play a shape-shifting Skrull,” Boden said. “He actually plays two characters in the movie. He plays one without the makeup. He plays a character that plays another character. So, he plays both a human in the film and a Skrull, and we realized we just can't get enough of him, so we're like, ‘Let’s have you play as many roles as possible.’”
Marvel Studios has had a bit of a villain issue prior to CAPTAIN MARVEL. Outside of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and the recent dominance of Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), the MCU struggled to produce memorable villains. But the Skrulls have real potential to create massive headaches for the Marvel heroes, because they can look like anyone.
Mendelsohn wasn’t a headache to work with, though. As the CAPTAIN MARVEL co-directors recall, he was responsible for some on-set magic during production.
“Ben has one of the coolest scenes in the movie,” Ryan Fleck told AMC. “And it’s in the trailer. When he's coming out of the ocean with a group of Skrulls and surveying the land — I mean, he looks so fierce and so awesome. And that’s one of those scenes Anna [Boden] referred to earlier, where we're out there on a beach with guys in makeup, no visual effects at all, and we’re just out there with a camera shooting, trying to get the shot before the sun goes down. And it's just one of those beautiful things, and Ben looks so amazing in it.”
See for yourself, CAPTAIN MARVEL is in theatres now!