ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania star Katy O’Brian about her role as Jentorra. The Marvel Studios sequel is now available digitally and will be available on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on May 16.
“Super Heroes Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible.”
Tyler Treese: Your Ant-Man character’s really fun. She’s part of the freedom fighters, and even though there’s so much that’s sci-fi and alien about this character, her motivations are very relatable. She’s somebody being oppressed that’s standing up and fighting for everybody’s rights. Can you speak to that human element that’s really at the core of Jentorra?
Katy O’Brian: Yeah, I think that’s something that anybody can relate to, you know? We look at someone like Kang, who comes in, [and] who doesn’t care about the people around him. He doesn’t care about the world he’s in, he just wants to use that world for his own personal gain. In order to do that, he’s destroying villages.
He’s killing people. There’s no excuse for that on our end. This is our home, we are all displaced now, and we all just want to feel like we’re able to live our lives and not worry about having to find a new place to live or be killed, essentially. I think that that’s a pretty simple ask and a pretty relatable need. So yeah, I think she’s standing up for the greater good, and there’s not much more you can ask for.
Your character is very much a leader. She’s more serious than the rest of her group, but she has a very fun little gang there in the Quantum Realm. David Dastmalchian and William Jackson Harper — they seem to have so much fun in their roles. How was having such an eccentric mix of personalities to play off of for those scenes?
Oh, it was so great. We also have James Cutler — he plays Xolum, the solar face guy. [Laugh]. Honestly, we all kind of started to form a bond together. Before any charging scene or fight scene or anything like that, one of either William or James would scream out something like, “Okay, let’s go!” Or, “Yeah!” It just got everybody really hyped, but it also was really hard not to laugh right before we were about to do the take, but they were just such a fun crew to work with, and it felt like, in a very short period of time, that I’d known them forever. I absolutely adored that. [Laugh]. They were great.
Having to be this serious person … I thought it would be lame at first, but after seeing the movie, seeing it all come together, I’m like, “Okay, Jentorra’s pretty cool though.” Sometimes you have to have someone step up, take charge, [and] not necessarily be silly all the time.
The dynamic works great. Like you were saying, Jentorra’s a badass, and you get to take part in quite a few battle sequences. Did being a part of a huge Marvel fight action scene live up to expectations for you?
Yeah! I was really fortunate because I have a background in martial arts, and my stunt double was able to spend a lot of time with me and teach me all the spear movements that they wanted. So I had the chance to actually do all of my fight scenes. It was epic. It was so much fun, and the stunt crew are phenomenal. We would be doing a scene, and we’d do a kick or something. [and] they’re like, “Hit me harder.” And I’m like, “Really?” You’re making contact. They’ve got pretty thick armor, so you can hit pretty hard, and it felt like you were kind of in a real fight. It was pretty great.
I had a couple bruises and scrapes and stuff like that afterwards. When you’ve got that level of skill on their end, you can kind of make it as real as possible. Your heart does get pumping and you kind of do feel like you’re really in the scene. So while you’re doing your fight scene, you’re seeing all the chaos behind you, around you … it’s awesome. There’s fire, explosions, everything. It’s pretty unreal.
One thing I loved about this movie is we get to see such versatility from Paul Rudd. He’s so naturally funny, but this really brings out his more serious action side as well. What stood out about Paul as a scene partner? You have some great scenes with him.
I think a lot of it is just effortless for him. And I don’t want to speak for him, I guess — maybe he’s trying really hard, and I don’t know, but I think that he … just has the purity about him and anytime that he says something, even if it is kind of silly or whatever, it does seem kind of genuine. So yeah, he has a way of being able to put you at ease right away. He could say, “Hello,” and it’d be hilarious. He could say, “Hello,” and it’d be really sad. He’s a great actor, and I’m happy that he had an opportunity to show like a little of that range in this.
You’ve been involved in two Marvel projects now, having done Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D as well. Can you speak to what was most different about those experiences? They’re different scales and different realms, even.
Yeah, it’s kind of interesting. Coming into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you’re coming into the end of the TV show, is basically where I was. So there was a lot I hadn’t seen. I really did feel like I didn’t necessarily know a lot of what was going on. Again, yeah, much smaller scale, like smaller sets, a lot of people coming in and out. So I think the regulars are kind of used to that turnover. It’s not consistent. You don’t keep guest stars around very long. You don’t keep co-stars around very long, so it’s a lot of people coming in and out.
You can definitely sense that the crew is a family, been working together for years. The leads are a family that have been working together for years, but you also kind of feel like you’re just filtering through.
On this set, it’s probably a different crew than they’ve used before. So everyone’s coming in refreshing and new. On a massive scale and having to learn to work together very quickly, it’s definitely a different experience and maybe a little difficult to put a pin on it, but you do feel like you have to come in, be prepared, be ready to take charge, and be able to work together with everybody right away without having had a lot of time to work together before.
You previously spoke about some deleted scenes with Bill Murray. I was curious about what stood out the most about working with him. He’s such a legend in comedy, and he’s really fun in the scenes that made the movie. How was working with him?
He’s such an interesting guy. He came to set, knew his lines — which you always appreciate. He tried to learn everybody’s name. He was there for a really short period of time, so the fact that he was able to get a lot of people’s names down was pretty awesome. He generally seemed to try to treat everybody with respect and we had a couple opportunities to chat. What was really interesting is on set, he was really chill, mellow, exactly as you thought. But off set — and I don’t know if it was because he was leaving that day or what — but he was pretty anxious.
So I was chatting with him, and I was like, “You’re so nervous.” And he was like, “Yeah, I’ve got to go knock this scene out, and then I’ve got to go to the airport right after, and I got a whole other movie.” And I’m like, “Can I help you with anything?” And he’s like, “I don’t know, I’ve got to pack.” And I’m like, “Do you want me to pack for you?” [Laugh].
So I wound up packing his luggage for him while he had to go shoot so he wasn’t stressed out about it or whatever, but it was super random, and I texted a personal assistant to let them know I was doing it, and they were like, “No, there’s no way.” But yeah, it’s just funny to see both those sides, like just really laid back, ready to go, the professional side and then the human side, I guess.
You’re in both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars universe. How surreal is it, being part of these two pop culture behemoths and being a part of it around the same time?
Yeah, I mean, within a few weeks of each other, they were both released. It’s very strange. And I was filming them both at the same time, too, which is funny because it was like two years ago. But it feels like I’m maybe in a coma or something, or like I was accidentally put in someone else’s life, and now I’m just like pretending as I walk through it. [Laugh].
It just feels really weird, but also really fun, and it’s a supportive group and really nurturing, and they seem to really encourage you and promote you … I’m just a normal whatever, but I’m in these many worlds. It’s just strange and overwhelming, and I don’t understand, but I’m happy.