Suiting Up and Turning Blue: Gemma Chan Chats Role in “Captain Marvel”

Gemma Chan (Madam Ya Zhou) is a rising star in Hollywood, with a role not just in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but also in the breakout movie Crazy Rich Asians and the upcoming blockbuster Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel will be the first female-led superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Chan suiting up as reluctant ally Minn-Erva, a Kree Starforce member.

In the comic books, Minn-Erva is a dangerous adversary of Captain Marvel who mutilated herself in experiments designed to ensure her people’s continued evolution. While the movie is presenting a different origin to the character, just like her comic counterpart, Minn-Erva will not be the biggest fan of Carol Danvers. Chan discussed how the two share a rather rocky relationship in the film over a power struggle to prove just who’s the leading member of the team.

I suppose before Carol joined the team, Minn-Erva was probably [kind] of the star of this Starforce team, and she was probably the favorite of the commander, who is played by Jude Law. So yeah, so I suppose there’s more to do with their abilities rather than affections as such. But yeah, I think there’s a mutual respect.

Much of the power struggle likely stems from Jude Law’s (Albus Dumbledore) character, recently confirmed to be Starforce commander Yon-Rogg. The two share a complicated history, with Minn-Erva viewing him as something of a mentor and unhappy that she now must share him with Carol Danvers.

Yeah, I would say actually they have quite a complex dynamic between the two of them. She doesn’t always agree with his decisions. I can say that. But obviously, he is still her mentor and her superior. But yeah, there are a few cracks in that relationship starting to show.

Despite the hostility between her character and that of Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Chan described the team as more like a family unit that shares a tight and intimate bond.

They are a close[-]knit team. They have to work together intimately all the time. So yeah, they are kind of like a family. They have their in-jokes and their little kind of, yeah, playful rivalry things going on.

Minn-Erva is a world-class sniper with a specialty in long-range weaponry, but as an elite soldier, the role still takes great physicality, something that Chan has enjoyed immensely.

Well, I’ve been doing some boxing training, which has been good fun. Because she is this elite warrior, I’ve got to do lots of physical stuff. So I’ve gone work training with the stunt team and yeah, it’s fun, really fun. It’s really different [from] anything I’ve done before.

Chan further faced her own personal challenge in the role. As a member of the Kree race, Chan’s character is completely blue, leading to hours spent in the makeup chair every morning before any shooting even occurred. Although not the most comfortable costume choice, Chan was highly complimentary of the team behind the look.

I think my call times have been at, like, 3:00am this week. But yeah, then we’ve got an amazing team and it’s airbrushing, lots of layers of airbrushing and the upkeep throughout the day when it gets hot and sweaty and the costume rubs at it. […] It started off taking four hours, but we’re cutting it down. So we’re around about three at the moment. But we can get it even quicker, hopefully.

Captain Marvel will be released in theaters on March 8, so be sure to get your tickets soon!

Are you excited for this latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?