March’s Marvelous Miss Mandatory: The Rise of Star and Activist Brie Larson
Photo: Mike Marsland / Contributor (Getty Images)
Oscar winner Brie Larson has already inspired females of all ages worldwide, and on March 8, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest hero — and Thanos’ biggest nightmare — will make her biggest mark on the big screen. But before taking on the role of Captain Marvel, Larson has been busy winning awards and building a vocal platform.
In 2016, Larson won the BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Academy Award for her performance in Room. The independent drama adapted from Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel centers on a woman (Larson) and her young son (Jacob Tremblay) finally gaining their freedom after being held captive for years in an enclosed space.
The feature put Larson on the map in a huge way, following a list of movie and television credits including Trainwreck, The Gambler, Community, Short Term 12, 21 Jump Street, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Rampart, and United States of Tara. Since her Oscar-winning turn in Room, Larson has starred in The Glass Castle alongside Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts, as well as her directorial feature film debut, Unicorn Store. Her highest-grossing movie to date is 2017's Kong: Skull Island with a worldwide box office of $567 million. It's an impressive number, but something tells us Captain Marvel is about to blow that out of the water, catapulting Larson into the top charts of the MCU.
Fighting for Equality
Not only has the actress/director worked steadily on the small and big screen since her early teens, but offscreen Larson has been vocal as a gender and racial equality activist. For example, Larson was an early organizer of the Time's Up movement, has been a vocal advocate for representation in the media. She was also one of the first stars to take on an inclusion rider into her contract, which mandates diversity in casting and production staff.
Acting as Activism
The fact that Captain Marvel marks the first MCU superhero movie led by a woman isn't lost on Larson, who has also said that she finds the role to be a "form of activism." She expands on the idea, saying that "doing a film that can play all over the world and be in more places than I can be physically" makes an impact. Specifically, playing a character that doesn't apologize for herself, which Larson feels is a "really valuable trait" since Carol Danvers is "incredibly flawed and makes a lot of mistakes" but even when she has to ask to atone for them, she's "not ever shrinking herself down." Larson's activism is centrally focused on inclusion (internet trolls be damned) as it doesn't "happen naturally" and is something you have to fight for, she says. Ahead of her global press tour for Captain Marvel, Larson pledged to "spotlight other women behind the scenes, insisting on gender and racial parity in the press and wearing mostly female designers." The filmmaker even has a dream to launch a school that trains people in various jobs in the movie industry with a focal point on embracing diversity. Larson wants studios to follow her lead, stating that she doesn't want to be "successful surrounded by a bunch of people who look like me. That doesn't feel like success at all."
Looking to the Future
After sharing her origin story with the world, Carol Danvers will face her greatest challenge next month by taking on Thanos when Avengers: Endgame debuts in theaters on April 26. We don't know for sure yet who will survive the inevitably heartbreaking final act of the MCU's Phase Three, but alongside Tom Holland's Spider-Man, Larson will likely be a prominent figure in Phase Four of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. Breaking away from the superhero role, Larson will also be starring alongside Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy, the drama based on civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson. It was also recently announced that Netflix had acquired Larson's Unicorn Store and the upcoming project Lady Business, with Larson attached to star and likely direct. Additionally, it was revealed on Wednesday that Larson will be returning to the small screen to star in and executive produce a straight-to-series CIA drama for Apple, based on Amaryllis Fox's upcoming memoir. Not bad for March's Marvelous Miss Mandatory, right?