If you had to guess the trickiest part of playing a gun-toting alien badass with multiple action scenes in a superhero movie, you probably wouldn’t think about the styling – but according to Captain Marvel star Gemma Chan that was exactly what gave her the most trouble as blue-skinned Kree warrior Minn-Erva.
Chan’s character teams up with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel in the new film.
“The whole hair and make-up process took near on four hours to do, which meant I had to go to work at like 2.45 in the morning,” Chan told Radio Times.com.
“It was an early start for me! That was challenging. I didn’t really think it through when I said yes to playing a blue character. I’d think twice about it again.”
“It’s not great for your skin,” Chan added. “My skin was starting to react towards the end of the shoot. Your skin’s just not meant to be under four layers of airbrush paint and the prosthetics. And yeah, you do start to react to it. It’s not ideal.
“I was talking to Jude Law about this yesterday,” she added, “and I was like, ‘How did you get out of it? Did I draw the short straw?’ I just don’t know.
“I think they did talk about it for him, and they decided they liked how he looked just with the contact lenses. And Minn-Erva in the comics was always blue, so maybe it was a given.”
The blue hue wasn’t the only hardship on set, with the green jumpsuit worn by all the Starforce team (including star Brie Larson) also giving Chan a fair bit of trouble…
“Also the suit, which looks kind of formidable, but is possibly one of the most uncomfortable things you could ever wear,” Chan recalled.
“I think all of us who had to wear those Starforce suits really suffered. It’s like wearing a resistance suit, so it tries to snap you back into this superhero pose. But I was told I had to train just to wear the suit, just to be strong enough to walk and move.
“You can barely lift your arms to shoulder height, and obviously I’m playing a sniper so that was, yeah, just exhausting to just do that.”
Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan) with Leader of Starforce (Jude Law) in their combat uniforms (Disney)
By contrast, Chan said that all her stunt scenes were a piece of cake, even when she had to learn martial arts and attend “sniper school” to properly embody the formidable Minn-Erva.
“I found out I was playing the part about three months before we started filming, and I started straight away doing boxing and kickboxing work just to be able to handle the choreography,” Chan said.
“And I went to sniper school, learned how to use all the different kinds of weapons, how to crawl whilst holding a weapon. They have a really good stunt team who kind of help you look like you know what you’re doing.
“I enjoyed all of that,” she added, “that was kind of the easier part of it compared to the costume and make-up side of it. That’s all quite easy to do when you’re just in your stretchy exercise gear.”
With all that in mind, Chan said she might pause if asked to come back for another movie in the Captain Marvel franchise – if only to save her skin from more blue paint.
“I might be like, ‘Can you just do all of that in post-production? Can you just make me blue?’” she laughed.
“No, I’d obviously be open to it. They’re amazing films to be part of. But I wouldn’t be…”
“Oh my God, that’s just giving me anxiety talking about it! Ask me in like a year.
“At the moment I think I still have some paint in crevices,” she joked. “That stuff sticks around.”
Captain Marvel is released in UK cinemas from Friday 8th March