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Nobody Could Have Played Ms. Marvel But Iman Vellani

Glamour: So, what will you be doing when the show premieres? Do you have any plans?

Iman Vellani: Yeah, we’re going back to additional photography for The Marvels. So, still going to be working.

Will you take any time to celebrate or mark it as a big day?

Oh God, I think we already celebrated as a cast, but it’s going to be weird. We’re all going to be separated when the show comes out, which I kind of sucks. Everyone’s super supportive and hopefully we’ll see each other soon because it’s a great group of people who’ve worked on the show, honestly.

I read you were with friends when you got the news that you booked the show, and you celebrated with burritos.

My friends didn’t even know I had auditioned. I got the part in front of them, and they were super confused.

How did you feel in that moment? What was going through your head?

I felt nothing. I couldn’t believe it. I was extremely shocked and just felt numb, honestly. It’s the biggest thing ever because my entire life is Marvel and now I’m in it. It’s just really surreal because you can’t even…it’s so unattainable. My entire family and friends, I didn’t know anybody who’s in the arts or in the industry or anything, and now I’m in it. I just can’t really believe it.

With Marvel being such a big franchise, and you’re leading your own show within it, has anyone given you advice or helped prepare you for this new platform that’s coming your way? 

Brie Larson was actually the first person to reach out to me after I got cast, like only a couple days later. It’s just so nice speaking with her because even though she was already an established actor, Marvel completely changed her life and her fan base. The amount of attention that this franchise gives you is absolutely incomparable to anything else. This next year is going to be really insane and hectic for me. It’s really great that she’s kind of mentally preparing me for that and sharing her experiences and what gets her through all this.

As you were preparing for this role, what did you want to bring to the character? Was there anything you wanted to do to show your take on this part?

I honestly didn’t do much prep for my self-tape. I did it at three in the morning and was super tired and just wanted to get it over with. But afterward, they gave me a second chance. I just wanted to bring myself, really. I just felt like I knew this character, like the back of my hand. I felt like I lived her life. I felt like the comics were written about me. So because I felt that close to the source material, I found it really easy to just allow myself to bring all of myself into the role and trust that’s the right thing to do. Honestly, I was super encouraged by the people at Marvel. They were like, “Look, don’t do any prep. Just read the lines as you would read them because we want Iman Vellani and that’s it.” So, that was super helpful for me to hear. 

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