LOS ANGELES — As the last mind-twisting episodes of the ABC drama “Lost” played out in 2010, Evangeline Lilly made it clear that she was ready for a break. The series had been such a physical, emotional and mental challenge for her, she was ready to leaving acting behind.
That decision lasted only a couple of years as the Canadian actress took on the role of Tauriel in two of the “Hobbit” movies: “The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Battle of the Five Armies.”
After those incredibly long shoots, Lilly jumped back into another big-budget, special effects-heavy project with “Ant-Man.” She plays Hope van Dyne, the daughter of the original Ant-Man (Michael Douglas) and a reluctant love interest for the new Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).
She joked that having picked three movies that have such huge followings means she really has to stop acting because the bar is way too high for her to find a next role.
“It’s really just an interesting coincidence,” Lilly said as she tore open the wrapper on a piece of chocolate. The actress needed a bit of energy as she had spent the day talking about her foray into the world of comic book movies while dealing with being pregnant.
“I would have never been able to predict this. I would have never guessed this. I didn’t set out to create this lineup of films. I just consider myself very lucky to get the kind of phone calls I get when I’m at home focusing on my family and my writing,” she said.
Her first production after “Lost” ended was her son in 2011. At the same time, she was working on a children’s book, “The Squickerwonkers,” that debuted in 2013 at the San Diego Comic-Con.
It wasn’t the chance to appear in potential blockbusters that convinced Lilly to get back in front of the cameras. She said she always has been a fan of fantasy writing and J.R.R. Tolkien, and Marvel Comics offered her a great character to play.
“These roles are a whole lot of fun to play,” Lilly said.
“I love the fact that when you look at the characters from ‘Lost,’ ‘The Hobbit’ and Marvel, you could put those characters in a lineup side by side, and you almost couldn’t tell they are the same human being,” Lilly said. “That’s one of the fun things about being in fantasy films. You really get to reinvent yourself.”
She sees her “Ant-Man” role as being one of the darkest and most dour characters she ever has played. There are multiple reasons for that attitude including the loss of a parent, daddy issues and having to show she is as good as any man in the business world.
Lilly’s assessment that the characters she has played in the three big projects are very different in tone and look is on target. But the trio share one common bond: They are all strong women.
The actress gets those kinds of roles because they’re the kind of parts she pursues, and it’s a reflection of who she is in the real world. She said to ask any of the men in her life and they will tell you it’s hard to get Lilly to step back and let someone else handle a task or problem.
“I believe I’m as capable as any man. That comes from my father,” Lilly said. “He had three daughters and no sons and always told us that we can do anything a man can do and probably do it better.”
Her independence started when she was young doing a host of jobs — including flight attendant, grease monkey and actor in commercials — to pay her way through college. Lilly smiled and stressed that she had a long list of jobs, but despite what the Internet says, she was never a model.
She was heavy into her studies of international relations and political science when the opportunity came along to audition for “Lost.”
The role that changed her life almost never happened. Passport issues almost kept her out of Hawaii. But, the problem was resolved and Lilly’s first step in a career full of fantasy and big budget projects was started.
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