Hannah John-Kamen is the newest addition to the Women of the Marvel cinematic universe as Ghost. A character that was a man in the comics takes on a new path in Ant-Man and The Wasp. But isn't Ghost the villain of the movie? If you ask Director Peyton Reed and Hannah John-Kamen, the answer is no; she is the antagonist of the film.
The end of this interview contains spoilers, I'll warn you again. To listen the full interview check out the video!
Thanks to Disney and Marvel Studios for bringing me to LA for the Ant-Man and The Wasp event.
Hannah John-Kamen on joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe
We all wanted to know what it feels like to join the Marvel family?
Hannah John- Kamen – Oh, my goodness. It was amazing. I was so excited to join the Marvel Universe, but it was also daunting. It’s overwhelming. It’s a huge responsibility to take this amazing character off the comic book page and be the first person to introduce it into an incredible movie with incredible cast members, which, they’re heroes in life. They are legends. So, yeah, it was amazing. Very exciting.
When you were auditioning for the role of Ghost, did the aspect that this character was a man in the comic books ever come up?
HJK – Actually it didn’t come up. So, when I kinda Googled, Marvel Universe Ghost I saw that it’s, ‘oh, it’s originally a man.' And I remember my agents then telling me, ‘oh, yeah, it’s originally a man, and they’re going a whole different way.' And I was like ‘great!' So to have a male character and be the first person to lift it off the page and give her life and, make her a strong, badass woman is so important and progressive and onwards and upwards with that. More, we’ve got Wasp in the title. Yes! So that was really fun. And also like with the character in the comic books, Ghost didn’t have a whole lot of backstory either. So we really have the freedom to create this character and find out who she is. So, that was fun.
Ghost is an intense character with an interesting backstory in the film that they have created. Hannah John-Kamen was really excited about playing Ghost, and so I wanted to know what helped her channel her rage on screen.
HJK – It’s the words. It’s the scene. It’s the words. It’s my scene partner. It’s the whole situation. It’s the stakes. The stakes are so high. And I think that’s what Peyton has done an amazing job of. He guides you so well. And with this film you’ve got that balance between romance, there’s a love story, fatherhood, parenthood, action, high-octane drama. He taps your funny bone. It’s hilarious. But then also it’s heartbreaking.
And you literally are, as an audience member, you’re kind of jumping between the two. And it’s amazing. So to channel that kind of serious objective that my character has in the movie was a continuity from beginning to end.
How cool was it to suit up in the Ghost suit for the first time?
HJK – I remember turning up on my first day. The suit does take up a bit of a process. It’s like 40 pieces. There’s a table like this with all these pieces of gray bits that are all being clipped together. Actually by the end of the movie we kind of had it down to under ten minutes, around seven minutes to get the costume on and off. It’s a three-man job. But putting that suit on and just the sheer size of the studio and going in and seeing the set and standing there and going ‘holy hell, I made it! Wow, okay, I’m here. Oh, my goodness. This is nuts. Oh, I’m, I’m pinching myself.' Yeah, it’s definitely a moment that it doesn’t kind of sink in. But also, you feel really badass as well.
Hannah John-Kamen on doing her own stunts and showcasing Ghost's abilities
Ghost can move through objects. The special effects surrounding her character are amazing to see on screen, but that is all done in post-production. What is it like just using the special effects in your imagination as you’re acting?
HJK – The imagination, yeah, you gotta have one! It was an amazing process to basically do the fights and the green screen and everything. But I actually had that freedom to just play the scene. I do my own stunts. Right just do it, and then they’ll do the rest later on. So, it didn’t restrict me as an actor to be like, ‘okay, now I need to move like this and then move there and then move there for the camera.' They kind of do this amazing effects. So, I was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s impressive, and thank you.'
You do your own stunts!? How do you prepare for that?
HJK – Well, I’ve been doing my own stunts in my career for a really long time. And I think it’s really important to do as much as you physically possibly can, because the character it’s what you bring to it, it’s not just emotional. It’s also physically, especially in this Marvel Universe. We all have different powers. We all have different styles of fighting. So it’s important for you to bring yourself and what you want and what the character is with the movements and the fighting. And, and even if there is any comedy in the fighting or if there’s a moment you wanna add. So, that was really, really fun. I love kicking ass.
How was it filming and preparing for the fight scene in the van? (Listen to the audio, it's hilarious)
HJK – I mean whenever I do a fight scene I always get this real adrenaline rush, like ‘ALL RIGHT, OKAY! Don’t come near me.' It’s like ‘do you want any water?' I’m like ‘nogghhh. Let's do it again!' So, I kind of get like a real high of kicking ass. But every fight scene, it takes time. It takes a long time because you’ve gotta be safe as well. You gotta really be safe. You gotta figure it out.
Also with restricted spaces as well, especially like a van, you’ve gotta make sure that you know what you’re doing. They do it in pieces as well. It’s not like, right, ‘you’re gonna jump over there and run over there, and we’re gonna do it all one.' It’s like you kinda do it in sections as well to really nail that move and for that move to sell as well for the camera. So, that fun.
Hannah John-Kamen on girl power
What would you like young girls to take away from seeing you in your character?
HJK – I want them to come away and just basically go, ‘yeah.' With me and Evangeline, I want young girls to go, ‘yeah, we can be badass.' And I want them to have our action figurines and actually play with them and go — ‘do you know what? I can be strong just like they are.'
Evangeline Lilly is not the only one that feels like Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman set the bar high for female superheroes. We wanted to hear what it was like working with Michelle Pfeiffer in Ant-Man and The Wasp.
HJK – I got star struck being on the set a lot of the time. I’m a huge fan. I remember actually in Grease 2, me and my sister used to make up dances in front of the TV to all of her songs all the time. I was obsessed with her Cat Woman. I thought she was so badass. I thought started, and she set that bar so high. She’s an incredible actress, all of her incredible movies and, doing Scarface.
It was daunting, but you kind of use that. You kind of use that in the scenes and you also kind of take that energy and you really kind of apply it. It was amazing.
Did you get a chance to sit down with Evangeline Lilly and be like, ‘yeah, high five, we’re superheroes?'
HJK – Hell, yeah. We, say girl power all the time. We’re like girl power. And then we chest bump. So, that was awesome.
Hannah John-Kamen on the future of Ghost *SPOILER WARNING*
At the end of Ant-Man and The Wasp, Ghost kind of has this moment with Laurence Fishburne where you guys have this reconciliation, and it looks like Ghost is sort of turning this leaf and maybe heading more of a light place where she’s not quite as angry, and she’s been healed a little bit. And is there something that we can look for her in the future, like maybe a different role in an Avengers movie?
HJK – I think everyone’s redeemable. I really do. I think Marvel does that genius job with the villainous characters to really not make it black and white. They make it gray. They make it kind of like you kinda feel sorry for them. You’re kind of on their side. You kind of confuse yourself as an audience member and go, ‘hold on a minute. Why am I rooting for this person?' And I said I approached the character as if she’s the good guy. And, through my eyes, she’s the good guy. And through the protagonist side, yes, okay, she’s the bad guy. But in my mind, no. She’s got a job — she’s got her objective. The stakes are really high. But in the Marvel Universe, anything’s possible. I think I’d like to see Ghost give a helping hand. Why not? Like, I think ‘why wouldn't she?' ‘Do unto others as you want to do unto yourself.'
We think Ghost should help Ant-Man get out of the Quantum Realm!
HJK – Yeah, if he asks nicely!
If you could be a hero, not a villain, which character would you be?
HJK – I’d be Ghost, 'cause she’s a hero. I wouldn't change a damn thing.
And neither would we! Make sure you see Hannah as Ghost in Ant-Man and The Wasp in theaters now!