Evangeline Lilly Recalls Turning Down X-Men and Wonder Woman

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania finds Evangeline Lilly making her fourth appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Hope van Dyne. But although she shares top billing with Paul Rudd as one of the film’s namesake superheroes, Lilly wasn’t always crazy about the comic book genre. In fact, earlier on in her career, she was offered the chance to join not one, but two high-profile superhero franchises. And she didn’t hesitate to turn both of them down.

Lilly discussed her past brushes with superhero stardom on the latest episode of Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Variety). During the interview, Lilly confirmed that Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, offered her a role in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise. This happened right around the time that the pair were working together on 2011’s Real Steel. Unfortunately, she didn’t reveal which film or character Jackman had her in mind for.

“[Jackman] was like, ‘Hey, so, the X-Men guys are asking me if I would approach you because they know that you won’t talk to anybody,” remembered Lilly. “They knew I was working with you. And [they] were interested to know if it would ever interest you to do an X-Men thing.”

“I was like, ‘No. It doesn’t interest me. I’m not interested,'” continued Lilly. “I was like, ‘I feel like such a dick because I’m talking to an X-Man! The X-Man! And I’m telling him, ‘No that doesn’t appeal. Like, what?!’ I felt so rude!”

Whatever the role was, it couldn’t have been as big as the other comic book character Lilly was once in line to play. In the early 2000s, Joss Whedon courted Lilly to star as Wonder Woman back when he was attached to write and direct his own film featuring the Amazon princess. Ultimately, the character wasn’t destined to appear onscreen until Gal Gadot showed up in the DC Extended Universe. But even during her audition, Lilly found it hard to muster the right amount of enthusiasm. As she recalls, this didn’t go unnoticed by Whedon, who seemed to take offense to her indifference. However, she was “okay with burning bridges” in the interest of making the right career moves.

“I think my impression, coming away from it, was I had no desire and [Whedon] could tell,” said Lilly. “It didn’t appeal and there was nothing about the meeting that like, jazzed me or made me think like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta do this.’ Nothing clicked. Nothing felt good. I am way too authentic for my own good. I mean, it’s not good. If I am not impressed, you’ll know. And maybe you shouldn’t know sometimes.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters tonight before opening wide tomorrow, February 17.

Do you think Lilly would have made a good Wonder Woman? Which X-Men character do you think she could have played? Let us know in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Wonder Woman: 80 Years of the Amazon Warrior

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