Secret Invasion: Kingsley Ben-Adir Talks Gravik’s ‘Mistrust of Leadership’

Secret Invasion star Kingsley Ben-Adir has discussed what exactly led Gravik to become the villain of the new Marvel Cinematic Universe series.

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ben-Adir cited “[h]uge trauma, “huge mistrust of leadership,” and the “feeling of being let down time and time again by different figures of authority and leadership” as being what led the Skrull known as Gravik down a dark path.

“Later on, we get to see him explain some of those reasons for why he feels the way that he does, but it’s the abuse of power, the mistrust of leadership, the broken promises and the feeling like he’s had enough,” the actor elaborated. “He’s had enough of listening to people who are full of shit, and it really became a simple thing to wrap my head around. I was like, ‘I understand this kind of feeling that creates these guys who behave in this way.’ The idea was to create something grounded, real and darker, and it felt appropriate to think about him in those terms. ‘Who are these guys? What is this behavior?'”

Marvel’s Gravik says and does ‘very different things’

In order to prepare for the role, Ben-Adir researched “cult leaders who are able to manipulate whole communities of people to do these horrific acts for justified reasons.” “[I]t felt appropriate as the villain in this piece to explore the antisocial personality disorder side of things,” he explained. “The righteousness of what he’s doing is this complete crock of shit, and it’s just how he uses and manipulates people. He is testing everyone constantly, and that becomes quite fun to play. It becomes something that you can ground yourself in, and then I felt that all the scenes started to have more interesting layers than just what he was saying.”

Ben-Adir concluded that what Gravik “says and what he does” in Secret Invasion are “two different things.” “He’s saying it’s for his people, but what seems more important to him is that Nick Fury experiences it as it’s happening,” the actor said. “So we’ll see more of this later on with other characters, where you go, ‘This guy is doing and saying very different things, so there has to be something else going on underneath.’ Otherwise, it’s just dull. We’ve seen it, and it won’t be felt. So the audience will feel that there’s a tension or something that is not being said, and that there’s something you don’t know about the way that he feels.”

Secret Invasion is streaming on Disney+ now

Marvel Studios‘ Secret Invasion premiered on June 21 as the first Disney+ original series in Phase Five of the MCU. Inspired by the 2008 Marvel Comics event of the same name, the series centers on ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his longtime Skrull ally Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) as they are forced to contend with a planet-wide invasion by a faction of radical Skrulls. These renegade shapeshifters are led by Gravik, who plans to covertly take over Earth and seize its resources.

New episodes of Secret Invasion drop Wednesdays on Disney+.

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