Movies & TV / News

Ben Mendelsohn On Why Talos’ Arc in Captain Marvel Appealed To Him, Fan Criticism

March 11, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Captain Marvel Skrulls

Warning: Some spoilers follow for Captain Marvel.

Ben Mendelsohn spoke with Uproxx for a new interview discussing his role as Talos in Captain Marvel and more. Highlights are below:

On Talos’ arc in the film: “Keeping the lid on that has obviously been part of what we’ve been trying to achieve with that. So it’s been very much “”bad guy bad guy“ stuff. And then, obviously, the sun will come out. But if it stays dry until the day, or day after, or whatever, that’ll be fantastic. That’ll be amazing. I think that’s part of the fun of this film. I was quite thrilled about this one. Because of Ryan [Fleck] and Anna [Boden,’ who he worked with on Mississippi Grind]…I’m pretty sure that was why they came to me, because we know each other, we’ve worked together, we’ve spent months together. So they obviously felt kind of comfortable with the idea, that with Talos, we could do this.”

On doing research on Talos: “So, one of the first things I did when I knew I was going to be playing the Skrull, I went back to their first appearance in Fantastic Four in like 1962. And they start out as kind of these tadpole-y, kind of insipid, kind of semi-frog amphibian malevolent dudes that go and shape-shift into the Fantastic Four. And then they do a jewelry heist, wreck a water tower or some bullshit like that…It’s all very Cold War and mustache twirly and all of that sort of business. And then you’ve got the next decade of development, of what the Skrull’s become. So one of my first kind of conclusions and liberation points was, you know what? There’s a Skrull, this is their first appearance. This is how they were first conceived. And they bear very little resemblance anymore to how they appeared when we first meet them. So you can throw it out. You can throw out the book of orthodoxy on it. Because it’s not there, you know? It’s not there. So the idea that there’s some kind of orthodoxy about them is completely discounted, because once you go to the start point, you go “Okay, they’re Skrulls, but they’ve changed enormously.” So, my point with that is, that it’s all of these characters, and all of them will change some of the characteristics of the participants. And this has forever been a feature of comic book universe. So I just looked on it like that. I just figured, well, okay. For instance, we don’t know a Skrull with an Australian accent, you know what I mean?”

On Marvel having plans for the Skrulls: “Well, this is the thing about the brain of Kevin Feige. It’s a pretty awesome brain. And he’s kind of, to me – this is pretty off the cuff, this appraisal and this notion – but he just seems to me to be the closest thing we’ve got to an old fashioned studio boss. Insofar as he’s able to join up and link up all these elements. The old fashioned comic book fans adore him, he’s made more movies that work than don’t, and he’s made some absolute pearls in there…”

On hardcore comic fans who may not like the change to the Skrulls: “Well, you know what? Full respect to them. Full respect to them. There are going to be many aficionados and this and that and the other that have their opinion. But go back to the Civil War comics. Part of what the tradition of Marvel has always been is to take its characters and refashion them for whatever situation or stuff is going on. Now, I accept that there may be people that feel that way. And, ultimately, the films and the additions of the comics and everything that they release has to stand up on its own merit as a single unit. And, obviously, when you get over a long stretch of time, you get a series of comic books, you get a series of films, you know. Yes, they work together, but they also have to all stand up on their own merits. And I’m confident we’ve done that.”