There are cryptic TV shows that keep you guessing and then there is Disney+’s first standalone Marvel TV show, Wandavision.
The show follows one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest relationships between Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen and Vision played by Paul Bettany. But for the first few episodes of the show there are no big Marvel Avengers-esque battle scenes and instead the pair are living very domesticated lives on various TV sound stages that act as parodies of classic TV sitcoms from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Confused? So are we, BUT as the show progresses and the domesticated bliss slips, the mystery heats up and so does the drama. At the centre of the plot twist is Kat Dennings’s Darcy Lewis (who was previously seen in the Thor movies) who takes on an investigative mission to try to figure what the actual f**k is going on – much like us at home.
Here, the former star of sitcom 2 Broke Girls and Dollface, opens up on Wandavision plot twists, her hopes for Wandavision season two and what missing out on a role in Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland taught her about success and failure…
How have you been looking after your mental wellbeing during this time?
My cat has never been happier. She doesn’t know what’s going on but it’s a rough, weird time to be a human person on planet earth, isn’t it? I started a garden and I had been wanting to do that ever since I moved here. I never had the time, or I never made the time before. I built the garden boxes myself and planted them last spring. I know it sounds like not a big deal, but for me it was. A nice thing to realise during this was that I wanted to feel better. Being sad is the worst. Obviously this is a horrible, sad time, but I found myself wanting to feel better which, again, sounds like not a big deal, but it’s a good instinct to know that you have the want to improve your situation.
As an actor you have really had a lot of your work stripped away from you this year and as a generation, we’re taught to strive for more constantly. What has that made you realise about what’s important and how you define success?
That’s an important and big question because it’s so true. I’m in my thirties now and I’ve been working my whole life almost. My life has been my job, my career, and work, work, work. It’s not necessarily the fun part of being an actress, but I really enjoy my work, I love to act and be on set. My life had been focused on that for so long and then all of a sudden, you have to stop. But the fortunate thing I also realized was that my priorities have been pretty good. My family has always been number one, and my friends, so I wasn’t jolted into realizing what was important. I felt like I already had that straight. But in a way, a lot of my life was filled with guilt before, because I’m away all the time. You’re often traveling, or you’re on set for hours and my typical work day is 16 -17 hours. I don’t see my loved ones as much as I would want so I’ve certainly taken advantage of that. I bubbled up with my brother, sister-in-law and their baby that they just had and I have realised that it’s people that make the world go round. Remember sitting down and getting a coffee with your best friend and talking sh*t for hours?
I know – I miss gossip! But thankfully we have Wandavision for out of this world escapism. Stepping back into the Marvel Universe there is so much secrecy and you are quite the plot twist…
Right! What’s funny is that, for anyone who remembers my character from the Thor movies, that was like eight years ago, and I was just happy to be there the first time. I was so thrilled to be in one movie, let alone two. Anytime Marvel calls I’m like, “Yes, of course. Whatever you want.” So, I didn’t know what the scope of my role was going to be. For all I knew, it was in one scene or I had a cameo. When I found out what was going on, I couldn’t believe it. Not only is she here to help solve this big mystery, but now she’s an expert – she’s a scientist!
How much of a geek are you in real life, on the science front?
My dad is a scientist, fun fact! He’s a biochemist, so, I’d like to say I know a little more than maybe a normal person, but I don’t understand half of what he says, so maybe not!
What shook you the most about your character, the plot line and the new Marvel world you entered into?
What was shocking from a production standpoint – and I always am surprised at this in terms of Marvel because it’s so rare – was that everything is already there for you to look at. Usually you’re looking at a tennis ball or you’re looking at a grip holding a light and eating a sandwich. It’s part of the fun of filmmaking. But in this case, that base, the SWORD base that you see was all built. It was an entire place with hallways, different rooms and even mugs on the desk – every detail was looked at. I was also just surprised to be the one saying all the scientific language, because I’m the last person that you would expect to be saying that stuff. There’s so much more to come. Don’t watch spoilers, people – save some magic for yourself.
I love that when people promote Marvel projects they literally can’t say anything about it…
Our talking point sheets are just what we can’t talk about. We can’t say anything basically, but it’s fun. When you go into these interviews you have a totally blank brain and that’s the best way to do it. I’m one of those rare people that can keep a secret. I do tend to tell my brother, that’s all and he can keep a secret. We’re basically one.
If you could be in the writers room for Wandavision season two what would you want to happen for Darcy Lewis?
Oh God, I’m grateful I’m not in the writer’s room because this show is so intricate. I don’t know if these shows are going to have second seasons but I would love to see Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis doing an X-Files show together, solving mysteries.
You have had such an amazing career from Two Broke Girls to Wandavision but is there, “no” that you have received in your life that has ultimately been an empowering one in retrospect?
I’m glad you brought that up because it’s so true. You see 10 jobs that have been a yes. For every one job, there’s a thousand nos that you don’t see, of course. I can even say during the pandemic I was attached to a film that was my dream role in every way, dream director, dream cast, dream script, dream role. I dropped out because they wanted to shoot during the pandemic, it would have involved me not being able to see my family, and traveling and coming back and quarantining away from them for a long time. My parents are older so I had to make that decision and it hurt so bad. I was so sad for a long time.
There was a movie I am still sad about so I don’t know if it gave me anything constructive. But I had a bunch of auditions for Tim Burton’s Alive in Wonderland. I know that seems strange, and I was as surprised as everybody else, but I got right up to the end, and he’s my favorite director. I was like, “I’m not going to get this because I’m wrong for it. But what if I did?” He hired the most perfect actress for that role, she deserved it, she’s wonderful, and she should have gotten it. But in my emotions I was like, “Oh, my God. What if I do get it? Now I’m close, and now I’m going to be devastated if it doesn’t work out.” It didn’t work out and I was devastated. But I look back now and I got to meet my favorite director and read a role for him -I got to be in a room with him, what a complete fluke. They put the wig on me and they did the makeup test – I was so thrilled. I was so sad afterwards and I think that might’ve been the only role I cried over losing. If I cried about every role I lost, I’d just be crying all day. I did learn an important lesson, which was, “You should try. Even if it’s not going to happen, try anyway.”
Written by Josh Smith for Glamour Magazine, article published February 11