I know her as one of the Khaleesi that welcomes Daenerys in Game of Thrones, but now I’m able to add Ghost from Ant-Man to roles that I can connect Hannah John-Kamen with. She enters the room like a breath of fresh air, dressed in similar colors to the character she portrays on the big screen. It’s a little detail she’s happy to share with us, and one that I love seeing an actress embrace.
On joining the Marvel Universe and making Ghost her own
Joining the universe seems to be right up John-Kamen’s alley. She’s been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a long time now, and was excited to bring her version of Ghost, who is a man in the comic books to the big screen. We all know that Marvel is great with putting new spins on lesser known characters, and they took this liberty when they cast a woman as Ghost and created an entire backstory to create the tension that we see on screen.
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.
I got in there and I met Peyton in person. I had so much fun. I just had so much fun working this character with Peyton for the day. I just kind of let loose and really had fun with her, and I kinda came away and I said, ‘Listen, if I don’t get this, that’s okay, because I had the best day ever. I don’t regret one minute of it.’ And, and then I get a call saying, ‘Yeah, you got it!” she told us, laughing. “And then I think I screamed and danced to Miley Cyrus.
We really have the freedom to create [Ghost] and find out who she is. So, that was fun. The script did change and adapt” because they were all figuring out the character together. Things changed along the way as she helped “massage the character in certain ways.
On creating the perfect villain – and why Ghost is a good person
There are several villains that I can SEE why they do what they do. The reasoning behind their maniacal visions, and the way that they are take no prisoners with it. Some just enjoy killing, and I’m not sure I can get with that, but others, they have a bit of humanity in them, and it’s hard not to feel for them. If only they would turn that little spot of greatness into a positive movement. I’m looking at you Loki and Erik Killmonger. John-Kamen had this to say about playing a villain, and how she channeled her to get that personality. We even rolled into the territory of the redemption of villains. Are they redeemable. It’s where we got that wonderful quote from Laurence Fishburne “pimps are people too.” Everyone deserves space to redeem themselves, and John-Kamen agreed with her castmate.
It’s the words. It’s the scene. 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. You literally are, as an audience member, kind of jumping between the two. And it’s amazing.
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?
through my eyes, she’s the good guy. And through the protagonist side, yes, she’s the bad. 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.
On doing her own stunts for this movie
I’m always impressed with actors and actresses who perform their own stunts in their movies. It pulls on your body and muscles in a totally different way than creating a character through words and facial expressions does. The fighter or active character is a legit extension of you, and your work.
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 is what you bring to it; it’s not just emotional. It’s also physical, 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 – what the character is with the movements and the fighting and if there is any comedy in the fighting or if there’s a moment you wanna add. So, yeah, that was really fun.
Whenever I do a fight scene I always get this real adrenaline rush. It’s definitely a different kind of actor who can do his/her own stunts. Every kind of fight scene — it takes time. It takes a long time because you have to be safe as well. You gotta figure it out. Also with restricted spaces as well, especially like the van that Evangeline and I are in.
It was an honor interviewing this quickly rising star and her excitement was palpable. If you haven’t seen her on the screen yet, you should get to your nearest theater to see Ant-Man and The Wasp so you can weigh in on what you think of her performance. Let me know.