BLACK WIDOW Star Olga Kurylenko On Being Marvel's Best-Kept Secret & Finally Giving Nat Closure (Exclusive)
With Black Widow finally out in theaters and available to stream on Disney+ Premier Access, we recently caught up with Olga Kurylenko and got all the details on being Marvel Studios' best-kept secret!
This interview contains massive spoilers from Marvel Studios' Black Widow, so proceed with caution if you haven't seen the film!
Following a record-breaking start at the global box office, we were able to catch up Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion; Quantum Solace), and get her thoughts on being one of Marvel Studios' best-kept secrets.
In the critically-acclaimed Cate Shortland-directed superhero adventure, she featured as Antonia Dreykov, a.k.a. Taskmaster, the proverbial red in Natasha Romanoff's (Scarlett Johansson) ledger. Kurylenko tells us what it meant to her as an actress to be the one fo finally bring some closure to the fan-favorite Avenger, as well as what her experience was like working on a big-budget blockbuster under a female director.
She also reveals more behind-the-scenes details about how she was offered the part, who her son may like to see her square up against, and, of course, we had to ask about her time on Oblivion opposite Tom Cruise and whether she would ever like to revisit that post-apocalyptic world.
Check out the full video interview below or keep scrolling for the transcript!
ROHAN: I think your casting was one of Marvel’s best-kept secrets ever! Can you tell me more about that process?
OLGA: It was an offer - to my great happiness, I was very touched and it just came out of nowhere and it was mostly just, I just jumped straight in it and started preparing the part.
ROHAN: Since this Taskmaster is a completely original version for the movie, did you look into the comics much for research? Or, because Antonia has also gone through a lot of trauma, did you look for alternative inspiration?
OLGA: That one, I just explored it more and made it up for me, for myself and of course, I spoke to, Cate and I spoke about it, Cate the director, and we were both on the same note, agreeing that we had to show that humane part to her and that pain, it’s someone who is struggling between what she’s made to be and what she would’ve loved to be if she had the opportunity.
The lack of freedom, the manipulation, the lack of choice, the physical and psychological trauma that she endured, more than one throughout her past and her childhood and that was an important thing too for this Taskmaster because here we were going to see beyond the facade, beyond the cold-blooded killer that seemingly has no feelings and I think it’s a very complex character behind that is very confused, which could be explored in lots of different ways.
ROHAN: You're no stranger to blockbuster movie-making, but unlike Quantum of Solace and Oblivion, this time you're under the direction of a woman, Cate Shortland, who absolutely knocks it out of the park with this movie. I mean, it's amazing what she's done. How did your experience differ working under her?
OLGA: It was great, I loved Cate. It was, you know, there was this feeling of - Oh, which I don’t know, I felt like we were understanding each other, not in that we don’t understand each other when there are male directors, obviously there is always like exploration, but we were, our sensibility, we were sensitive to similar things. It was this female sensibility and she was so gentle and yet she had this strength.
It was such a beautiful combination and it was so nice how she just lived through every scene, she would watch behind the monitor and she would just really - I could see she was just living through what the characters were living, like she would laugh or cry or literally experiencing all those emotions, so she was with us 100% and it was really nice to see her give that feedback and realize that it was working already, in provoking those feelings in her and obviously she was the boss and she was just inspiring me with my concerns. She was inspiring me to be more and more, to give this humanity to the character and I’m grateful because of her, I wanted to give it all to her.
ROHAN: While Antonia has a lot of reason to be angry after what's happened to her, when Natasha cures her of mind control at the end, you give a look that's very free and appreciative of what Nat's done. What did that mean to you to be able to be the one that finally brings some sense of closure to Natasha?
OLGA: I think it’s a great moment and it’s nice that we see a glimpse of it because obviously as I said the characters, the facade is pretty straightforward, it’s a cold-blooded killer, a very well-skilled, dangerous, almost unbeatable and then, but she’s imprisoned, and to have it fall apart and that facade to fall off for a second or for longer, who knows, it depends on what there is after for her, to see that glimpse of humanity and realization for the potential, freedom is important and inspiring and beautiful.
I think it gives her lots of different opportunities to go many different ways and obviously it’s the character who can start exploring what exactly happened to her. I’m not sure she’s able to do that while she’s under the spell because I don’t think she’s even able to think straight, she believed what’s she told and what she’s fed and freedom, freedom gives lots of opportunities and that character has them in the end.
ROHAN: I read that your son is a bit of a Spider-Man fan and in the comics and video games, Taskmaster has a bit of a history with the web-slinger. If you had the opportunity to reprise the role, would you want to see Antonia cross paths with Spidey or is there another Marvel character you have your eye on?
OLGA: That’s interesting, no one has asked me that, yeah I mean my son would be thrilled to see that, I mean he would love it, he’s just like, not a long time ago, couple days ago, he was running around in a Spider-Man costume and he’s still into it. He loved it, he’s obviously now seen some bits of the film and he loves it. It’s cool about Taskmaster, she can replicate other people’s moves and she’s just, for them, it’s like fighting with a mirror and it’s really cool. She can be anything, she can be anyone, she just takes it from others and copies them, so it’s a pretty good skill to have. How do you beat that?
ROHAN: I thought Oblivion was really underrated, and I know it's been years now, but do you remember if there were ever any talks of a sequel back then?
OLGA: Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure, but if there were, like again, when projects are cool like that, I’m always on for another ride.
ROHAN: Where do you think your character Julia would be?
OLGA: Oh gosh, it’s hard to say, it could go anywhere, I don’t know, she probably has lots of kids or maybe lots of husbands - *laughs* - because it’s the same person obviously who is cloned and we understand there’s so many of them. It could be very interesting, I mean, again, there are a lot of places the story could go.
Black Widow is now playing in theaters everywhere, and is also available to stream on Disney+ Premier Access!