Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ reign in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has only just begun.
his new diversity cover story, the award-winning comic force behind “Veep” discusses his immersion in the billion-dollar world of comic books – and how far he’s willing to go to bring the mysterious Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine to life.
Louis-Dreyfus has been introduced briefly in credit scenes and cameos in several Marvel films and series thus far, including his debut in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” followed by Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow.” Oddly known as Val, the Contessa is a powerful woman with sinister intentions who is usually seen after international events kicked off by the most powerful people on Earth – and when she does, she has a knack for recruiting the most broken and vengeful of them into her service.
[Warning: spoilers ahead for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”]
The Contessa last appeared in the 2022 blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” where viewers learn that she has been named director of the CIA. This sets the stage for his strongest outing to date, the upcoming film “Thunderbolts,” which Louis-Dreyfus said diversity Will film this June.
Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige described the plot as the story of a “rag-tag bunch” of disorganized superheroes, including Florence Pugh’s Yelena Bolova and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes. Louis-Dreyfus was no longer content with cameos, he said. He wants to crack some skulls.
“I actually pitched it,” Louis-Dreyfus said, “I told them I really wanted to fight.” We will see if that happens. I haven’t seen the script yet.” When reminded of Marvel’s intense stunt training, he reluctantly agreed, “Ugh. I come in better shape.”
Others hitting the gym for “Thunderbolts” include Wyatt Russell returning as US agent; David Harbor reprises his “Black Widow” role as the Red Guardian; Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster; Hannah John-Kamen as Ghost; and Harrison Ford, making his Marvel debut as Thaddeus Ross. They’ll all answer to Louis-Dreyfus, as top Marvel production executive Nat Moore teased last summer, as his character will emerge as the MCU’s most powerful backstory since Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.
“There’s a lot of secrecy around it,” Louis-Dreyfus said diversity Giger, “When I first started shooting it I had to go on set in a black dress with a hood and keep my head down so no one could see I was walking on the sound stage.”
He also confirmed “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler’s recent revelation that Contessa’s pivotal role in “Wakanda Forever” was brought back to add more storylines surrounding the death of King T’Challa, played by the late Chadwick Boseman. His storyline will be unpacked in “Thunderbolts” and beyond. While we wait to learn more about the Contessa, Louis-Dreyfus continues to find ways to make the character his own.
“In the original comic she has white streaks in her hair, but I thought the purple would make this world a little bit more today,” the actor said of the neon streak in her hair on The Contessa Rock. “And I didn’t want her to look like Cruella or anything like that.”
“Thunderbolts” is currently scheduled to open on July 26, 2024