Iman Vellani is taking on her dream role.
Disney+’s series Ms. Marvel which
premiered on June 8, sees the 19-year-old Pakistani-Canadian actress joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the title character Kamala Khan.
Much like her character who fangirls over Captain Marvel, Vellani is also a noted Marvel fan. She told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show:
“I was like six when Iron Man came out, so the MCU’s always been in my life. And then like, my high school’s right across from a comic book shop and I have the fattest crush on Robert Downey Jr., so I just like needed more Iron Man. So I was constantly reading more invincible Iron Man. And then I picked up Ironheart, and then through her, I found Kamala. And I was ‘Oh, my God. Brown person. Who’s this?’ And I fell in love with her.”
The actress also revealed that she found out about auditioning for the series through a message her aunt received on WhatsApp.
“My aunt was a part of some brown group chat that she never opens and one day she opens it, and someone had forwarded this casting call and she sent it to me and I’m like ‘Look, this is what a scam is.’ Um… I’m not an actor, I can’t…it was fully a blank page that said ‘send headshot and resumé here. Ms. Marvel casting.’ I was like okay. And then they sent a self-tape and then sides for the self-tape and an NDA, and I was like, ‘Oh my God it’s real,’ I know exactly which comic books they pulled these scenes from. And so I wasn’t gonna do it just out of like, sheer fear of failure. And then, like 3:am hit the night it was due and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna regret this, aren’t I?’ So I like, don’t know how self-tapes work, so I recorded my own voice as the other character and then lowered the pitch. So it sounded like I was talking to someone and then just like acted off of my own voice. And the next day I get a call, they’re like, ‘do you have a lawyer? We want to fly you to L.A.’ I was like ‘cool’”
Vellani has also revealed that the directors of the show wanted her input and listened to her. She told Vogue:
“Bilall [Fallah] and Adil [El Arbi], who directed Episodes 1 and 6, wanted Kamala to feel like a modern-day teenager. I was 17 when I got cast, so they used me as a resource and I was more than happy to give my input because it’s annoying when adults make shows about kids and they get everything wrong, or make everything as generic as possible. We wanted to tell a specific story and make Kamala realistic and relatable. I talked to them about the types of guys I had crushes on, my favorite teachers, the sort of drama that’d happen at my high school. I remember telling them about my guidance counselor and how much I really didn’t like him [laughs]. I think after that, they put in this guidance counselor scene that is a big moment for Kamala. Everyone around her is telling her to snap out of her fantasy world and figure out what she’s going to do with her life. It’s such a stressful time for every teenager. How can you possibly know at 16? You can’t. I hope Ms. Marvel makes people feel comforted, because we show that it’s OK to not have found your place in the world yet.”
Iman Vellani will next be seen in The Marvels with Brie Larson and Teyonah
which is due to be released in 2023.