Art imitates life: Superhero super fan lands lead role in latest MCU/Disney+ adventure 'Ms. Marvel'

ByGeorge Pennacchio via OTRC logo
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
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"It was like a comic book was holding up a mirror in front of me." Newcomer Iman Vellani plays the title role in "Ms. Marvel," a character the actress has loved since childhood for it's groundbreaking, inclusive look at the world.

Before she was named Marvel's latest superhero, Iman Vellani was a self-admitted super-fan of the comic book genre. As a kid, she even had a poster of Captain Marvel on her bedroom wall! So it almost seems pre-ordained that Iman would land in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"I was a Ms. Marvel fan long before I even auditioned. I read all the comic books when I was in high school. I dressed up as her on Halloween, so I was so attached and protective over this character. I really did fall in love with her. I felt like the comics were written about me," said Vellani. "She felt so real. Just literally it was like a comic book was holding up a mirror in front of me."

"Ms. Marvel" introduces us to Kamala Khan, a New Jersey teenager who is a Marvel hero mega fan, especially Captain Marvel. That puts Vellani front and center in "Ms. Marvel and this is her first professional acting job.

"We did the screen test and she started doing the scene. It's her first time in front of any kind of professional camera, and it was her. We just knew," said Executive Producer Bisha K. Ali. "It was a relief we found her!"

Vellani knows she's the first Muslim-Pakistani superhero we've met, but she's also inspired that she will not be the last South Asian represented in the MCU.

"We learn so much from film and TV. They really do shape our perspective on how we see people and I think it's wonderful we're showing Muslims and Pakistanis in a positive light, showing brown people on screen, having fun, making jokes, humanizing the culture so much more than Hollywood has ever done. So I'm really glad to be a part of this," said Vellani.

"Ms. Marvel" begins streaming on Disney+ on Wednesday, June 8.

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