American Airlines, of all places, is offering some insight into how Olivia Munn chooses her film roles. During an interview with the airline’s in-flight magazine, American Way, Munn reveals she was offered the option to play either Ryan Reynold’s girlfriend in Deadpool or Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse. She went with the latter role because it gave her the chance to kick ass.
The article is light on direct quotes, but the interviewer writes: “Munn says she didn’t want to be the girlfriend. Not again. She wanted to fight. To make noise. To kick butt.” When offering her the X-Men role, the filmmakers informed Munn that her character wouldn’t get a lot of dialogue but would have “an important presence” in the movie. Munn seems to have been A-okay with that, revealing she immediately asked whether she would get a fight scene. As Munn puts it, “The fight scene could be her monologue.”
It’s actually kind of hard to track the flow of the conversation through the writer’s descriptions of Munn’s smiles, dramatic pauses, and the way they nibble mango slices while chatting in a “glamorous suite” with “a perfectly blue Los Angeles sky visible beyond the picture windows.” But the ability to play a powerful character seems to have been a sticking point throughout negotiations with Fox. In describing her early conversations with the X-Men filmmakers, Munn explains:
I thought Psylocke was always one of the most lethal characters, and I said, ‘Yes, as long as you’re not using her to be the eye candy. She has really powerful abilities.’ And they said, ‘Yes, that’s an important part.’
(Though Munn doesn’t talk about her costuming specifically, it’s possible that quote perfectly explains how we wound up with a Psylocke who slices through cars in what can charitably be described as a bathing suit.)
There’s a kind of despondency to the article, which makes a point to chart all of Munn’s various career failures (“In any event, it’s fair to say that, until recently, Munn’s was a mostly unremarkable filmography, punctuated by a few highlights: Stewart, Soderbergh, Sorkin.”). It’s a little hard to tell how much of that tone is coming from Munn herself, although she does admit her further involvement in the X-Men franchise will be determined by the reception to her character. And she seems a little nervous about what could happen to her role in editing:
You can do the first-look cover on Entertainment Weekly, but if they’ve chopped up some stuff or taken out moments and the fight scene is reduced for whatever reason, then the moment is gone.
During the rest of the interview, Munn pulls back the curtain on Hollywood, explaining how it “breaks your spirit” to meet famous people who turn out to secretly be dicks. She also gives Aaron Sorkin credit for elevating her career by casting her in The Newsroom and reveals she’d like to try her hand at directing in the future. You can read the full conversation, wry smiles and all, over on the American Way Magazine website.