At the 2016 Oscars, a reluctant star was born. So how is Brie Larson doing three years on? As she takes the lead in the Marvel franchise’s most anticipated movie, she talks to Keah Brown about vulnerability, finding inner strength and her plans to diversify the film industry
When Brie Larson won an Oscar for the 2015 movie Room, I jumped for joy as if I knew her. I hadn’t even seen the film yet, but I’d just finished the moving novel by Emma Donoghue that it was based on (about a mother and her five-year-old son held captive in a room), and felt certain she had done the role of Ma justice.
I wouldn’t get to know her until 2017, when we started following each other on Twitter. I was feeling insecure about being vulnerable, so when I heard her talking about her own vulnerability, I decided to reach out to her. What would follow were messages about work, life, self-care and cross-stitching. These messages were sporadic in nature. After all, we are both busy people. She is an actor, producer and director; I write about pop culture, disability (I have cerebral palsy), blackness and womanhood. But the consistent, overriding impression I always got was that Brie Larson is a person who cares about the world and the people in it.
‘I’ve never craved the spotlight that often comes along with success in this business’
Aside from Room, the 29-year-old has starred in Trainwreck (2015), the critically-acclaimed indie film Short Term 12 (2013) and the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island (2017). Last year, she made her directorial debut in the indie comedy-drama Unicorn Store. It’s an impressive body of work in a relatively short space of time, but most people might not realise that far from being the ingénue, Larson – who was born in Sacramento, before moving to LA with her mother and sister – has been working since she was a child. Best known stateside for the sitcom Raising Dad (2001) and Disney Channel movie Right On Track (2003), she also had a stint as a pop star, signing a record deal at 13. These days, as a Time’s Up activist and advocate for sexual-assault survivors (she famously refused to clap when presenting Casey Affleck with an Oscar because of allegations against him), the actress utilises any power she has to be vocal about social and political issues. I can’t wait to see what she does with the power that comes with her latest role – Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel, the 21st (and first female-led) film in the multimillion dollar franchise.