'Captain Marvel': Brie Larson Addresses the Smiling "Controversy"

When the first photos and trailers for Captain Marvel debuted, a certain subset of sexist fans began to complain on social media that the character wasn't shown smiling, despite male heroes rarely being shown grinning in promotional materials over the past decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One moment in the film features Carol Danvers being asked to smile, with actress Brie Larson noting this exchange had been in the script from early on, serving as a representation of regular harassment that women endure.

In an interview with Yahoo, the actress pointed out that the scene wasn't a reshoot, noting, "That's just a depiction of the female experience. That's just what it's like. It didn't bother me that much when I saw that that was the reaction [on social media], it's just how it goes."

Co-director Anna Boden also weighed in on the situation, explaining, "It was always in the script and it's not an uncommon thing for women to hear. I think you'll ask any woman in this room and [she's heard comments like,] 'Oh, don't be so sad.' It's a very common thing to hear as a woman so it doesn't surprise me at all that it was in social media. I think a lot of women can relate to that moment."

From early on in the marketing campaign for the film, Larson has been outspoken about seeing more inclusion at press junkets, revealing that most of the journalists she had spoken to throughout her illustrious career were white men. Larson noted that this exchange in the film could help create a learning moment for men everywhere, shedding insight into harassment that women experience frequently.

"You're being let in. I'm sure you were probably like, 'People say that?!' Yeah, it happens," the actress shared with the male journalist. "This is part of why art depicting the female experience is so important because, on one hand, for women and girls, it allows us to go, 'Oh, I have that experience, too,' and for those that aren't in our bodies, can look at it and go, 'Wait, that happens to you? We've gotta do better.'"

With projections of Captain Marvel's opening weekend numbers rising on a daily basis, currently tracking for a $120-million domestic opening, the film is sure to provide learning moments for many male viewers.

Captain Marvel lands in theaters on March 8th.

What do you think of Larson's remarks? Let us know in the comments below!

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