Cowboy Bebop actress Molly Moriarty joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this year, playing one of the Asgardian children depicted in Taika Waititi's Thor: Love and Thunder. As a young actor, she has been thrust into the spotlight with two big projects in fairly rapid succession, and of course, the age of the modern blockbuster means that while she is learning to hone her craft, she is also doing so without a scene partner to bounce off of most of the time, since as often as not, she's talking to a tennis ball on a stick, standing in front of a green screen for a set that isn't there.
That's a weird way to learn -- but the last few years have been anything but normal for anybody. So what's it like for a young actor, especially one who isn't from the United States, trying to make it in Hollywood? We had a chance to catch up with Moriarty for some answers.
"Most of the scene were filmed with a blue screen so I had to imagine what it was going to look like when the movie as finished," Moriarty said. "I also used my imagination when I filmed my bedroom scene, as I was being taken from my bed by shadow monsters. Imagining monsters were dragging me away, and got into how scary it would be, and went for it."
To get the part, which was filmed in her native New Zealand, Moriarty sent her auditions in via self tape and never got to meet her co-stars until she was on set. She said that it was exciting being an 8-year-old trying out for a Marvel movie, and a little starstruck when she got it. That faded pretty quickly, though, as after a day or two, even the big stars were just people she was working with.
"I was invited to audition for this project through a Casting Director who I'd worked with before," Moriarty said. "It was just before the pandemic hit so after the first audition, everything stopped, and we didn't hear anything for ages. I actually forgot about it, and then one day months later, my mum and I were on a road trip, and my Agent called saying Marvel wanted me to send in a quick recording. So we pulled over on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere to make a quick video. It was pretty funny actually. Then after several more months, I was in New Zealand filming a Netflix series when Marvel got in touch again, and it all started to come together."
Most of Moriarty's scenes were filmed on a set at Fox Studios in Sydney, which gave her the opportunity to appreciate some of the grand scale of it, without being out in the elements as a child actor.
"It was so amazing to see such big sets in action," Moriarty said. "There were people everywhere, but everything was so organized. It was the first set of that size I'd been on, so I loved every second of it. A few scenes were filmed on location, but that was only a few days. This was great as well as it was outdoors and at night. The set was built so it looked like we were in a town, but it wasn't a real town, which I thought was amazing."
Unfortunately for all involved, while she's still hoping for another Thor movie with Chris Hemsworth, Moriarty didn't actually get to ride on the screaming goats.
"I didn't know about the screaming goats until I saw the movie, as I wasn't in any of the scenes with them," she admitted. "But I wish I had of been able to ride them as that would have been so much fun. They were so funny!"
But never say never! Waititi previously joked that he had put them in the movie, just to make things harder for Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn -- and Gunn's movies are some of Moriarty's favorites. So maybe someday down the line, her Asgardian can find her way back to the goats -- or at least Groot.
"I would absolutely love to do another Marvel film," she said. "That would be so amazing but if it doesn't happen I'm so proud that I had the opportunity to be a part of Thor. The Marvel Universe is so cool and there are so many awesome characters. If I could choose any Marvel film to be in, I think I'd choose Guardians of the Galaxy, as my favorite Marvel character is Groot and I'd love to have a boogie with him. But to be honest, I'd just love to be in anything Marvel again. It was such an honor and an amazing experience."
You can catch Thor: Love and Thunder (plus the animated shorts series I Am Groot) on Disney+ now.