An interview with ‘Captain America: Civil War’ actress Emily VanCamp

Marvel Studios/Courtesy

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While Marvel’s Cinematic Universe boasts some of the most iconic central figures in contemporary culture, each film is not without a plethora of impactful side characters. And with Marvel recently highlighting its improvement in terms of handling women roles, one of those characters that comes to mind with “Captain America: Civil War” starting the MCU’s third phase is Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter.

In a conference call, VanCamp, when asked about that improvement, said, “These characters are so much fun to play, but to know that in doing this, it could be you potentially empowering young girls, is amazing.” Beyond the film, VanCamp was also involved in the “Captain America: Civil War” challenge Girls Reforming the Future — a challenge for young women “who are inspired to create a positive world through science and technology.” She feels very confident about where Marvel is heading — acknowledging its attempts to diversify. But VanCamp is fully aware that there are massive steps still to take within the film industry as a whole.

VanCamp, in regard to Sharon Carter’s place in the film, feels as though the expansion of her initial “Winter Soldier” role truly places her character as a vital piece in the moving gears of the third Captain America installment. Her relationship with Cap is enhanced as her character is now being unveiled as the niece of Cap’s “The First Avenger” love interest, Peggy Carter. “I think when we met her in ‘The Winter Soldier,’ she was kind of at a rookie stage,” VanCamp said. “Steve finds out who she is — and that sort of, I think, just inevitably deepens their connection. There’s just an inevitable, immediate trust between them.”

Because of her situation and actions in “Civil War,” however, VanCamp also sees an edge, a particular intensity to her role. She left us in “The Winter Soldier” by joining the CIA after the instances in Washington, D.C. But with the government’s opposition of Cap and his team because of their rejection of the Sokovia Accords, Sharon Carter’s loyalty comes into play as she secretly gives Cap classified information. “She sort of finds herself a little bit between a rock and a hard place in terms of her loyalty to Cap,” VanCamp said.

When it comes to the film itself, VanCamp relishes in a lot of the behind-the-scenes aspects.

Even though VanCamp came from a background of TV — starring in shows such as “Revenge” and “Everwood” — which may, when moving to a massive franchise, seem like a difficult transition, she’s found it to be rather smooth and incredibly beneficial for the day-to-day process. “I always say that having a TV background is amazing, because you move so fast,” VanCamp said. “You really have to be quick on your toes, which kind of prepares you for anything that’s thrown at you.”

That production became so fast and meticulous with countless moving parts that VanCamp encountered something interesting when it came to the all-star, A-list cast. Whereas she loved the people she worked with, she didn’t get to meet everyone until some of the press days, saying, “That’s how big this movie is. ‘Cause our paths never crossed.”

Despite the huge production, VanCamp never let the size of the film get to her. Many actors tend to fall victim to the day-to-day, allowing acting to turn into a job rather than a passion, “shipping in” their performances. VanCamp, however, feels privileged about the opportunity to be a part of something this big and this fun. “It’s kind of like being a kid, you know. You just get to show up to work and play and hang out,” VanCamp said. “I still kind of have to pinch myself that I get to do this for a living.”

“Captain America: Civil War” is opening at UA Berkeley 7 tonight.

Contact Kyle Kizu at[email protected].