Actress Brie Larson trained like a superhero to play Captain Marvel

In Captain Marvel, Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, who becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes and finds herself at the centre of a galactic war between two alien races. PHOTO: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

SINGAPORE - To play a superhero fighting aliens in space, Hollywood star Brie Larson trained every day for nine months. She did judo, lifted weights and once, she even pushed a Jeep uphill in an alley.

"To see what I was made of and how strong I could get," said the 29-year-old.

Together with her co-stars Gemma Chan and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as the movie's directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the blonde star was in town on Thursday (Feb 14) to promote the upcoming Marvel Studios movie Captain Marvel.

In the superhero film, set in the 1990s, Larson plays Carol Danvers, who becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes and finds herself at the centre of a galactic war between two alien races.

At a press conference at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, before an estimated 350 members of the media from countries as far as Japan and New Zealand, the star, dressed in a long, flowing beige dress, effortlessly commanded the room with her strikingly confident demeanour.

The actress won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2015 for her role as a locked-up young mother in the drama Room.

She said of the preparation process for Captain Marvel: "It changed my mind. It changed the way I viewed the world, especially martial arts."

For example, she said, once she started doing more judo, "I was like, 'Oh, that guy has a gym jacket on. I could totally throw him right now'".

The actress certainly relished all the tough training. "There is something about pushing yourself beyond a threshold that is comfortable and then going even further than that.

"It was these moments of that breakthrough of going beyond what you thought was possible, what you thought your body was capable of doing."

Chan, 36, who played socialite Astrid in last year's Crazy Rich Asians, describes the geneticist Doctor Minn-Erva she plays in Captain Marvel as sarcastic and having a lot of sassy one-liners.

She said the two roles "really couldn't be further apart". To portray the latter, she, too, had to challenge herself physically, and had to do kick-boxing as well as undergo sniper training.

"The main thing... I had to be concerned about (while filming) was trying not to hit myself in the face with my own rifle."

For Jackson, 70, playing a younger version of Nick Fury, from the fictional peacekeeping and spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D., meant he did not have to put on the character's distinctive scar and eye patch.

"It was kind of interesting being that guy (the younger version). Along with having two eyes, (my character has) a lot less instinct than older Nick Fury," he said.

Appropriately enough for a movie about female power, Boden is the first woman director to helm a Marvel superhero movie.

She said the experience has been "really amazing", but added: "It is 2019. And I think everybody here looks forward to the day when it is not newsworthy that a woman is directing this kind of movie."

Captain Marvel opens on March 7.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.