Emily Blunt in Sicario

When Marvel announced plans to make Captain Marvel, Emily Blunt was immediately pegged by fans (us included) as a dream pick for the lead. She’d just proven her action bona fides in Edge of Tomorrow, making her an obvious choice for the bold, badass Carol Danvers. But her casting remains in the realm of wishful thinking, as Blunt clarifies she’s not heard anything about the role.

She does, however, have some thoughts about why her name keeps cropping up in rumors. And, for that matter, why the same names seem to come up in rumors about any female-led action movie. Hear from Emily Blunt on Captain Marvel rumors after the jump.

Blunt touched upon Captain Marvel in a chat with Indiewire. After quickly debunking those persistent casting rumors — “No, I have not heard anything about Captain Marvel” — she pondered why her name seems to keep coming up.

I think it’s because the list is very short, because we don’t see women in these kind of roles. So I think as soon as you do a role like that, like Charlize did or I did, or Rebecca’s done — there’s like four of us or something. And Jen Lawrence. So I feel like us four, we get talked about — and Angie, Angelina. So it’s a list of like, four women who are going to be considered for those kind of roles. So I think that’s why the rumors happen, because they’re like, “who else? Surely not another girl can wield a gun,” you know what I mean? “A woman doing push-ups? There’s only one who can do that.”

Blunt makes a great point. For leading men, action roles are practically de rigueur. And there’s a very wide range of characters available for them. Just within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the marquee superheroes range from teenaged Spider-Man to middle-aged Iron Man, straitlaced Cap to goofy Star-Lord.

In contrast, female action leads are much rarer, and they represent a narrower range of types. They’re young and classically beautiful, tough and not too girlie, serious-minded and often kind of humorless. Not surprisingly, the number of actresses who are the right age, have the right look, can sell the right temperament, and have the right experience is pretty small.

When Hollywood does venture outside that restrictive criteria, fans don’t always react well. The announcement that Gal Gadot would be playing Wonder Woman was greeted with skepticism by fans who felt she had the wrong body type — too skinny, not busty enough — for the role. (Weirdly, there was no similar outcry when the then-pudgy Chris Pratt was cast as Star-Lord. Do gyms only exist for men?)

We stand by our Blunt-as-Captain-Marvel fan-casting. If anything, her willingness to speak her mind makes her seem like an even more perfect fit for Carol Danvers. But perhaps it’s time we started encouraging Hollywood to think outside the box for Captain Marvel and other roles like it.

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