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This year, Evangeline Lilly is the defacto queen of San Diego Comic-Con. Not only will the actress be on hand to promote the final Hobbit film, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, she may be there for Marvel Studio’s Ant-Man, plus she’s finally fulfilling a lifelong dream. Lilly has always wanted to be a writer and she will debut her brand new book, The Squickerwonkers, at the Con with a panel and signing.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Lilly about all three of these things but in this, part one of our interview, we’ll focus on the film work and Comic-Con in general. We talked about her connections to the Convention, having been there for Lost, Hobbit and more. She gave us an update on the latest Hobbit and described the arc of Tauriel, her brand new character. The actress then skillfully evaded questions about Ant-Man, but also discussed Edgar Wright‘s departure. Finally, Lilly discussed what went wrong with Real Steel and the potential for a sequel.

Read part one of our Evangeline Lilly Comic Con interview below.

Lilly will be at the following event at San Diego Comic Con:

Friday July 25:

  • Presenting her new book Squickerwonkers, Moderated by Tara Bennett 10:30am room 6A
  • San Diego Comic-Con official Signing - 12:00-1:30 pm  AA20

Saturday July 26

  • Warner Bros – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Hall H, 10am-noon
  • Marvel Studios (rumored appearance for Ant-Man), Hall H, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

And the book, The Squickerwonkers, hits stores November 18.

/Film: It seems like you’re gonna have a pretty busy Comic-Con but you’ve been there before for Lost and stuff. What does the whole event mean to you? Is it something that you look forward to? Is it stressful?

Evangeline Lilly: The first time I went, the first year I went in 2005 I think it was was Lost and the whole notion of it was terrifying. I just thought a massive convention center full of rabid fans was slightly intimidating and very scary to consider being in the midst of. But over the years I’ve come to really love it and look forward to it because I realize “Them’s my peeps.” These are the people that not only love the projects that I do but also think like I think. Their taste is like my taste and for the most part they’re really smart and genuinely critical in a positive way. Hence they want good, quality material and they don’t wannabe  spoon fed a lot of crap from mainstream media. And so I dig these people and I dig what they stand for and I dig their standards. And that’s one of the reasons why I brought my book there first before even taking it to the publishing world, because I wanted their feedback. And they were more important to me than what the industry might tell me about my book. I wanted to know what my Comic-Con fans think.

Fans definitely are looking forward to your movies this year. First, I’ll mention the one I know that you can definitely talk about which is The Hobbit. Now how much of the Battle of Five Armies have you seen so far?

Nothing. After Comic-Con I’m heading to go to the A.D.R. on The Hobbit and so I will get to see some of it then. But I haven’t done any A.D.R. so I’ve seen zilch.

But do you have any idea what Peter [Jackson] has planned for the presentation or are you going to find out along with the rest of us?

I like to see the films at the premiere. And so usually by the time I’ve seen the film, I’ve already done massive rounds of press and answered every question under the sun about the movie that I haven’t seen.

Wow, I didn’t know that.

But I just I like the romance of that. I like the romance of actually seeing the film with a big audience who are excited about its release and hearing the laughter and the gasps and the clapping and I just, I like that movie experience.

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That’s cool. I can’t believe you can hold back. Now, since Tauriel is a new character, and I know that you’re a huge Tolkien fan, without spoiling anything, how faithful do you think her arc is at the end of this film to his sensibilities? As a fan, how did you feel when you first read or performed how her story ends?

Well I think that, I mean, it would be hard to talk about it in any detail because I can’t give anything away, but Tauriel’s story ends in classic Tolkien fashion. And I think that Tolkien was a master of the greater life lessons and bitter life truths and he didn’t shy away from anyone’s storyline. I think that’s what made him so particularly good. He really had whole and complete arcs for all of the characters that he took the time to introduce you to. And Tauriel is no exception.

And I think even if he, if you are familiar with Tolkien’s appendices and his work outside of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy, you see in those books that he wrote a lot more for women. And already the sign of the times changing as he was writing those books in the 1960′s and ’70s. So now suddenly women are actually taking on the world’s stage. So it’s kind of cool if you look into, if you project or you’re looking at Tauriel and you are looking for references, Tolkien references, you need to look in all of his other books to see how he wrote for women. And I think that Peter Jackson being an expert on Tolkien took all that into account.

Okay, excellent, well that’s something I’m looking forward to. And to preface, I know how this all works, is everybody’s reporting that you are in Marvel’s Ant-Man. Is that something you can say you are in or no?

No, I can’t. I don’t know anything about those rumors.

Okay, all right. Well let’s say if you had The Hobbit and The Squickerwonkers at Comic-Con. Is that everything or do you think you’ll have more to do?

I’m an actress, but I’m not stupid. I can’t answer that question.

Okay. Let me try one more that you can laugh at and it’s totally fine. Hypothetically if you were an actress and you signed on to make a film with one director and then that director left over creative differences, how would you feel about it? Hypothetically.

[Laughs] Well I read the news and have followed the storylines of what’s been going on with Ant-Man. And I think that it’s always a tragedy when somebody works for six years on a passion project and then for, you know, whatever reason ends up distancing themselves from the project. But I think that ultimately when there’s a massive collaboration happening with artistic people or anything that isn’t film work is really a piece of art at the end of the day. That everybody wants to serve the story. Everybody wants to serve the art. And whatever it takes to make the best film is what needs to happen. So, I mean, I can think as somebody in the industry who’s watched the headlines and sort of kept abreast of the news that it is a tragedy. But hopefully it’s a tragedy that will serve the story.

Real Steel

Absolutely. And last thing is my pure fan service question, not about Lost oddly. I’m also a real fan of Real Steel. I think it’s highly underrated. I really, really enjoy it.

Thank you.

I really, really do. And at the time I know before you guys even finished filming they had hired somebody to think about a sequel. Now, based on the success of the film, who knows what’s gonna happen with that or not. But had you talked about where the story would go after the end of the first film at all? And, you know, what are your sort of general thoughts about that?

Well we all definitely thought that the film had great potential for a sequel. And I agree with you, I think … I would say that the film was marketed towards the wrong crowd to have it be as successful as it needed to be. I signed for a beautiful redemption story about a father and a son that would appeal to pretty much any family I know to go and see the film with the family. And I think the film was marketed as a testosterone driven beat them up, blow them up kind of adolescent, teenage, male movie. And it wasn’t that.

So I think that if we did a sequel, we never did talk specifically about what the sequel would be about. But there was talk about Bailey Tallet, my character, having a more prominent role in the second film. And I think that the reason behind that would be that we would carry on the theme of the first film, which is the emotional story in this little broken family. And because at the end of the film Bailey and Charlie seem to kind of get together and Max was connected to his Dad again, then the new little family nucleus has been created. So I’m sure the story would have evolved more around that family nucleus. But we’ll never know ’cause I don’t think a second film is gonna happen.

We’ll have part two of our interview with Evangeline Lilly, which we talk in depth about her new book, Tuesday.

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