Captain Marvel skrulls

Ben Mendelsohn has played his fair share of blockbuster baddies. From Rogue One, to Ready Player One, to the upcoming Robin Hood: Origins, to Captain Marvel— if there’s a buttoned up villain with salt-and-pepper hair, you can almost always expect him to have Ben Mendelsohn’s face.

Though that’s not entirely the case for Captain Marvel, which sees Mendelsohn donning layers of green facial prosthetics and a skin-tight leather get-up to play a Skrull leader. But even Marvel can’t resist putting Mendelsohn in a three-piece suit — the Captain Marvel Skrulls are shape-shifting aliens who take on the form of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents dismantling the government from the inside. It all sounds very sinister and devious, but Mendelsohn is here to defend the Skrulls. Because, as he so elegantly says, “It ain’t easy being green.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly as part of their onslaught of Captain Marvel coverage, Mendelsohn leapt to the defense of the Skrulls, who in the Marvel Comics have gone down as one of the Avengers’ greatest foes. “They’re just misunderstood,” Mendelsohn argues in an interview that sees him saying “Skrullin'” a lot while ducking plot details:

I like Skrulls a lot more now that they’ve asked me kindly to come and represent. But I was always aware of what punks the Kree were. I mean, why would you try and start a war with the Skrulls? What sort of an idiot is gonna try to start a war with us? Ugh, please. Go get some help from Captain Marvel.

And by “punks,” Mendelsohn means that Skrulls listen to a lot of punk music. Kind of? I don’t know, but he goes to extensive lengths to compare the alien race to “thrash metal,” calling Skrulls “tough, we’re brash, we’re loud. People want us to have warning stickers on us, like explicit lyrics.”

The whole interview is kind of like this, honestly, so I don’t know how much of what Mendelsohn — who is clearly just riffing the entire time — says can be taken to heart. But one cool tidbit the actor shares is that he uses two different accents for when he’s in Skrull form and when he’s posing as Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. boss to secretly orchestrate the Skrull invasion of Earth. When in S.H.I.E.L.D form, Mendelsohn uses an American accent, while as a Skrull he falls back on his natural Australian accent:

I don’t want to paint my whole country like a Skrull, but I guess because there’s a certain je ne sais quoi. There’s a certain kind of earthy correctness to an Australian delivery. So I think that’s probably what tipped it in favor of me. And then my other guy sounds like Don Rumsfeld. Don Rumsfeld’s a good kind of read for my other guy.

Whatever the case, it sounds like Mendelsohn is having a blast playing Skrulls and bad guys for the foreseeable future. Because, as he puts it, “Villains have more fun.”

Captain Marvel opens in theaters on March 8, 2019.

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