Karen Gillan arguably rose to fame after being cast to play Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Since then, the Scottish actress has ventured into a lot of projects, even recently headlining her first Netflix original movie, Gunpowder Milkshake.
And while the MCU did offer her experience in working on largescale productions, Gillan revealed that working on one particular movie still gave her a great deal of anxiety.
She Struggled To Break Into Hollywood At First
Gillan may have starred in the British series Doctor Who for several years but that didn’t necessarily guarantee a gig in Hollywood. Nonetheless, she was undeterred, convinced that her time would come. “I didn’t have any fear of that at all,” the actress explained while speaking with The Guardian. “I had suffered so many rejections, but it’s like it has never fazed me.”
Those auditions eventually led Gillan to try out for the role of Agent 13 in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And while she lost that part to Emily VanCamp, casting director Sarah Finn recalled that Gillan stood out. “Karen was someone who was an incredibly grounded and solid actor but who was also cooky and charming in the most wonderful way,” Finn explained in the Disney+ special Sarah Finn: Casting a Universe. “Even though she had never played a character like Nebula, I was really interested to see her read.” Just like that, Gillan finally caught her big break and when that happened, other doors opened. This eventually included an intriguing offer that came via email.
Despite Her MCU Experience, This Film Gave Her Major Anxiety
As a kid, Gillan was a fan of the Robin Williams’ 1995 film Jumanji. And so, when she was informed that a reboot was in the works, she was curious although she had reservations. “I am such a huge fan of the original, so when I first got the email saying, ‘You have an audition for the new Jumanji film?’ I was like, ‘What?! What are the gonna do with my precious Jumanji?!’” the actress recalled during an interview with Collider. “And then, I read the script and realized that it was brilliant.” That was also the moment she knew that she had to get involved. “Then, I needed to somehow get this role.
Fortunately, Dwayne Johnson, who also served as an executive producer on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, knew Gillan was the right actress for the film when he saw her. “We had to find a girl. But not just any girl. A girl who has ‘Chutzpah,’” Johnson wrote on Instagram. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to announce a girl who’s playing the most important role in our movie – the talented, beautiful and down for a Scottish fight at any time, Ms @KarenGillanOfficial.” And while the casting was another milestone in Gillan’s career, it also became a source of anxiety for the actress, which she welcomed.
“So I constantly have to do the things that do cause anxiety to sort of keep the anxiety down, in a way,” the actress explained while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. “So I would probably say that the first Jumanji was good for me because it was quite a big leap for where I was in my career.” For Gillan, her nervousness had something to do with the fact that she was cast alongside several industry veterans – Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. “I was working with some people that I just really, really respected, and it was nerve-wracking in a good way where I’m like, ‘These are people that are at the top of their game.’”
Meanwhile, Johnson admired how well Gillan managed to grasp her character, even when it came to the way Ruby Roundhouse was dressed. “What Karen was able to do with her role. When we got to set on the very first day, we realized very early on that she’s in short shorts and showing a lot of skin. But I give Karen a lot of credit,” the actor told Baby Savers. “She had enough poise in knowing that it’s ok. That she was going to explain it and it’s going to be understood.”
Since the release of Jumanji: The Next Level, fans have been eager to see if there will be another installment. And while there are reports that it is happening, Gillan herself has admitted that she isn’t sure herself. “I actually don’t know anything about the next one,” the actress told Collider Ladies Night. “Nobody has spoken to me, so I think – I don’t know. I assume they’ll make one and I don’t know how they’re gonna tackle that.” Meanwhile, Hiram Garcia, who heads Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, has hinted that the film is in the works. “There’s conversations have been going we’re in the process of moving that along,” he told Comicbook. “I can’t tell you anything, but we do have big plans for it and that’s one of our favorite projects to work on and that’s cooking away.” Looks like it’s happening; it’s just a matter of when.
NEXT: How Much Did Jack Black Make For The ‘Jumanji’ Movies?
Frodo did NOT deserve this kind of treatment.
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