The Marvel Cinematic Universe spans time, space, and the multiverse, but it’s relatively difficult to find teen stars among the ranks. Tom Holland was 19 when he took over as Queens high schooler Peter Parker/Spider-Man in 2015. captain america civil warWhile Iman Vellani was 18 when she landed the role of a lifetime as Jersey City superfan-turned-superhero Kamala Khan in this year’s Disney+ series – her acting debut – Ms. Marvel,
And Xochital Gomez has them both. happy Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Breakout was only 14 when she landed that pivotal role as the jean jacket-sporting dimension-hopping America Chavez in May’s superhero-horror hit.
Gomez holds her own against eponymous franchise headliner Benedict Cumberbatch from the film’s opening moments, and plays a pivotal role in the twisty story as Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch attempts to hunt down America to steal its game-changing powers. I get spoiled. Gomez’s performance is so sharp and soulful, it’s easy to forget how young the cast is—whose past credits include baby-sitters club And shadow wolves – is in real life. Especially when you see Gomez, who is now 16 years old, brilliantly fielding about LGBTQ+ representation in Marvel movies and walking down the red carpet in support of other MCU ventures.
In a new interview with Yahoo Entertainment, the boyfriend-beyond-his-year — but still undeniably taken aback — Gomez looks back on her career-changing role. Doctor Strange 2 (now on 4K Ultra HD), geeks out at Holland and Cumberbatch and speculates about what future America might hold for Chavez.
What have been some of your favorite reactions to Yahoo Entertainment: variety of madness And your performance in it so far?
Xochital Gomez: I’m just excited that people love America Chavez so much and want to see more of her. It really makes me happy. But I also love watching the excitement of cosplayers dressing up as America when they totally paint over and pull off everything from jackets. And it’s really unbelievable to see. Some of them look almost exactly like jackets. I’m like, “Girl, where did you get that?” [laughs]
Did you get to keep America’s jacket?
Oh friend. So many people keep asking me this and I wish I had done so. But I was so worried that if I did that, there would be some tracker or something that they had embedded in the fabric. Because that jacket is so special. People [at Marvel] Look at that jacket. They were like, “That thing isn’t going anywhere.” So I was actually very scared to take it.
It’s a primo Marvel prop right there.
Yes. It’s like Strange’s cloak. Everyone knows what it looks like.
If you think back to the beginning of the project, what kind of expectations did you have when you first entered the MCU — and what did you find most surprising about the Marvel movie-making experience ultimately?
When I first went into it, I had no idea. i just saw a lot [behind-the-scenes footage] of other Marvel movies. I was just trying to understand [what it was] Like, not only watching the actors, but also watching in the background. how many people are there? What kind of vibe is this? How many cameras are going? Cause it’s something other than just working baby-sitters club, This is another level entirely. And it was kind of like, “Whoa!” I was just kind of put there. When I reached the set I was very crazy. Besides, they care a lot [audience] Responses from screening tests. They really care about what people think, because they want to make the best movie for the fans. And if something doesn’t work, they’ll replace it. They will tweak it. And I’ve never seen anything like this before. When I realized they did it, I was like, “Well, number one, I really have to bring my A-game to it. Number two, damn it, no wonder these movies are so good.” This is a complete machine.
Were you able to give Kevin Feige and Sam Raimi any feedback on your character?
yeah there are some things where mainly i think a teenage girl would do certain things, because clearly kevin feige is not a teenage girl [laughs], But there are also physical movements and sayings, maybe little buttons that I would add. But most of that I could do on the day I’d ask Sam, because he’s very cooperative. This is something I love a lot about Sam. He made me feel like I was allowed to be creative and try things. It was fun.
To go back even more for a second. I think America was basically going to make its debut Spider-Man: No Way Home, is that true?
I didn’t know but apparently that was going to happen and then things completely changed and then they had to get rid of that idea. i like being in Spider-Man: No Way Home, clearly. That movie was awesome.
But you had no idea.
I don’t know. I really had no idea about it until that news got leaked. But at that point, the movie had already arrived, I think.
Have you met Tom Holland yet?
[Cocking her head back] Ohhhhh! I have? I did not do it.
I think you might be a fan of that reaction.
Yes. This is a funny story. he was reshooting for it Spider-Man: No Way Home Literally a few days ago it came out and that was on our part. I knew he was going to do a lot, but I thought he was coming before I could. So I was like, “I probably won’t see him.” So I get there, I’m walking outside my trailer and here comes this black Range Rover. And [there he is] Saying goodbye to one of the crew members next to me. And I’m like, “That’s it, that’s Tom Holland. That’s Tom Holland!” And I really started bouncing around [after he left] Like, “That was Tom Holland! Not at all, that was Tom Holland!” And someone was like, “I thought he was stopping to say hello to you.” And I was like, “No, he doesn’t even know I exist. He doesn’t know who I am. Are you kidding me?” It was an absolute freak moment.
I’m sure he does now.
Do not say that. it freaks me out!
Obviously, you got a chance to meet Benedict Cumberbatch. What was your favorite moment with him?
I decided to be one [production assistant] For a day on set because they didn’t really need me that day, they wouldn’t even get to the shot I was going for. So I was like, “Okay, no worries. I’ll spend some time here.” And I finished school and was like, “Why not try to be a PA for a day?” And so I brought Benedict his lunch. Like I went to the kitchen and prepared his smoothie and everything. And it had holes along the top that reveal your food, like you’re getting room service in a hotel. …and so I knock on his door and I’m just grabbing this tray of fancy food. It’s the same food I’m eating, but it’s all presented differently. He’s like, “What are you doing here?” I was like, “I have your food and I made your smoothie. So I hope it’s as wonderful and delicious as I made it.”
I don’t know how much you can say, but can you tease a bit about America’s future in the MCU?
I do not know. I mean obviously we went to Qamar-Taj with her and she was learning some mystic arts, which is great because it’s nothing like her real powers. So we watch him learn. I think it’s also really cool that he has Wong because he’ll have a little more discipline. And also hopefully a place to call home and have a family. But I mean, I really can’t ignore the fact that America Chavez’s powers are kind of traveling and coincidentally called with the next chapter of the MCU…
I can only hope. I haven’t received any calls or anything. So I’m just going to say that fingers crossed. hopefully, maybe [we’ll see her again],
Where do you want to see him go from here?
Honestly, anywhere. I am really ready for anything.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness Now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD.
Watch our full cast interview: