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How Brie Larson Impressed One Of Hollywood's Most Prolific Stuntwomen - Exclusive

When Brie Larson was announced as the actress who would bring Captain Marvel to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, some fans were excited. Others were ... "skeptical" is the wrong word, but they certainly had a degree of curiosity. After all, while Larson was widely recognized as possessing great acting ability, having won numerous awards for her effort as the lead in the 2015 film Room, her action star credentials were a little more in question. Carol Danvers is one of Marvel Comics' most popular heroes, and one of its ultimate badasses. Would Larson be able to deliver the kind of slam-bang experience fans of the MCU had come to expect?

Fortunately, the answer to that question turned out to be a resounding photon blast to the face. As evidenced by her social media postings in the run-up to the film's production, Larson put in serious work buffing up to play Captain Marvel. The results were so convincing that even the most die-hard doubters had no trouble buying her ability to go toe-to-toe with the Hulk-smashing Thanos (Josh Brolin) by the time Avengers: Endgame rolled around.

Fans, however, weren't the only ones impressed by the Academy Award-winning actress' commitment to delivering a physically powerful performance. According to at least one other person involved in bringing Captain Marvel to life on the screen, Larson's intense dedication was worthy of recognition. That individual is Renae Moneymaker, a stunt performer with a list of high-profile credits that includes the X-Men franchise, the Hunger Games series, and a whole lot more. Tasked with doubling Larson in Captain Marvel, Moneymaker got a close-up view of the actress' effort and process.

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Moneymaker let us know why Larson deserves kudos for her work in Captain Marvel.

Brie Larson made becoming Captain Marvel her mission

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and it seems like Larson's pre-production preparation made quite the impact on the stunt team working with her on Captain Marvel

"I was really impressed with not only how much she trained once prep started, but [also] how she trained with a trainer six months before that, on her own, just trying to get strong for the role and getting strong so that once she got to stunt training, she could adapt," says Moneymaker. "That was very beneficial to us because we didn't have to start from ground zero with building strength and endurance. She came in having that."

Apparently, that aggressive approach continued once group pre-production training began. Larson, much like the character she was playing, was always willing to dig a little deeper. 

"We could always tap on more and more and more," Moneymaker recalls. "It was just really impressive watching somebody who had never done really much action — or really any martial arts or sports or anything like that — just really take on a little bit more. She'd come in everyday and be like, 'I'm going to nail this kick today.'"

Brie Larson and Renae Moneymaker were Captain Marvel's dream team

Larson's drive was so potent, in fact, that Moneymaker compares it to what you'd see out of a star athlete.

"If she couldn't get it, she was very, very hard on herself," says Moneymaker. "You see that with other star performers or athletes. She never canceled rehearsal. She always, always showed up when she was supposed to do it and really just gave it everything she had. We did, I think, three months of prep and then three months of shooting, so it was a six-month action film. She held up through that whole movie and long days, [even when she was] tired. We were able to do so much with her — more than I had ever seen up to that point with an actress. It was very impressive."

What may be even more impressive than Larson's effort, however, is her acknowledgment that bringing Captain Marvel into the MCU was a team effort. After winning an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight in June 2019, Larson brought Moneymaker and fellow stunt performer Joanna Bennett on stage with her when she accepted the golden popcorn. She said in her acceptance speech, "These are the women that trained me and were also the stunt doubles for Captain Marvel. I could not have made this film without them. They are really the baseline of who she is. They are the living embodiment of Captain Marvel."

For Moneymaker, the importance of that moment transcended the personal. "Not only was that a huge moment for me and Joanna being up there, but that was huge for our community," she says. "Since then, I think there [have] been some other actors doing the same thing. Brad Pitt, [during] his acceptance speech [for Best Supporting Actor in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood], brought it up on stage, which was huge at the Academy Awards. That was really cool."

In the end, Renae Moneymaker and Joanna Bennett are just as much Captain Marvel as Brie Larson is — and they're all impressive performers in their own rights.