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Why The Wasp From 'Ant-Man And The Wasp' Looks So Familiar

Evangeline Lilly, the actress behind Ant-Man and the Wasp's Hope van Dyne, isn't the most well-known actress in show business. Her path to television fame wasn't particularly easy, and her résumé hasn't exactly been about quantity since she broke through. In fact, since her career began in 2002, you can almost count Lilly's noteworthy roles on one hand...but she's had some good ones nevertheless. So what are they, and where exactly have you seen The Wasp before? Let's have a look.

Smallville and other uncredited roles (2002-2004)

Before Evangeline Lilly had her big television breakthrough, she made cameo appearances on various television shows. She appeared in uncredited roles on the big screen in Stealing Sinatra, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Freddy vs. Jason, and White Chicks—though you probably didn't spot her in any of them. The actress also appeared on a few television series, including Judgment Day, Tru Calling, and Kingdom Hospital, but is most easily recognized as a recurring, unnamed cameo in the popular Superman-inspired WB series Smallville—where she stands in the background and occasionally feeds limes to her boyfriend in some mouth-to-mouth action.

Though not particularly glamorous, Lilly's early uncredited roles helped pave the way to landing her big television breakthrough...

Lost (2004-2010)

Her breakthrough role came in ABC's hit sci-fi drama Lost, a big-budget show created by Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof. However, before landing the crucial role of fugitive Kate Austen on the uber-popular series, Lilly was a virtual nobody in show business.

"When I got the job on Lost, I was a broke university student living in the crappiest part of town, with a duct-taped back window on a broken-down car," she recalled to DuJour. "I existed on peanut butter and tea. When somebody said, 'I will pay you a lot of money to come and do [Lost],' it was worth it to make the sacrifice for a certain amount of time in order to have the flexibility that comes from having more financial freedom."

Though Lilly and her costars enjoyed the benefits of filming Lost in Hawaii, they lacked the comforts that come with filming in a studio. "We were incredibly lucky to be filming on the beach and in the jungle instead of filming in a studio in the middle of Burbank," she says, "but by season five or six, I was at my wits' ends a little bit. The show's budget kept getting smaller and smaller and things kept getting harder and harder, and cheaper and cheaper, and the circumstances got worse and worse. I would come to set with huge pots of Sangria for the cast to take the edge off."

The Long Weekend (2005)

In 2005, the Lost star played a blink-and-you-miss-her role in the Canadian film The Long Weekend. The film's plot revolves around two brothers, played by Chris Klein and Brendan Fehr. The party-going brother attempting to set his more high-strung brother up with a beautiful woman—or, rather, multiple beautiful women—in a "long weekend" to remember. Naturally, hilarity ensues... or, at least, attempts to ensue.

Lilly's contribution to this mediocre-at-best film is playing a dead woman in a casket. We learn that her character—a deceased supermodel—was killed while driving under the influence of drugs, thanks to the film's protagonists carelessly stumbling into a church funeral service. And that's about it. Bonus points to you if you said "that's Kate from Lost" while watching this cheesy and lackluster film.

The Hurt Locker (2008)

A few years after a nearly non-existent cameo in The Long Weekend, Lilly played a small supporting role in the massively more significant war film The Hurt Locker—which remains the most critically-acclaimed film on the Canadian actress' résumé. Kathryn Bigelow's film about an Iraq War Explosive Ordnance Disposal team took home six Oscars, including Best Achievement in Sound Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Writing in an Original Screenplay, Best Achievement in Directing, and the biggest one of them all: Best Motion Picture of the Year. Not a bad flick to have on your CV!

Though Lilly's role as Connie James—the ex-wife of main-character Sergeant First Class William James—is a small one, it is significant nonetheless. Perhaps most importantly, it helped push Lilly into future roles on big-screen...though she still took her sweet time getting there.

Afterwards (2008)

The same year also saw Lilly appear in Gilles Bourdos' psychological thriller Afterwards, starring John Malkovich and Romain Duris. Afterwards deals with the timeless subjects of life and death, which Lilly claims she has spent much of her life contemplating. 

"I was brought up in the church," she explained in an interview with Film Monthly. "I was never 100 percent convinced that what I was being told had to be the absolute truth. I believed that you had to work that out for yourself, so within the context that I was being raised, I was constantly questioning, and wondering, and asking, and searching my own soul. I had a very innate nature towards the spiritual, and the soul. I don't know why. I don't know where that comes from. But it's always been there, and it's still there."

For Lilly, what really matters is focusing on the present. "It doesn't matter what happened yesterday, it doesn't matter what's going to happen tomorrow," she says. "What matters is what you and I are doing right now. And are we happy? And are we having a good time? And if we are, then sod the rest." Definitely not the worst philosophy of living we've ever heard!

Real Steel (2011)

Lilly continued her trend of picking and choosing seemingly random projects with Shawn Levy's animatronic robot boxing film Real Steel. In fact, she only really signed on to the film because she both wanted to work with Hugh Jackman, and wasn't looking for a major commitment after several exhausting years of filming Lost

"When I first read the script, I read it because after I saw the gorgeous Darren Aronofsky film The Fountain, I said, 'I would love the opportunity to work with Hugh Jackman.' His performance in that film was flawless," Lilly told Entertainment Weekly. "So I got the script for Real Steel...this lovely little piece where I held a cup of coffee and talked to Hugh Jackman for three weeks. And that sounded kind of nice."

Real Steel's premise didn't immediately resonate with the Lost actress, however. "I started reading and saw that it was about robot boxing, and I was immediately turned off," Lilly admitted. "It's not my thing. But I continued on, and by the time I got to the end of the script, I had chicken skin and tears in my eyes. I thought, 'Man, we don't make movies like this anymore.' It's just innocent and unjaded and uncynical. It reminded me of the movies I would watch when I was a kid, like E.T. and Rocky." Critics weren't quite so generous as to rank it among those two legendary films, however.

The Hobbit trilogy (2013-2014)

After Real Steel, Lilly signed on to what is probably her most high-profile role to date—that of the woodland elf Tauriel in the second and third installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy.

Lilly loved the physicality that comes with kicking orc butt as an Elvish badass, but she still required quite a bit of training to learn the graceful skills of Middle-Earth's immortal race. "[G]enerally, I find stunts a lot of fun, and I don't struggle too much with them, 'cause I'm a really physical person," Lilly told Collider. "But once you put an actual skill into it—like now I have to be able to spin knives and s***, while I'm in the middle of a fight, and I find that incredibly difficult."

Lilly's always been athletic, but she admits she was never the most graceful athlete. "I always have just led by instinct in anything physical," she admits, "and sort of just got by on the skill. Like when I was a soccer player, I was really gritty, and I could take girls twice my size down, and that was great, but dribble the ball? Eh. So it's a struggle being an Elf who has really got all this flourish and is extremely elegant."

Ant-Man (2015)

After playing a primary supporting character in the high-profile Hobbit series, Lilly stayed aboard the blockbuster train by signing on to Marvel's Ant-Man.

Acting in both big name projects was "really surprisingly fun," Lilly admitted to ScreenRant. "Working for these big franchises, on these big projects, that are so fantasy-driven...you know, the grind of it is that you have to work with a lot of CGI and a lot of unknowns, and a lot of the time the scene that you're working on is not the screen that ends up on the screen, but the fun of it is this world creation and the liberties that you can take as an actor in existing in these worlds..."

What Lilly most adores about working in films like Ant-Man is the fans. "The fans are so devoted and fanatical and excited and passionate. I've been lucky enough to work on, you know, projects pretty much throughout my career that pull from the same fan base, so you know, those Comic-Con geeks, they're my peeps."

Lucky for us geeks, we haven't seen the last of Lilly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Little Evil (2017)

Released in September 2017, Netflix's Little Evil is Lilly's last film before we'll see the actress star as one of Ant-Man and the Wasp's titular characters. Directed by Eli Craig of Tucker & Dale vs Evil fame, Little Evil sticks with the horror-comedy genre. In the offbeat, tongue-in-cheek thriller, the protagonist, played by Adam Scott, marries Lilly's character—whose son may or may not be the Antichrist. Thus, instead of getting to play the cool stepdad and racing boxcars with his new stepson, Scott is instead forced to deal with, quite literally, a child from Hell.

The film originally belonged to Universal, but the major movie studio ultimately decided they weren't into it. However, with early reviews unanimously positive, it appears Netflix—whose original horror movie lineup is hit or miss—made the right decision in picking up the project. Now, it seems Craig has another cult hit on his hands, and Lilly has another quality movie to add to her résumé.