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Rish Shah, Yasmeen Fletcher, And Matt Lintz Talk Ms. Marvel And Share Stories From Set - Exclusive Interview

Every great superhero gets by with a little help from their friends, and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is no exception. She's the star of "Ms. Marvel," the MCU's first Disney+ show that takes place in a high school, and the series has something for everyone. Between Kamala's superpower-charged teenage rebellion, the Muslim culture infused throughout the show, and the deep friendships, "Ms. Marvel" is rich with depth that will appeal to viewers. Of course, Kamala couldn't save the world without the support of her friends Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher), Kamran (Rish Shah), and Bruno (Matt Lintz) — whether they know her secret identity or not.

Looper spoke to Fletcher, Shah, and Lintz about all things "Ms. Marvel" during an exclusive interview. Fletcher revealed the importance of her feminist arc while Lintz went down memory lane about working with "Zemo" actor Daniel Brühl, and Shah teased Kamran's possible romantic arc with Kamala. The trio also gushed about working with Iman Vellani and shared some entertaining stories from the set.

Badass young women are fighting back

Yasmeen, it looks like you're going to have a really powerful feminist and politically-fueled arc. Why do you think it's so important for young women to get involved in creating change while [they're] still in high school? And can you tease where this story might be headed?

Yasmeen Fletcher: The big Marvel thing is that we really can't say much of anything, but I will say that it's so important for young girls to look up to a character that's strong and sure of herself and isn't afraid to use her voice for good. As young women, you're taught to compose yourself and be silent and lock yourself into this very small box that everybody else forms [for] you.

Nakia is so aware of that box and does not care that it exists at all. And that's lovely because we are naturally taught to just be small and quiet, and Nakia is so vocal and opinionated and isn't afraid to speak up for what she truly believes in and doesn't care who's listening. And really, I want to see that — and I'm already seeing more and more of that in the younger generation.

Rish, there are definitely some vibes between Kamala and Kamran. Are you hoping for a romantic arc, or do you hope they stay platonic?

Rish Shah: It's tough to say. We'll have to wait and see where it goes, but I think in Episode 2, they're just starting to dip their toe in the water of what could be between the two of them, but they immediately do hit it off. He can relate to her on so many levels when it comes to code twitching and their music tastes and Bollywood films. So it's definitely an exciting start.

Hanging out with Zemo

Matt, you've also done big projects like the "The Walking Dead," "The Alienist," and "Pixels." What are some of the biggest differences between those projects and this one? And did any of the actors give you any tips that you've taken with you to "Ms. Marvel"?

Matt Lintz: Working on those [shows] was great, and recently [with] "Walking Dead," it's like a well-oiled machine. A bunch of the actors gave me a lot of advice, to stay confident, be who you are, and all that type of stuff. They encouraged me. And so many "Walking Dead" actors have been in the Marvel universe now, which is so cool. I was just talking to Ross Marquand, who played Red Skull. But the difference with Marvel is, it's Marvel. It's the biggest.

So having the opportunity and the chance to work with such creative minds and creative artists is something that I will never forget, and I'm extremely blessed.

And you acted alongside "Zemo" actor Daniel Brühl.

Matt Lintz: I did. Yeah.

What was that experience like? And are you hoping Bruno somehow gets to interact with Zemo at some point?

Matt Lintz: I would love it. I learned so much from him because we did "The Alienist" together, and we filmed that in Hungary. And being able to be in scenes with him and see not only how he operates during scenes and how invested he is in the character, but also — when we're in between takes and he's thinking about stuff — it was really cool to analyze him. I learned a lot from him.

Iman Vellani is the one true Kamala Khan

You all have a good number of scenes with Iman. What has it been like working with her? And what are some of your favorite moments from set?

Rish Shah: It's always fun working with Iman.

Matt Lintz: There [are] a lot of moments.

Yasmeen Fletcher: Yeah. It was so good.

Rish Shah: There was one time I was driving, and they'd shut down the streets or whatever with police escorts. And somehow I left the premises, and our radio kind of turned off, and everyone was freaking out thinking I've kidnapped Iman and took her.

I was actually thinking, "Take your 20-minute break from work and go on a little tour around Atlanta. That would be fun." ... But one of my favorite scenes with her — one of the ones I can talk about — is definitely the date scene in Episode 2, when we go to Bombay Spice, and Saagar comes in (who plays her brother) and throws a spanner in the works for a second. That was one of my happiest days on set.

Yasmeen Fletcher: One of my favorite memories with Iman specifically was when we were filming the washroom scene right before the scene in the mosque. They had us film that so many times, and you can see it, we genuinely were going through all the steps and using the water, and we were completely drenched by the end of it. And it was winter in Atlanta, so it was like 30 degrees outside. But having her there and splashing her with water and just messing around, it was really, really fun.

Matt Lintz: She's such a joy to work with. There [are] too many memories. She's amazing. I'm sure you've heard that she is Kamala Khan in every aspect. She is the character, and being able to work with the perfect Kamala Khan is so good. She's really funny too. We had a lot of ad-libs. 

Bringing art to life onscreen

We don't get too many high school-oriented MCU shows or movies. What is it about "Ms. Marvel" that's so special, and why do you think it's important for high schoolers and the Muslim community to see their story play out on screen?

Rish Shah: It's exactly that. The fact that it is a high school story, and it's a coming of age story about this girl who's navigating newfound powers, but also dealing with really relatable issues such as her family and her religion and boys and everything that most people have had to deal with. It's [a] universal story, really. It just so happens to be that interwoven into that experience is her culture. I think that people will fall in love with her.

The art in "Ms. Marvel" is also stunning. What does it look like onset without the CGI, when Kamala's daydreaming and all of those pictures are happening?

Matt Lintz: Nothing's there, but they do have video effect artists to give us a rough draft of what it's going to look like. And especially the scene in 101 where we're on the bikes, and as we're talking about the cosplay stuff like Steampunk, Captain Marvel, or whatever it may have been on the wall, they were illustrating it. So we were able to see what it was going to look like.

It was so cool, and we were so excited to see the talented artists that were working on it — to see the end product of it all and seeing it on the big screen last night [at the premiere] was amazing, to say the least.

Yasmeen Fletcher: And even without all of the animation, all of the sets were so bright and colorful and fun and detailed and eccentric. So even without all of the extra added special effects, the set was really amazing to walk into.

The first episode of "Ms. Marvel" is now streaming on Disney+ with subsequent episodes airing on Wednesdays.

This interview was edited for clarity.