Brie Larson Opened Up About the Self-Confidence She Gained from Playing Captain Marvel

She almost turned down the role because she had "too much anxiety" about "participating in that level of fame."

Brie Larson attends the 2019 LACMA 2019 Art Film Gala Presented By Gucci on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

By the time Brie Larson appeared on the big screen as Captain Marvel, she'd already starred in dozens of blockbusters and indie films alike, even winning an Oscar in 2016. So, she probably kicked off her acting career with natural confidence, right? Well, not exactly.

If you've been keeping up with Larson's new YouTube channel, you probably caught her two-part series about auditions, in which she humbly talks about both the triumphs and pitfalls of the process. In the second video of the series, Larson admitted she's auditioned for — and been rejected from — countless popular films, including Pitch Perfect, Iron Man 2, Juno, and dozens of others.

But when she got the call to audition for Captain Marvel while shooting Kong: Skull Island in Australia, it was Larson doing the rejection, she shared in her video. When the filmmakers behind the superhero flick first approached Larson, she told her team she had "too much anxiety" to take on such a huge role in a beloved franchise.

"Oh I can't do that, that's too much for me, I don't think I can handle that. Tell them no," Larson recalled saying to her agent at the time. (

A few months later, Marvel reached out to Larson to offer her the role again, and she declined a second time. In her YouTube video, she says she told her team: "I'm too much of an introvert, that's way too big of a thing for me — it was beyond my comprehension."

She eventually got one more call for the role, which she attributes to her team having more faith in her than she had in herself at the time, she shared in her video.

When Larson finally agreed to have a meeting with Marvel, she got a peek at a mock-up of the badass Captain Marvel costume and felt "very moved" by what the filmmakers wanted to achieve, she recalled in her YouTube video.

"It felt very progressive," continued Larson. "I was very surprised by the way that they were talking about feminism, the way they were handling it. They were [working with] all female writers, [a] female director, [and they were] gonna have as many female voices in this as possible."

After that meeting, Larson said she realized she'd only be okay with "participating in that level of fame" if she genuinely believed in "the story and the messaging" — and she did, despite her initial anxiety about starring in such a huge movie. (FYI: Here's why being scared can be a good thing.)

"I remember my team being really proud of me 'cause they knew that it was a big step for me in embodying myself, in believing that I could do something so big, in my confidence as a leader, and the belief in storytelling," shared Larson.

Larson's internal struggle is all too relatable for anyone who's felt that gut instinct to turn down a killer opportunity out of fear or anxiety. Oftentimes, though, pushing past that anxiety can reap major rewards. In Larson's case, Captain Marvel made history as the first female-led superhero film to pass the billion-dollar mark, allowing a generation of young viewers to see more women kicking butt on the big screen.

Larson has not only channeled that superhero strength into some incredibly impressive physical feats (indoor rock climbing, pull-ups with steel chains, and 400-pound hip thrusts, to name a few), but it seems she's also translated that personal growth from self-doubt into major accomplishments.

"These last couple of years, through gaining strength and confidence in my body and learning how that connects to my mind, [it] has just been so eye-opening to me," she said in a YouTube video about her experience climbing the Grand Teton (a 14,000-foot mountain — NBD).

Want to channel Larson's level of confidence? Here's how she's been practicing "self-improvement" in 2020.

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