Power Players

'Captain Marvel' star Brie Larson almost quit acting because she worried she was 'delusional' about making it big

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, the first female superhero lead for Disney's blockbuster comic book movie business, and 'the most powerful character' Marvel has come up with yet, according to the company's president. 
Marvel Studios
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, the first female superhero lead for Disney's blockbuster comic book movie business, and 'the most powerful character' Marvel has come up with yet, according to the company's president. 

Brie Larson is an Academy Award-winning actress who will soon be battling intergalactic villains as the star of "Captain Marvel," Walt Disney's next potential blockbuster Marvel movie that hits theaters in March 2019.

But, if it wasn't for a well-timed job offer, Larson might be a marine biologist right now instead of gearing up for her superhero movie debut.

Larson, 29, who is originally from San Francisco, moved to Los Angeles with her family to pursue an acting career as a kid. When she was 9, she landed a role in a skit on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in 1998, before appearing on the sitcom "Raising Dad" for one season in 2001.

As a teen, she continued booking acting jobs (including small roles in comedy films like 2004's "13 Going on 30" and "Hoot," in 2006), and even recorded a pop album that was released by Universal Music Group's Casablanca Records in 2005, when Larson was 16.

But with the album reportedly only selling about 4,000 copies and Larson's acting career failing to lead to any major gigs, she started to doubt whether a career in the entertainment industry was realistic and almost quit.

"It just wasn't working the way I wanted it to," Larson said last year in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.

"All the kids I went to school with were going to college and I was still trying to do this thing called 'acting' and not going very far," Larson says in the interview. "What's weird about this profession is that no one can really tell you when you are delusional. I used to wish that I'd wanted to be an athlete, because it's easy to quantify if that's working — just measuring your speed!"

To make matters worse, Larson was initially rejected after auditioning for a role as Toni Collette's teen daughter on the Showtime series "United States of Tara." Collette was an "acting hero" for Larson, so the rejection especially stung. Larson likened it to "being left at the altar" in a 2011 interview with Bullett Magazine.

It drove her to really contemplate a new career and she started applying to colleges.

"I was toying with the idea of either studying interior design or marine biology, but then I got a call," Larson told The Sydney Morning Herald. The producers of "United States of Tara" called Larson to tell her they were recasting the role Larson wanted, so she auditioned again and, this time, got the part.

"All of a sudden I was there with bigger leagues, and I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, I hope I'm doing this right,'" Larson told Bullett.

The show ran for three seasons, from 2009 to 2011, giving Larson confidence in her career choice. In 2012, Larson scored a role opposite Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in "21 Jump Street," a comedy hit that grossed over $200 million at the global box office.

The following year, Larson won critical acclaim for her starring role in the indie drama "Short Term 12," which put her on the radar of director Lenny Abrahamson, who would cast her in the 2015 drama "Room." That role earned Larson a Best Actress Oscar, catapulting her to stardom as a new "It Girl" in Hollywood and paving the way for her to star in blockbuster movies like last year's "Kong: Skull Island" as well as "Captain Marvel," which will be the next installment in Disney's uber-successful Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Larson, who will reportedly earn $5 million for the role, will play Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel), a pilot turned cosmic superhero who will headline a standalone action film in March before also appearing in the 2019 sequel to "Avengers: Infinity War." A new trailer for "Captain Marvel" debuted on ESPN's airing of "Monday Night Football" this week, and the trailer already had nearly 50 million views on YouTube within 24 hours.

Larson's acting career has clearly taken off in the past few years, making it all the more amazing that she nearly walked away completely just before landing her big TV break. In fact, Larson credits her costar on "United States of Tara," Toni Collette, with inspiring her and giving her the confidence to keep pursuing her dreams.

"She was my scene partner for three years and I got to grow with her and have her be a real guide in my life," Larson told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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