Recently, TheThings had the pleasure of interviewing Sharon Blynn who stars as "Soren" in Captain Marvel which is playing in theaters now! Sharon was a pleasure to speak with and we found out that this actress is marvelously inspirational as well as incredibly interesting and fun to chat with.
If you haven't already treated yourself to the new Captain Marvel movie, you'll be better equipped after reading this article and can root for the green-skinned Soren a.k.a. Sharon Blynn as she tends with the intergalactic battle around her.
We hope that you enjoy this powerful exclusive interview!
TheThings (TH): Sharon, in Captain Marvel which is playing now, you play Soren, wife to Talos. Can you tell us about Soren? What is she like?
Sharon Blynn (SB): Soren is very feminine, in every sense: Strong and vulnerable; intelligent and proud, but also playful; tender and fierce. She values integrity and compassion in all beings.
TH: What similarities do you share with Soren and how do you differ from her?
SB: Soren and I are similar in all the ways I listed above. We share the tomboy toughness infused with softness and a deeply rooted sense of empathy. As far as differences go, I think Soren is perhaps a bit more patient than I am and I c30an be a bit more of a goofball than she probably is! On the aesthetic side, I’m not quite as green as Soren. Also, I don’t have any tattoos on my head or elsewhere. And while I do have somewhat pointy ears if you look at me straight on, they are not as long and pointy as hers. I brought all of myself to bear in bringing Soren to life, so we are now one!
TH: We hear that you are a big Marvel fan yourself. How did you learn that you landed this incredible role and what was that experience like?
SB: I am indeed a lifelong Marvel and Stan Lee fan, so this experience is still surreal and mind-blowing! I found out that I booked the role while I was at the gym at work (I’m a proofreader by day!). My manager, Kat, called me and asked if I was sitting down (“I need you to sit down.”) I was feeling tentative because “sit down” could either be catastrophic news or incredibly wonderful news. I told her I was sitting and she said simply, “You booked it.” I immediately burst into tears of joy, paced back and forth in the locker room saying everything from “Omigosh-omigosh-omigosh” to “Is this real? Is this really real?” Kat was laugh-crying on the other end of the line, assuring me that yes, it was indeed real. It wasn’t going away. That I booked it. As an MCU fan and as an actor, this was a huge personal and professional milestone. My whole body was buzzing from head to toe, from the inside out, for weeks! Honestly, I’m still buzzing and I’m over-the-moon giddy about it all.
TH: Do you have a particularly funny, sweet, interesting or otherwise memorable behind-the-scenes moment of making Captain Marvel that you can share with us?
SB: The entire experience is all of those things you mention, of course! There were so many memorable moments with cast and crew throughout the entire process. One moment, in particular, was on the shoot day for the main pivotal scene I shot with Ben. We were getting ready to do a run-through with him and the directors and the entire crew on the Kree ship set. Ben was playing the Space Invaders pinball machine you see later in that scene in the movie (it was, in fact, a fully functional pinball machine!), so I walked over to Ben, hoping to establish more of a connection with him. We chatted a bit as I watched him play, and then he set it up for a 2-person game. We played a couple of rounds and just had a cool time Skrullin’ together!
Another fun thing that was completely unique to this experience is that because I always went straight into make-up upon arrival on set, none of the actors (Ben, Brie, Sam, Lashana, etc) and most of the crew throughout the entire shoot did not know what I looked like in person. In fact, I didn’t meet most of the core cast without make-up on until we initially wrapped in July; and Ben wasn’t there that evening so he and I didn’t meet as humanoids until the very last day of shooting in December! It was kind of an amusing parlor game to walk up to people without all the gear on, stare at them, and see how long it took them to realize it was me! The looks of surprise and then complete glee at finally meeting as earthlings were so much fun! I was completely incognito until the very end!
SB: You've been acting steadily since 2005 and have appeared in a wide variety of genres from comedic performances to serious dramas. Do you have a genre preference and if so, why?
SB: This may sound strange, but I genuinely love both genres in different ways. I am usually drawn to, and go out for, more dramatic roles. I thrive on digging into the emotional layers and nuances of that kind of work. And I am also a huge fan of comedy, and very much relish the chance to let my goofball dork flag fly! If you think about it, laughing and crying are really variations along the same spectrum of emotion. The rhythms are different, like music styles or different kinds of dance. And while some of it is natural and innate, some of that can be learned, if the passion and will to live authentically in those moments is there.
TH: Can you share your favorite role to date with us, if you have one?
SB: I would have to say that being Soren in Captain Marvel is my favorite role to date just because the experience encompasses so much more than just an acting experience. On a personal level, it is out of this world! In terms of what my hopes and dreams were for Bald Is Beautiful when I first embarked on what some told me was a crazy endeavor, working on this movie was/is beyond measure. As an actor, this is an unforgettable milestone that I will always treasure. If I had to think of another favorite role, it would definitely be Shameless — working with the incredibly warm and gifted William H. Macy, on a scene that was so very personal to me as well as some of the other women in our scene’s cancer support group circle, was profound and unexpectedly cathartic.
TH: What is your ultimate dream role?
SB: Generally, there is so much great writing and compelling storytelling in film and television going on right now, including on network, cable, and streaming channels. I’d be excited to sink my teeth into a juicy role that has depth and interesting facets to explore on so many of those programs. But the first thing that leaped to my mind for my ultimate dream role (and I don’t know why I think this may sound corny) was to be a series regular on Law & Order: SVU, especially as the only one left of the Law & Order original franchise. I am an original Law & Order freak! I am that gal who can (and has and will) watch an entire marathon of that show no matter how many times I’ve seen the episodes. The original Law & Order, in particular, had a certain grit and featured real and unvarnished New Yorker types (ah, home!); and also, for better or worse, the issues and conversations being had on so many of those episodes going back more than 25 years are still devastatingly relevant and prescient today.
On a personal level, Law & Order was a central part of my healing regimen during chemo. You see, thanks to syndication, the show was on several times a day on different channels, and the stories and acting were so engaging that the show was like tiny points of light in an otherwise seemingly endless dark tunnel of pain and agony. I could fully immerse myself into that world and, for those short windows, feel no pain. Plus, I have immense admiration and respect for Mariska Hargitay, both as a talented actor and as a powerful woman who uses her visibility and platform to take action and give voice to the voiceless in very real ways. Call me, Dick Wolf!
TH: In 2003, you became an ovarian cancer survivor (Congratulations!) and have since started a social campaign and organization called “Bald Is Beautiful” which helps support ovarian cancer awareness programs as well as helping to change standardized ideals about beauty in today's society. How did you come up with the idea for “Bald IsBeautiful” and can you tell us more about it?
SB: The idea for Bald Is Beautiful was inspired by my own experience of losing my hair from chemo, and ultimately also having both of my ovaries removed — all of which triggered questions within myself about what makes me feminine, what makes me beautiful, what defines me as a woman if I am losing the very things that society (and, in the case of ovaries, biologically) tells us is how we should define beauty and womanhood.
After I lost my hair, I decided to take some “beauty” photos for myself, as a way to celebrate and embrace my new smooth-crowned look. I came out of those photo shoots feeling so empowered and beautiful, that I thought, “What if every woman undergoing treatment for cancer could bring this kind of feeling into her experience?”
The crystallizing moment happened when a photo of me smiling and holding the face of an actress whose head I’d shaved for her to perform the lead in a new production of the play Wit appeared on the cover of the Miami Herald Arts and Leisure section. The response to this joyful, vibrant image was incredible. People were reaching out to my parents to tell them that they were sending the article and photo to a relative going through treatment because it would make them feel happy. Or that they had taped the article up next to their computer at work so they can always be inspired to choose to feel joy even in a challenging situation. That was when I recognized the power of the visual media to transform peoples’ perception of themselves, of the cancer experience, and of what they see as beautiful or feminine. And so Bald Is Beautiful was born!
TH: You have remained bald since becoming a survivor in 2003 in order to spread the message of your cause. How has this decision, if at all, had an effect on your career?
SB: Prior to starting Bald Is Beautiful, I wasn’t even working as an actor. I was fulfilling my dream of helping to build artists’ careers in the jazz music business in New York! So, I began my acting career specifically as a bald woman, and it has not been an easy road at all. Not that I have ever chosen the well-traveled path throughout my life! Since I began pursuing modeling and acting as one of the ways to convey the Bald Is Beautiful message, I have been met with both support and encouragement as well as skepticism and doubt. I have been told that my look is either limiting my potential or that I’m carving out a unique niche and I, therefore, stand out in the sea of aspiring actors who fit into a more “traditional” mold. In short, it’s very subjective, isn’t it?
I have always been realistic in the sense that I understand that I’m not going to be cast in the “soccer mom” or “gal next door” types of roles (yet!). But there are so many other kinds of characters. I guess I’m considered a “character actor” in industry parlance, so I target my efforts toward shows that have a more diverse or interesting or off-the-beaten-path approach to casting, and go for roles for which my look is a fit based on the character description instead of just the breakdown notes on appearance or specified hair length. In all, the right roles and I seem to meet. . . maybe not as often as I’d like, but I continue to build my repertoire and have an amazing team of people working with me who see my talent and the totality of me and what I bring to the table. I very much believe in what I’m doing, I found a passion for acting from the start, and all of that keeps me focused and invigorated to keep on keepin’ on!
TH: Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
SB: In the immediate moment, I’m enjoying the fruits of having worked on the amazing Captain Marvel movie, celebrating its success and the wonderful responses I’ve personally gotten for my work in it! I’m involved in some projects in development, and I continue auditioning and studying to keep in top acting form, and otherwise enjoying La Vida Bella!
TH: Sharon, thank you SO much for taking the time to answer these questions! Best wishes from TheThings with your exciting career!
SB: THANK YOU! I appreciate the opportunity to share with you about my life, Bald Is Beautiful, and this newest milestone moment of success, and I hope that it brings joy and heart-smiles to your readers!
Readers, be sure to not to miss Captain Marvel at a theater near you and check out Sharon's incredible organization "Bald is Beautiful" while you're at it. We think that you'll have to agree that Sharon and her on-screen counterpart, Soren have much in common in terms of being power women!