Luckily, she didn't have to

By Maggie Parker
Updated June 08, 2016 at 02:36 PM EDT
Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic
  • Movie

Don’t expect to see Lizzy Caplan playing the “token female” anytime soon. On the contrary, it’s the fact she wasn’t playing the typical female character in an otherwise male cast that made her proud to be a part of Now You See Me 2.

“I have to say, and this isn’t even a straight up comedy — there’s other stuff going on — but they gave me so much free reign to improvise and make the character as strange and odd as I wanted, and not the 2-dimensional token female role,” Caplan told PEOPLE at the NYC premiere of the film about magicians. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm.

“I felt more freedom on this than I have a lot of comedies I’ve done,” she added.

As the only female in a cast of strong men — including Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Woody Harrelson — it would be easy for Caplan to go with the flow and be the girly magician’s assistant, but she didn’t.

“There are a few lines in the movie that I improvised, and they are all about, ‘why do you think a girl can’t do it?’ And that was just really how I was feeling in the moment,” Caplan explained. “But they incorporated it into the character, which is fantastic.”

If the character was too stereotypical and she hadn’t had that creative freedom, Caplan wouldn’t have let it slide. “I would have fought against that.” But she wouldn’t have been completely surprised. “They [people in the movie industry] do like to promise that before things happen and then they’re like, ‘just kidding,'” the Masters of Sex star revealed. Luckily, making this movie was an extremely collaborative experience. “They were really cool and Ed Solomon, the writer, we were working together on the script before we even left to go shoot the movie, so it was unbelievably collaborative the whole time.”

And that, folks, is how magic is made.

Now You See Me 2

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 127 minutes
  • Jon M. Chu