WandaVision star Kat Dennings discusses her 'unexpected' MCU return
Darcy Lewis has come a long way since we last saw her in Thor: The Dark World.
After eight years away, Kat Dennings returned to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Darcy in last week's WandaVision episode. When we first met her in 2011's Thor, she was a quippy former poli-sci student interning for astrophysicists Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) when they crossed paths with Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder, and she kept that position in the movie's sequel. However, WandaVision's expository fourth episode revealed that Darcy got her doctorate and became an astrophysicist herself in the intervening years (but still rocks a beanie), which is why S.W.O.R.D. recruited her to help figure out what's going on with Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and the town of Westview.
Below, EW chats with Dennings about her MCU return, WandaVision's unlikely pairings, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You've been gone from the MCU for almost a decade. What was it like returning for WandaVision? How did this experience compare to the Thor days now that Marvel's changed so much?
KAT DENNINGS: Yeah, it was amazing. That call was very unexpected, and of course I was delighted to be asked. I am just a big fan of Marvel in general. I had no expectations of ever coming back, so I was just thrilled.
In the intervening years, had you given any thought to what Darcy was up to during all the major events she wasn't directly involved in?
Yeah, that was a question initially. Did Darcy blip? Or what happened? Where is she? But this kind of answered the question that she's just been in school this entire time, I guess, becoming a doctor. Not an M.D., but becoming an astrophysicist.
I did love that moment when the S.W.O.R.D. agent called her "Ms. Lewis" and she corrected him and said "doctor."
That's right, I worked hard for that doctor title!
When you got the call to return, did Marvel pitch you on the idea that she's become an astrophysicist now, and were you surprised by what she ended up doing after Thor 2?
I didn't know she was a doctor. All I knew was that they wanted to bring Darcy back and that it was for WandaVision. So I was extremely surprised only because Darcy had had no interaction as a character with anyone in the world WandaVision at all, so I was like, "Wow, that was the last show I excepted to be a part of." But when I saw what they did with it, it's kind of an ingenious move for them.
On the podcast Keep It, you said you only read your scenes in the script and didn't know what else was going on, which is funny because episode 4 makes Darcy and Jimmy Woo [Randall Park] the audience surrogates, trying to figure out what's going on just like we are. But does that mean you were even more confused than the audience while shooting it?
Well, I did know initially because we read through all the episodes. So I was in on the table reads, so I knew what happened and what was going on, but I decided consciously to stop reading because I didn't want to know too much and I'm not a good enough actor to fake not knowing anything [laughs], so it could only help me. And getting to this moment where we're talking about it, I'm consciously trying not to spoil anything, but also there is an element of me really not knowing what happens, so it makes my job a little bit easier.
Part of the show's appeal is that it's playing with the sitcom format. Obviously, you spent six seasons on the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls. Did you rely on any of that experience coming into WandaVision?
Well, you know, acting in a sitcom is completely different than acting in a single-camera show or film. It's like an art form in itself. It's absolutely crazy and you really have to learn how it works, so I really enjoyed the first few episodes of WandaVision seeing them do that. As a fan of their characters, it was so interesting and they all are amazing. I really enjoyed Paul Bettany being very, very funny. He's like a genius.
So would it be fair to say you got a chance to put any of the skills you learned on 2 Broke Girls in this context?
Uh, I think you're asking a clever question that I can't answer. I love you for it. I appreciate the tactic, though.
I had to try! Part of the fun of watching episode 4 is seeing you and Randall bounce off each other. What was it like getting to work closely on that episode?
It was amazing. He's a lovely, wonderful person, great actor, obviously. But it was so funny just because Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis, again, a couple of people who never interacted before in any of the franchises, so that was really fun. And I think there was that knowledge that, "Oh, people are going think this is cool." It's always really fun to see pairings that you don't expect. So yeah, it's a delight. He's lovely.
A lot of episode 4 was you guys sitting behind screens, looking at things that would be added in postproduction. What did you do to make those scenes come alive for yourself?
That was difficult, I will say, because I knew what was on the screens loosely, but I didn't see the footage so I was imagining it. So yeah, that tested my imagination a bit, but it kind of added to the mystery because when you see us solving a mystery, we really are solving a mystery. It's like very cool to see it all put together. Watching the episodes is new for us as well: "Oh, that's what I was reacting to! Now I see!" [Laughs]
In coming back to this role, was it hard to step back into character, or did you find that pretty easy?
I had to refresh myself on myself, if that makes sense. But my development for myself was more like, "Okay, she's been in school this whole time. She's learned a lot, but I don't think she's changed as a person that much." We could get real deep and emotional on the subject of it people change or not, but I felt like I don't think Darcy as a human being is that different but she certainly has become older, wiser, and more senior. Now she's the boss, and she's never been the boss before. I think there's that confidence in herself that maybe she didn't have before that was fun to see. I enjoy her. [Laughs]
I've heard that you try not to watch things you're in, but have you watched episode 4 yet?
Yes, I do watch WandaVision because I'm not like the main character, so I think that enables me to watch it. It's harder for me to watch myself in large doses, only because there's something about, you know, we're not supposed to see ourselves in motion like that. It's not good, it's not healthy. [Laughs] There's an element, "Uh, I shouldn't see myself this much." So yeah, I try not to, but this one I'm able to, but also I think it's just a cool show.
New WandaVision episodes debut Fridays on Disney+.