Some superhero movies feature charming, flirtatious female arm candy. That's not remotely Michelle Williams, who plays the lawyer who dumps a morally misguided reporter in “Venom,” opening Friday.
For those not immersed in the Marvel universe, Venom (played by Tom Hardy), is a journalist whose last assignment goes awry when he becomes infected with a talking parasite that gives out dating advice.
Williams, a newlywed, noted that it was vital to her that the character was both brawny and a brainiac.
“We made a lot of changes. It was important to me that it feels of the time. I know it's a superhero movie and people aren’t seeing it for relationship details. But these two people are equals. There’s a lot of role reversal,” said Williams. “He’s a little soft and she’s very strong. When she wears a skirt, she wears suspenders with it. It’s the little things. I wanted it to feel like a movie made post-#MeToo. I wanted her to feel like all the pop songs my daughter and I listen to on the radio.”
Williams immediately brings up the Fifth Harmony hit “Worth It,” all about female empowerment. And no, daughter Matilda, 12, has not seen “Venom.”
“She’s too young. It would give her nightmares. She’s not so interested in superheroes. I’m still riding high on ‘The Greatest Showman,’” she joked. “That’s how I stay relevant.”
Soon, she'll star in the FX miniseries “Fosse/Verdon” alongside Sam Rockwell, from the creator of "Hamilton." “Now I’ve got Lin-Manuel Miranda and that keeps me cool at the dinner table,” said Williams.
The actress is thoughtful and introspective, wryly funny and intensely personable. She became embroiled in Hollywood's pay gap when her salary for "All the Money in the World" reshoots was revealed. And in a more sheltered way, so is her daughter (from her relationship with Heath Ledger).
"She was fully cognizant through the last presidential election. I keep the information really flowing. We keep the news on. I try to be realistic with her about the struggle we’re all in. It isn’t fair. But we have to put our fists up. She’s creature of her own making. I can’t wait to see how her life unfolds," said Williams.
And for the next installment of "Venom": “I’d like an outlet for some righteous anger and indignation. I’d like to conduit everything that my friends, colleagues and women across the country are feeling. I’d like to go kick some (butt) with it.”