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Why Brie Larson is the superhero star we all need

The Avengers: Endgame star is Hollywood's billion-dollar woman - here's why.

By OK! team
Just a few years ago, she was a struggling actress starring in lesser known films while doing bit parts for TV.
However, fast-forward to 2019 and Brie Larson is something of a big deal – like, a billion-dollar big deal!
Last week it was announced her latest film Captain Marvel, in which she plays the titular character in Marvel's first female-led superhero film, had generated an astonishing $358 million in North America and a whopping $645 million overseas – taking the grand total to over one billion dollars!
Here, we take a look at how the rising actress went from a Disney Channel star to a billion-dollar superhero…
Brie sparkled in gold at the LA premiere of Captain Marvel on March 4 (Image: Getty)

Catching the acting bug

Brie knew from a young age she wanted to be an actress. It was during a family talent show at the age of four that she had an epiphany – dressed as the Energizer Bunny!
"At one point I had to walk across the living room in the costume, and my whole family laughed," Brie said in a recent interview.
"I didn't know that was something that could happen, and I didn't understand why it happened, but I liked it."
From here, a star was born!
Bitten hard by the acting bug, Brie – who was born Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers to French Canadian parents – was homeschooled by her homeopath/chiropractor mum. As her surname was difficult to pronounce, Brie adopted the stage name Larson from her Swedish great-grandmother – and the surname of the American Girl doll that she received as a child.
The gamble paid off when, at the age of six, Brie was accepted to study drama at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco – the youngest student ever to be admitted!
After her parents divorced, Brie's mum relocated Brie and her sister Milaine to LA, where Brie scored her first role on TV in a comedy sketch for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
"It was this Barbie commercial where I got to pour mud all over Barbie dolls and watch the heads pop off. It was so exciting, a lot of fun," Brie shares.
However, it was a further three years before she got her first major role. She was cast opposite Full House's Bob Saget in the sitcom Raising Dad, a short-run 2001 series about a widowed dad raising two kids.
She also landed a strong female role in Disney Channel's 2003 film Right on Track, which is said to have paved the path for her portrayal of the most powerful superhero in the universe.
From then into her late teens, Brie picked up guest roles on shows like Ghost Whisperer and The Trouble with Bliss and appeared in Jennifer Garner's rom-com 13 Going on 30.
"It just wasn't working the way I wanted it to," Brie recalls.
"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."

Her breakthrough role

But then she got a call to say she'd landed the role of Toni Collette's daughter Kate in Showtime's United States of Tara, and that's when people really started to take notice of her. Brie says it was her Golden Globe-winning co-star Toni who really influenced her career. '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,' she tells.
The 29-year-old never looked back, landing subsequent roles in films like Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now and Trainwreck. The industry could now see the extraordinary depth and breadth of Brie's talent.
This culminated when she was cast as a teen kidnap victim with a child in the 2014 independent drama Room, which is based on Emma Donoghue's novel.
In 2016, she won the Best Actress Academy Award for her work in Room, and remembers waking up the day after to call her friend Jennifer Lawrence.
"I was like, "I don't feel any different. I don't feel better about myself. I still don't feel like I'm a good actress,"" Brie recalls.
"[Jen] was like, "Oh, yeah. That's totally normal. I've had the same thing.""
Before her acting career took off, Brie considered being a photographer, interior designer and animal trainer! (Image: Getty)

Fame’s taken her by surprise

After Room, Brie became hot property in Tinseltown, and then it was announced she'd be playing Captain Marvel – a role every actress in Hollywood had been vying for.
Brie admits she's still getting used to the new limelight she received after being cast the lead role.
"It definitely is scary to think of people paying attention to me. I've been kind of freaking out seeing how quickly my numbers on Instagram have been going up since Avengers: Infinity War came out… I've been sort of like, "Um, why are people paying attention to me?" I really just feel the same."

She’s a feminist warrior – just like her Marvel character!

She might feel the same, but Brie has been using her new-found superstar status to highlight causes close to her heart.
She was an early champion of the Time's Up movement and is an advocate of women's rights and diversity within the film industry.
"We now have a lot of ways to try to hold ourselves and others accountable," she explains.
"We're also dealing with a lot of institutions – agencies, unions, studios. But I'm constantly getting emails that make me go, 'This is working.'"Brie was one of the first A-list Hollywood actresses to insist on an 'inclusion rider' in her film contracts, meaning there must be diversity in casting and production staff in the projects she takes.
Brie also pressed for greater inclusion on her Captain Marvel press tour, where she announced she'd be "pushing for representation across the board: my interviews, magazine covers, [and] the clothes that I'm wearing".
Brie looked dazzling at the 2019 Academy Awards (Image: Getty)

She’s now directing

With a net worth of $10 million, Brie's in the enviable position of being financially secure enough to work both in front of, and behind, the camera.The actress' directorial debut Unicorn Store garnered positive reviews, with one critic saying, "There's a palpable sincerity to her filmmaking. It's easy to see that she has as much potential behind the camera as she does in front of it."
And Brie says that directing the film, which was picked up by Netflix this year, has improved her as an actress.
"Directing makes me a much better actor because you see the entire process," she explains.
We certainly haven't seen the last of this billion-dollar star!

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