Call Answered: Sharon Blynn: "Captain Marvel" + Bald Is Beautiful
From surviving Ovarian Cancer to living out her childhood dream in the box office smash hit Captain Marvel, Sharon Blynn’s story is one I had to find out more about!
She is the founder of Bald is Beautiful, an organization to help women “flip the script” on the many traumatic aspects of the cancer experience, and embrace every part of their journey with self-love, empowerment, and a deep knowing that their beauty and femininity radiate from within and are not diminished in any way by the effects of having cancer.
1. You are currently featured in the new Captain Marvel film, playing "Soren," a Skrull and the wife of "Talos," played by Ben Mendelsohn. I recently saw the film and it was wonderful! I was engaged the whole time and was so excited to see you in it. As a Marvel fan yourself, what was it like when you found out you were going to be in this film? I think I had an out of body experience when I got the call from my rep, Kat, that I booked it. We laugh-cried on the phone together for about 20 minutes straight! Kat and I are both Marvel fans, actually, so we had mutual comic-nerd-giddiness about it from audition to booking it, but we had to keep all that in check before knowing if I booked it, you know?
From the moment I got the audition, I had to do what many actors often do, which is treat every audition with the same level of care and preparation, take those moments in the room as ours to “perform” and tell a story, and then leave it on the floor once we’re out the door. So, it was like a volcano of emotion for us both when the news came in that I booked it!
2. Who was/is your favorite Marvel character of all time? That’s a practically impossible question to answer but I’ll try! I’ve gone through so many different phases and preferences over the years moving between comic books and cartoons and then later the movies! I love the full spectrum of the MCU in general because of the way Marvel characters are written. They have rich emotional lives and are not one-dimensional characters. Whatever is considered their “flaw” or “shortcoming” or “disability” in their regular life is what becomes their superpower.
If I absolutely had to choose one, the first that came to my mind is The Incredible Hulk, both the comic book and cartoon versions, as well as the live-action TV series. I kind of had a little crushie-poo on Bill Bixby, who brought so much depth and soul to that role. I loved him in My Favorite Martian, too!
3. How long did it take you to get in and out of make-up? What's the most challenging part to acting in all that make-up? The prosthetics/make-up process took about two hours each time. I think we actually got it down to about 90 minutes by the end of my shoot days! The most challenging part of acting with the prosthetics was making sure that my internal emotions could read through it all. The head/neck prosthetics were glued and sealed onto my face and had the effect of what I affectionately began referring to as “Skrulltox” (pun on “botox”) because facial expressions I made with normal movement didn’t really show. I had to practice in the mirror exaggerating some of those things underneath it (especially brow movement) so that the feelings that came through were still in the subtle, gentle way I would typically emote.
4. If you can talk about it, with so many special effects used in the film, can you talk about what the filming process was like for you? My scenes didn’t involve special effects per se, so the filming process for my parts was very much like any other acting situation. Grounding myself in the truth of the moment, connecting with my acting partner (in this case, my Skrull hubs, Talos/Ben, as well as my daughter(s) played by twins Auden and Harriet!), and being present and available for what came through in each take. And of course, making sure the directors were getting what they envisioned for our story.
5. What was it like to see the film put together? Did anything make you go, "Oh wow, that's how they put that together?" Seeing the final cut of the film was incredible! The first time I actually saw it was at the cast and crew screening a few days before the theatrical release, so at that point I wasn’t even sure what of my scenes may or may not have been used or cut in the editing room. I was overjoyed to see everything we shot together in there, and the edits were beautifully done. I’d also never worked with a trained cat before, which was fascinating! Without giving any spoilers, to see Goose the Cat in full effects in some scenes took me totally by surprise! I had no idea it was going to be THAT!
6. In October 2000, you were diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer and battled it for 3 years, finally becoming cancer-free in 2003. What did you learn about yourself from this fight that you didn't know beforehand? I’ve always been a survivor in different ways, so I had built up an arsenal of emotional and spiritual survival tools throughout my life. I didn’t realize just how much my nerd skills of resourcefulness and research would come into play, and just how fierce I can be when needed. I had always been on the more quiet and introspective side of things, even if I was in a leadership position.
Cancer kind of brought me out of my shell and I couldn’t (or I decided not to, rather) hide anymore behind my thick, long hair and all-black baggy men’s clothes. I had to give myself the same nurturing, compassion, care, and attention as I very willingly gave to other people, often to my own detriment. I learned I could still do that AND take care of Sharon. Putting the emotional/spiritual oxygen mask on myself in order to better help others, so to speak.
7. You have been cancer free for 16 years now. What would Sharon of today tell Sharon of 2000, 2001, 2002, or 2003? You got this, mama. There are things you can’t even imagine that will be coming your way . . . so trust yourself, trust the process, believe in yourself, and keep that sense of adventure alive as you follow your vision and live your Truth.
8. In response to your own battle with cancer, you founded Bald Is Beautiful, an organization to help women “flip the script” on the many traumatic aspects of the cancer experience, and embrace every part of their journey with self-love, empowerment, and a deep knowing that their beauty and femininity radiate from within and are not diminished in any way by the effects of having cancer. What has been some of the rewards from having this organization? Through my Bald Is Beautiful work, and especially through the magic of the interwebs, I have connected with people all over the world about what is the unfortunately widely shared and prevalent experience that is cancer, from patients to their caregivers, all of whom are on the rollercoaster ride together in different ways.
I had no idea what would come of putting my story out there on the information superhighway, and very rarely do we ever come to know how we actually affect other people who are not in our immediate circle of interaction. So, to get emails over the years from people many miles and even continents away who happened upon my website telling me that something I shared helped them or inspired them is absolutely priceless and truly humbling.
9. What other projects do you have coming up that you can talk about? I don’t have details to share about the upcoming projects I have in development, but I invite your readers to follow me through my website (www.baldisbeautiful.org) or the Bald Is Beautiful Facebook page (www.facebook.com/baldisbeautifulblog/) on Instagram @bald.is.beautiful
10. Rapid Fire Questions:
Coke or Pepsi? Neither. No carbonated drinks for me!
Twizzlers or Red Vines? Neither. Not into the rubbery “food” stuff. Chocolate on the other hand…
Peanut Butter: Crunchy or Smooth? Either or both! Especially if inside a Reese’s peanut butter cup! See aforementioned note about chocolate!
Favorite go to Emoji when texting? There are three that I use in various permutations or all at once: 🕶, 🙏🏻, and ❤️
More on Sharon:
Sharon is best known for her key role in Disney’s latest box office smash hit Captain Marvel. She plays the role of “Soren,” a Skrull and the wife of “Talos,” who is played by Ben Mendelsohn. Sharon shared the big screen and showcased her talent alongside award-winning actors such as Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and Jude Law. As a huge Marvel fan, it was a dream come true for Sharon when she landed a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sharon has demonstrated her wide range of acting capabilities appearing in hit television shows spanning everything from comedy to drama. Appearances include Shameless, The Detour, Body of Proof and Lie to Me. She has also given amazing performances on the big screen and even shared her behind the scenes creative side by helping writer-director Brandon Beckner create her character in Parallel Worlds: A New Rock Music Experience. Sharon’s other film credits include The Historian Paradox, The Skeleptica Effect, and Grimshaw.
The catalyst that began her acting career was her battle with Ovarian cancer which she successfully beat. As a result of her fight, she founded Bald is Beautiful. The organization supports Ovarian Cancer programs and helps bring awareness to the disease. Sharon wanted to create a platform that utilized TV/Film/Print media to redefine social notions of beauty, femininity, and wholeness for women. Her activism has landed her notable media spots such as hosting the PBS special The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer. She has also been a part of the Kenneth Cole “We All Walk in Different Shoes” Awareness and Bristol-Myers Squibb campaigns.
Sharon won the BraveHeart Women’s Association Courage Award. Watch her acceptance speech here.