Twenty five minutes and 43 seconds into the first episode and, poof, there she is.
Alabama native Erika Coleman has a small but cool role in “Loki,” the buzzed-about new Marvel series streaming on Disney+ about the Avengers archvillain, God of Mischief and brother of Thor.
New episodes of “Loki” arrive Wednesdays. The show stars Tom Hiddleston, who brings his delightfully snooty elan to the titular role, a character he’s portrayed in seven Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Owen Wilson brings his own trademark “aw, shucks” charm to the role of Time Variance Authority agent Mobius M. Mobius. Like most Marvel productions, “Loki” looks awesome and is a fun watch.
The debut season of “Loki” is comprised of six episodes. If you haven’t yet seen episode one, which dropped June 9, mild spoiler here: Coleman appears in a flashback scene as Florence Schaffner, the real-life flight attendant who attends to mysterious - and, to-date, never found - airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper, who was actually … Loki? Just watch the show. Coleman also appears very briefly in the series trailer.
Coleman’s other recent acting credits include Netflix sci-fi sensation “Stranger Things,” Apple’s “Amazing Stories” reboot and $800,000,000 box-office comedy-adventure blockbuster “Jumanji: The Next Level.” Born in Los Angeles, her father’s family is from Alabama and she grew up in places here like Elkmont and Madison. She graduated from Decatur’s Austin High School.
Recently, I connected with Coleman for a phone interview. She called in from the Atlanta home she shares with husband Mike Whaley, an actor who’s appeared in TV shows like “Atlanta” and “Homeland” as well as more than 300 commercials, and their young daughter August and recently born son Hendrix.
Erika, can you walk us through how you got the “Loki” gig?
Yeah, sure! That’s what we would call a day-player role, when you only have like one scene and you start and finish in one day. It pretty much just went through my agent. We got an audition probably a couple months before filming. And when the audition came through, it was exactly how it was in the scene. And for that role, particularly, I had no idea what I was actually stepping into. Sometimes they don’t release that information to us of what you’re actually on set for.
Wait, you didn’t know it was for “Loki”?
I had no idea. I don’t even remember what they said it was for. Same thing with “Stranger Things,” and I also had no idea I was auditioning for “Jumanji” when I booked that role. They keep things very, very quiet.
So basically, I just turned in my audition tape to my agent, and then probably maybe about a week later, they offered me the role. And I was like, “Cool, sounds great!” Then went through a bunch of fittings and still had no idea what I was being fitted for. I had no idea I was filming for Marvel until I walked in the makeup trailer and saw Tom.
You interact with Tom Hiddleston a couple times in that “Loki” scene. What was he like to work with and be around on-set?
Tom is a complete gentleman. He was great to work with and just amazing to work with. And for me to be coming into work with such experienced people, they completely respected my craft as well and asked, you know, like, how should the scene kind of go. And Tom gave his input of how we should start, rehearsal and everything like that. We had a good couple of laughs. He shared some really fun experiences with me that were just really great like small talk. But other than that, we were very professional onset.
And it was just a joy to be just a part of the whole experience. It was filmed in a huge studio, Pinewood Studios in Atlanta. And they had this humongous … It was about half of an aircraft that I’m not sure exactly if it was built on set, but it looked like somebody just kind of cut open an aircraft and put it in the studio. And that’s where we filmed. But it was like a real plane.
Kate Herron is the director for “Loki.” What did you take away from working with her?
I not only want and hope to work with her again, but she completely inspired me that, wow, this might be something I would like to do one day. Just watching her in her craft of what she does, and how she’s so easy to work with it, she just completely inspired me as a director.
How was the fitting process for having a costume custom made for you, on such a high-budget Disney+ and Marvel project?
I had about four or five fitting for that stewardess outfit. And bummer I didn’t get to keep it. [Laughs] But when you go through the fitting process of custom-made wardrobe, it really puts in perspective, “Wow, it takes a lot of time to build and delicately craft each part.”
For example, the producers and the team that designs everything, they went back and forth for a while on how tall the neckline should be. And then once I put it on, they were going back, “Oh, it should be this much shorter, this much longer.” Just simple things like that. Where the pockets should be. How many buttons should be going across or down. I’ll never forget, in the makeup and hair trailer when we were getting ready, they were going to paint my fingernails and they went through probably a good half a dozen fingernail polishes to get the right red to match the clothes.
So it takes a lot of time. And you’ve got a lot of people getting the complete feel together for how the final product should look. It even mattered under the wardrobe, the undergarments that we wear too. When you fully get into wardrobe, you are fully in there from head to toe, underwear and all. [Laughs] It was fun having some ’70s style underwear on and everything like that.
I’m sure it all helps you get into the vibe for the character and scene.
Has your phone been blowing up since “Loki” premiered?
Yes. And all that love came at just the right time. Whenever you welcome new kids into the world, it’s a time where you’ve just got to kind of take it slow. And it’s affects you a little bit because you want to jump back into work so quickly, and you forget that you need to rest. But the balance of having so much love sent my way from, from all the “Loki” fans, especially internationally, it absolutely amazes me. Sending me love from India and Switzerland, Australia, Mexico and different parts of South America, and just people telling me like, “Hey, I’m from such and such and loved you in the role,” and they’ll send fun screenshots and some of them have shared with me what the scene looks like in their country, because it’s a totally different language. But yeah, it’s just it’s really been amazing the amount of love that I’ve received from it.
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What was an early acting experience that made you think, “This is what I want to do with my life”?
I think the very first experience that I had with television and film, it was actually based in Huntsville. Matt, do you remember when “Constellation” was filmed in Huntsville? I think this was (released) back in 2007.
I was working in South Carolina for a media outlet there back then. But I remember when that film was shot in Huntsville and have some “Constellation” questions for you. You were cast as the daughter of Billy Dee Williams’ character.
Yeah, and unfortunately that scene did not make the final edit. But just being around Billy Dee and Gabrielle Union was also in that. I admired her and when I saw her on set and got to meet her and just be a part of the experience as a whole with “Constellation,” that’s really started that started everything right there.
Zoe Saldana, who went on to be in the “Star Trek” reboot films and a lot of other big stuff, was also in “Constellation.”
Yes, so I played the younger version of Zoe. That was also really cool to meet her in person and be in that whole world with them. And Zoe, she’s an A list actor now.
What’s a fond memory of being around Billy Dee Williams?
When you’re on set, you have a lot going on. There’s a lot of there’s a lot of moving parts. And Billy was so calm, cool and collected - that’s just his whole persona, from what I can remember. When I met him, he was just a very humble, just kind of had that very welcoming energy. A very mellow person to be around.
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The TV and film industry in Atlanta is really booming. What impact is that having on the city and actors like yourself who reside there?
It has changed drastically within the time that we have been here. And it has evolved. A lot. When I first moved to Atlanta and started in TV and film here, many network shows were casting out of Atlanta, which, as somebody who wants to be in TV and film you definitely want to try to go for network shows, because not only do they pay well, but they sometimes they lead to more opportunities. Not that independents don’t. But a lot of independents were here in Atlanta, so it was hard to get your name started, it was hard to get part of the union, SAG (Screen Actors Guild).
a lot of times they would bring these huge productions from L.A. or New York, and they would shoot them here, but they wouldn’t cast here. Even if you were here, it’s like, alright, well, you’ve got to move to L.A. and get cast in LA., and then you film back in Atlanta. It’s almost funny how many of our friends literally picked their stuff up, moved to L.A., and the next thing you know, we’re like, “How’s it going out there?” And they’re like, “well, we’re back because, everything is shooting here.”
Instead of casting out in L.A., now they’re casting here in Atlanta, which helps the industry to grow and helps actors for us to grow because the talent is definitely here in Atlanta. So it’s just great. More work for everybody. Because it takes it takes a lot of team members to put a production together, especially with everybody that’s behind the camera, so it creates a lot more jobs. Helps the economy a lot more. I have nothing but good things to say about it.
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Source : https://www.al.com/news/2021/06/loki-disney-marvel-series-cast-includes-actor-with-alabama-roots.html2393