Interview, Katy O'Brian of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
The Hoosier actress talks about her journey from Carmel police officer to star of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars and "The Walking Dead" -- and if Paul Rudd is really as nice as they say.
Listen to the entire interview below!
Hollywood legend is filled with stories of people from modest origins who wind up becoming stars. Add to that mythology the story of Katy O’Brian, an Indianapolis native who went from being an officer with the Carmel Police Department a few years ago to acting in some of the biggest shows and movies around.
She’s now starring alongside Paul Rudd in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” the latest iteration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opened to big box office last weekend. She plays Jentorra, the fierce leader of a disparate tribe of freedom fighters existing in the Quantum realm, fighting against the tyranny of Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
Initially an antagonist to Ant-Man — with whom O’Brian enjoys a humorous throw-down — Jentorra eventually joins forces with the “regular guy” superhero.
First off: is Rudd really as nice as they say? Is he actually a big jerk away from the cameras?
“Not at all! He was so sweet, so humble, so down-to-earth,” she says. “Unfortunately for him, he was (named) sexiest man in the world while we were on set. Just seeing how embarrassed he was by that was really pretty precious.”
O’Brian is quite an intimidating presence in the film, indulging in many fight scenes while wearing an elaborate costume and makeup.
“It really made the character come together… we played with a lot of ideas, where the hair would go, how much hair there would be, and what makeup we were using. As that started to come together you start to really feel you know who this person is.”
Much of her costume was hand-woven, and the armor she wore was made with a 3-D printer — “it fit like a glove.”
The physicality of the Ant-Man role wasn’t anything new for O’Brian.
In addition to serving with the Carmel police for seven years and all the training that goes with that, she began studying martial arts early, earning a brown belt in karate at age 9. While on the force she also became certified as a personal trainer and tackled bodybuilding, forging a swole physique that you see flashes of as Jentorra, or more on her Instagram page.
O’Brian worked on Carmel PD’s Crisis Intervention Team, using her psychology degree from Indiana University to help people experiencing mental health challenges. Over time, though, she found she wasn’t happy with where her career path was taking her and rediscovered a desire to perform. She helped found an improvisation troupe at IU and enrolled in acting classes at the Indy Actor’s Academy.
Finally, she took the plunge and moved out to Los Angeles.
“In the back of my mind I always wanted to act. I never thought it’d be possible. I never saw anyone like me on the screen,” she says. “I guess it worked out!”
One hears tales of fresh-faced performers struggling for years to get a break. O’Brian was the exception in quickly landing roles.
“Ant-Man” is the biggest, but hardly her first high-profile acting gig. One of her earliest roles was in “The Walking Dead,” and she also had a featured part on another zombie show, “Z Nation,” for one season. Other credits include “Magnum P.I.,” “Westworld” and “The Rookie.”
“Ant-Man” isn’t even her first go in the MCU, previously appearing in three episodes of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” And she had a part in the CW superhero series “Black Lightning.”
She’s even been in Star Wars. Like a lot of people, I first noticed O’Brian three years ago when she stood out as a mysterious, compelling unnamed Galactic Empire officer in the second season of “The Mandalorian.” In contrast to her role in “Ant-Man,” there’s very little physicality to the part; instead O’Brian commands our attention with her steely demeanor and eclectic beauty.
It was literally a “Who is this?!?” moment for a lot of us.
O’Brian hints that you’ve not seen the last of her in “The Mandalorian,” with the highly anticipated season three dropping on Disney+ on March 1. She promises fans “it will be really interesting.”
Also look for O’Brian to headline in “Loves Lies Bleeding,” a feature film with Kristen Stewart and Ed Harris that she promises will show a very different side of her acting talents than audiences have seen before. It’s expected to be released later in 2023.