Evangeline Lilly found fame and success relatively early into her acting career when she was cast as Kate Austen in the ABC series Lost, which she was a part of from beginning to end. During that six-year run, Lilly also appeared in a few movies, like The Hurt Locker, but in the years after Lost ended, she jumped into the blockbuster film game when she appeared as the elf Tauriel in the latter two Hobbit movies. As it turns out, we have those movies, and specifically director Peter Jackson, to thank for Lilly not retiring from the acting world.
As Evangeline Lilly explained to THR, she "felt very uncomfortable" being launched into international stardom when she joined Lost. So after the show ended, she acted alongside Hugh Jackman in Real Steel, but once that wrapped up, she intended on retiring from acting. And that was the case for two years, with Lilly having a child and writing scripts during that time and not being in contact with Hollywood at all. Then, she received a "covert call" from Peter Jackson, who knew about her relationship with Dominic Monaghan, a Lord of the Rings alum and fellow Lost star, and hadn't had any luck reaching her through the normal entertainment channels. Jackson offered Lilly the Tauriel role, but the actress felt torn about taking it. Lilly continued:
I made a decision and I decided to go do the film. I had a wonderful time making that movie: One of the highlights in my life was living in New Zealand for that year and being a part of that family. That helped opened my eyes to the fact that, okay, this job can be a joy, it's just a matter of how you approach it, and what you do with it, how much I put myself out there, and to a certain degree, how much I work. And so as I was finishing press for The Hobbit, that's when I got the call from Marvel, and I thought, 'I just need to either draw a very firm line in the sand and say I'm done, or I need to just make my peace with the thing, find a way to be happy and do it in a way that makes me feel comfortable and satisfied.' So that's what I ended up deciding.
So if Peter Jackson had never called Evangeline Lilly to play Tauriel (an original character) in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, then Lilly might have stuck to her retirement, and another actress ultimately would have played the elf protagonist. But because Jackson did give Lilly a ring, it took her down a new path that, as she noted, led to her discovering that she could balance both her acting life and her other interests/family. From there, she was cast as Hope van Dyne in Ant-Man, a role she's reprised for Ant-Man and the Wasp, but clearly those Hobbit movies will hold a special place in her career.
You can see Evangeline Lilly back in action as Hope van Dyne in Ant-Man and the Wasp starting tomorrow (or tonight, depending on your area), and for all the latest movie news, keep checking back with CinemaBlend. For now, you can find out what other movies come out later this year in our 2018 release schedule.