One of the best compliments one can give to an actor is how much they disappeared into one of their roles. “I didn’t even recognize you” is basically code for Oscar, right? So when It actress Sophia Lillis says she had no idea her Uncle Frank co-star Paul Bettany was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Vision, that’s a type of flattery. I think?
To be fair, Paul Bettany really does not look like himself in the Avengers movies. There’s only a brief sequence throughout his role where his actual, normal face makes an appearance sans all that purple. What may be funnier is where Sophia Lillis actually knows Bettany from. She recently told NME:
I didn’t know he did Vision [in The Avengers]! He’s all purple and floaty in that! I knew him from this kids movie called Inkheart, which I was obsessed with. He played this man who has a ferret as a pet, so I grew up calling him the ferret man. When I first heard that I was gonna work with him I was like, ‘Oh my God it’s the ferret man!’ When I met him he told me I was literally the only other person that even remembered that film!
Lillis is 18 years old and therefore, has a much different frame of reference for the 49-year-old actor better known for his roles in A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander or A Knight’s Tale. Vision is a tough one to recognize if you’re not paying much attention to the Marvel films, though Lillis was a huge fan of Paul Bettany’s role as Dustfinger in 2008’s Inkheart. The movie came out at the perfect time for Lillis to fall in love with it, and just look at how Bettany appeared in that movie:
Yep, that character is certified childhood crush territory. Paul Bettany looks like he’s channeling Lord of the Rings’ Aragorn, except he’s got a ferret on his shoulder, which only ups the adorable factor. Of course, this stuck with Sophia Lillis and, honestly, why aren’t more people talking about Inkheart? If she remembered him, chances are there’s a good segment of that generation that remembers the actor for the same role.
Headlined by Brendan Fraser, Inkheart was an adaptation of a YA fantasy novel, which bombed at the box office when it made $62 million worldwide on a budget of $60 million and was struck with largely negative reviews. On the flipside, Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis’ new movie, Uncle Frank, has received rave reviews and is skipping the box office for a straight-to-streaming Amazon Prime release.
Uncle Frank is about a teen named Beth (Sophia Lillis) who goes with her gay uncle (Paul Bettany) on a road trip from New York to his homophobic family in South Carolina to attend a funeral. Paul Bettany and Uncle Frank writer/director Alan Ball recently spoke with CinemaBlend’s ReelBlend podcast, which is available to listen to now. Aside from the release of Uncle Frank, Paul Bettany will soon reprise his role as Vision for the Disney+ series Wandavision, which will hit the streaming platform on January 15.