“From the moment we received her audition video, we knew it was her. She was almost destined to play this role”, tell us the two directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
Don’t wonder where else you saw it. The answer is nowhere! When she was cast to play Miss Marvelin September 2020, Iman Vellani was a real novice. A total beginner. She was just 18 at the time (she’ll be 20 this year) and hadn’t acted in anything yet. Not a series. Not a soap opera. Not a movie. Nothing.
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And yet, she immediately caught the eye of the producers and in particular of the co-creator of the original comics, Sana Amanat. In the middle of COVID, during a Zoom audition, the teenager first showed that she was, herself, a big fan of Marvel: “She showed me every corner of her room, and it was covered in Avengers posters and photos. Then she opened her closet and there was even more Marvel everywhere !” says Amanat with a smile in Empire.
Kamala Khan isn’t quite a composition role for Iman Vellani, who shares a lot of similarities with his character. Like the young heroine of Miss Marvel, she was born in Pakistan (in Karachi), of Ismaili Muslim parents, before leaving to live in North America. She landed in Canada at the age of 1, growing up in North American culture until graduating from Unionville High School in the Regional Municipality of York.
Then she applied for the job of Miss Marveland his life changed! “From the moment we received her audition video, we knew it was her. She was almost destined to play this role. Her personal story is so close to Kamala Kahn. She too grew up torn between his Pakistani origins and life in Canada”, entrust to Première the two directors of Miss MarvelAdil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
Above all, the Belgian filmmaking duo confirms that the young Iman is also “a die-hard MCU fan” like his character who worships Captain Marvel in the series: “She knows absolutely everything about Marvel. She’s an expert. Kevin Feige is her idol. Iron Man is her favorite movie.”
Iman Vellani was almost born to play this role, and the two directors still can’t believe it: “It was crazy to see how much her story parallels Kamala’s. I had chills when I saw her for the first time. She brings so much authenticity to the character, this sparkling, charming, quirky, adorable little side. She frankly managed to elevate the role. And watching that was crazy. To see a young girl who has never played in her life achieve such a thing, it was crazy.”
Beyond Marvel, Iman Vellani is also passionate about the 7th art. She first shot a short film, PUSHthen was selected as a member of the TIFF Next Wave committee at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. “She’s also a real movie buff. She knows all about movies and how to make them. She’s not just an actress, she’s also a budding filmmaker“, specify Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Moreover, Iman had then planned to enroll in the Ontario College of Art & Design University … but instead she will become a Marvel star.
“We are really lucky as filmmakers to have been able to stage a girl like Iman Vellani. She’s just amazing.”