Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Rachel Weisz maintains MCU discipline, but Jimmy Kimmel spills a Black Widow secret

Jimmy Kimmel, Rachel Weisz
Jimmy Kimmel, Rachel Weisz
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Rachel Weisz wasn’t exactly gloating that her super-spy tentpole film is finally hitting screens before her husband’s also COVID-delayed super-spy tentpole film, on Wednesday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. But, she wasn’t not happy that her entry in the impatiently backlogged major franchise flick steeplechase is beating hubby Daniel Craig’s fifth and reportedly final outing as James Bond to the world’s tentatively reopening theaters. Weisz told Kimmel about the top secret Zoom meeting earlier in the pandemic, when the Marvel brain trust were contemplating whether Black Widow should or should not go head-to-head with No Time To Die whenever the world allowed, explaining that all the sweaty marketing talk kept mentioning that Bond guy without ever acknowledging that Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig are not only married, but that the wily Craig was eavesdropping just off camera.

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That’s a super-spy for you. As Weisz noted, however, her espionage expert will be strutting her stuff months ahead of her husband’s little project, as not even Bond (or his Universal-MGM superiors) want to take on the MCU. (Black Widow comes out in theaters and select streaming on July 9th, while Weisz hand-waved that No Time To Die isn’t coming to American screens until October. Cowards.) In Black Widow, Weisz is playing one of the Black Widows, the deadly Russian spy-assassin squad from whom Scarlett Johansson’s Avenger swiped her superhero name when she went solo. Describing her character as both a master spy and scientist, Weisz held to the no-doubt draconian Marvel code of silence concerning much else, something Kimmel couldn’t help but violate right up front in his introduction.

Telling his still COVID-sparse in-studio crowd that The Favourite star is playing one Melina [last name redacted], Kimmel plowed right on ahead, not redacting anything, assuming that the character’s surname couldn’t possibly be a spoiler-laden plot device. Apparently it might be, though, as Weisz half-feigned shock that Kimmel had broken the ever-ironclad late-night chit-chat rules surrounding all MCU plot details, no matter how seemingly insignificant. It’s “Vostokoff,” because Marvel’s not the boss of us. Also, the name is readily available on the film’s Wikipedia page, so it’s not clear what the fuss is about, unless anyone checks out the comics’ version’s backstory. (That thing is wild.) Regardless, Weisz herself, sipping a cocktail in the wifi-equipped basement of her family’s Brooklyn home, did have to admit that she’s not super sure what she can and cannot say about the superheroic prequel since she “lost the list” of forbidden phrases, twists, and apparently last names she can’t say. So, if you’re in Brooklyn, watch out for a loose piece of Marvel stationery.

Oscar-winner Weisz did note that, her own dapper, in-house secret agent notwithstanding, she shares her Black Widow character’s carnal obsession with co-star David Harbour, who’s playing the past-his-prime Soviet-era hero, Red Guardian. Even if she wasn’t on board with Harbour’s scuttled initial plan to learn and speak Russian for the film (instead of American-friendly Russian-accented Hollywood-speak), the now confirmed Melina Vostokoff told Kimmel warmly of co-star Harbour (and his pot-bellied superhero alter ego), “I’d take him any which way.” Take that, Bond.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.