When we got the chance to meet with Marvel Studios’ EVP of Physical Production & AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Executive Producer Victoria Alonso, I expected a lot of talk about the film she had just seen on the big screen with us and nearly 4000 others in the Dolby Theater on premiere night. Alonso was there to introduce the blockbuster ($650 million worldwide and counting) along with the key cast and crew. She mentioned she had a very late night with little sleep (much like everyone else in the room), so emotions were heightened.
She turned it on us just a bit with a frank and intimate conversation about being a mother raising a daughter with her wife Imelda.
Alonso has an impressive track record in entertainment. She began her career in Visual Production, working several films until Marvel knocked on her door in 2008 when she was the co-producer and visual effects producer of Iron Man, the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since then she has been billed as Co-Producer and then Executive Producer on every Marvel film. In 2015 she was promoted to EVP of Physical Production, a title that is well-deserved.
“I’ve been here for a long time. I’m one of the three founding members, if you would. Louis (D’Esposito), Kevin, and I started this in about two-thousand and — late 2005. 2006. Lou and I worked together before. And this movie behind us, well, the one that you saw last night is my 18th that is out in the world. And we have 23 in the works. So, five more that are there.”
Those five are either confirmed or rumored to be:
- Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6 2018
- Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019
- Untitled Avengers Film (assumed to be the continuation of Infinity War) – May 3, 2019
- Black Widow – 2020(?) This film has not been formally announced
- Guardians of the Galaxy 3 – probably 2020 according to director James Gunn
There is also talk about a new stand-alone Spider-Man film.
But enough about Marvel. We ended up having an in-depth conversation about motherhood.
Maybe it was the lack of sleep. Maybe, because we were a big group of mothers missing their children at that moment the emotions that we all felt about love and loss in Infinity War got to us all. Victoria didn’t necessarily want to talk about the pieces of information that we could just Google. She wanted to talk about the impact of being a working mother has on her daughter, and how we as working mothers balance it all (or at least try to).
“My little girl is so proud. She’s seen the Guardians films and Spider-Man Homecoming and Ant-Man but nothing else, because she’s been quite little. She’s about to turn eight. And she hasn’t seen Black Panther, but she has heard me talk about it and what it has meant to me. I don’t talk about what the movies are but what it has meant to me as a career. She said to me yesterday, “since you made Black Panther, I’m like a really popular kid.” She laughed as she went on…
“I said, “oh, that’s…I guess that’s great”. Because I go to their school and I do sort of like a career day. I’ve done the career day and then the teachers this year invited me to do a changemaker thing, which was a big deal. And then she repeated for about — I don’t know — five weeks out loud, my mommy’s a changemaker. My mommy’s a changemaker.”
She doesn’t see herself as a changemaker, but she most definitely is.
She related the feelings her daughter has for her to her own mother, a strong and confident woman who saved Victoria and her sister from a violent upbringing in politically torn Argentina. Victoria sees her mother as her hero.
I grew in Argentina in a military dictatorship where things were not easy, or there was a lot of activity. People were getting taken away and killed. My father died when I was six and my mother never remarried. She was a high official in the ministry of education, and she kept us safe. She kept us strong. She kept us open-minded. My mom had it going on. She’s a strong, strong girl. And she never took anything from anybody, not the military, not no one.
My mom’s the woman that was left on the road bleeding with me on her hands for not saying something some – during that time, there were different groups, political groups, that will come and force you to say thing. And these thugs came and beat her and left her for dead on the street – I’ve never told this story before – with me in her arms. I was a baby. When she regained consciousness she got up and took us and off we went.
It’s her mother as a role model that has brought Victoria to where she is today – Executive Producer of the highest grossing film in history (opening weekend), something that she is incredibly proud of. Seeing the film for the first time on the big screen was incredible. She had seen it so many times with a critical eye, but seeing the emotion a superhero film invoked onto its audience was something she loved.
The cast hadn’t yet seen the film, so when I asked her about the reactions she saw after the world premiere she said she was nervous for the first time in her career about how the audience would take the film. She wants her audience to feel something – whether it’s a laugh, a cry, some sort of emotion. [Redacted] walked out of the theater during a specifically emotional scene at the premiere, a scene we as an audience will not forget for a long, long time.
When she walked down the tunnel at the premiere and set her eyes on the costumes and props that lined the walkway, she was in awe.
“Imelda said to me – you had a hand in every single one of these things. And I thought, yeah.” It’s not just Avengers: Infinity War; it’s a culmination of 13 years with Marvel Studios that brought her where she was at that very moment – looking at the piece as a whole like a mother looks at her child. Scared, proud, and so happy.
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now.
*thank you to Disney and Marvel for providing this all expense paid trip to Los Angeles to facilitate this interview. All opinions are my own.