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‘Madame Web’ Star Isabela Merced on Filming ‘The Last of Us’ and Playing Hawkgirl in ‘Superman: Legacy’ at the Same Time


In “Madame Web,” Isabela Merced stars as Anya Corazon, a teenager who learns she’ll one day develop spider-like superpowers. But given Merced’s incredibly busy production schedule over the next few months, she might want to look into the power of teleportation.

On Monday night, Merced posed on the black carpet outside the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood with “Madame Web” stars Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney and Celeste O’Connor for the world premiere of Sony and Marvel’s superhero movie. And on Tuesday, she’ll hop a flight to Vancouver, Canada, to begin work on HBO’s “The Last of Us,” where she joins the cast of the Emmy-winning series as Dina.

“I’ve already gotten a taste,” Merced said about joining “The Last of Us” crew for Season 2. She was already on set for production “Day Zero,” which comes before the official start of shooting. “That was just me and Bella [Ramsey] the whole day, and then Craig Mazin was directing. He is phenomenal. I am a huge fan. Like, we geek out about a lot of things. I taught them how to play spades. We had just the best time. I’m excited to get back there — I’m going back there tomorrow.”

Then in March, she’ll start playing two characters at once when production begins on “Superman: Legacy” in Atlanta, Ga., where she’ll assume the mantle of DC’s Hawkgirl for James Gunn. With “Madame Web” already under her belt, Merced has become part of an elite group of actors who’ve starred in both Marvel and DC projects. She’s already done all of her fittings for the DC character’s suit and tried on her signature helmet.

“The paint job is impeccable,” Merced declared. “I hope they finalized it — I don’t know. You never know with James Gunn, he could always change his mind last minute, and we would respect him for that.”

And playing a superhero twice comes with a few advantages. For example, “Madame Web” got Merced into the habit of going to the gym four times a week and working in a bit of boxing into her routine. “Preparing yourself physically is as important as preparing yourself mentally,” she said.

Plus, she already knows what does and doesn’t work about a supersuit: “I need a little extra space in the in the butt area. Otherwise, you’re gonna get wedgies all day.”

But for now, Merced is focused on spending one last night celebrating with her Spider-girls — Johnson, Sweeney and O’Connor — especially given how fulfilling it’s been to play a rare Latina superhero.

“I look at my nieces, I look at my little cousins, and this idea they have of me. I just feel like as long as I carry myself in a great way and do my absolute best, in an authentic way, I can be somewhat of a role model,” Merced said. “That sounds weird to say, but I hope so. I’ve just gotta do my best because then Hollywood will realize we can keep giving these Latinos opportunities and then more will be able to do it.”

Celeste O’Connor, Sydney Sweeney, Dakota Johnson and Isabela Merced at the world premiere of “Madame Web” held at Regency Village Theatre on February 12 in Los Angeles.
Michael Buckner for Variety