It’s time for one last adventure with Indiana Jones, and a few new faces are joining our favorite archaeologist, including Shaunette Renee Wilsonis Agent Mason.
Wilson, 33, said exclusively We Weekly that she was “definitely” an Indy fan (Harrison Ford) long before landing her starring role in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fatewhich hits theaters on Friday, June 30. “I think my first engagement with him was when I was a kid watching [with] my father and my brother. We were [an] immigrant family, and it was a good introduction to American cinema and a bit of American culture,” she shared. “And it was really fantastic to see this kind of anti-hero who, you know, gropes and gets hurt – it’s not that perfect or immaculate – was really, really unique and interesting.”
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate resumes in 1969 in the middle of the moon landing. Indy teaches college in New York and has settled into his life as a solitary professor of archeology on the verge of retirement. When his goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller Bridge) comes to ask her about Archimedes’ legendary dial, which can locate cracks in time, it becomes clear that she’s not a little girl but a trickster – and she’s not the only one who wants the dial.
Meanwhile, Mason is one of the US government agents working with Dr. Schmidt, aka Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelson), a Nazi scientist who is also after the dial. “She works with Dr. Schmidt, who was one of the scientists who helped Americans cross the moon,” Wilson explained. “So in a bit of a quid pro quo, we’re after that, he asked for this dial. We have no idea what power he has or why he wants it, but we’ll do our best to get it for him. …and things get a little out of hand from there.
Mason gets much more than she bargained for by following Dr. Schmidt without any knowledge of his Nazi loyalty.
Behind the scenes, Wilson got more than she bargained for in the best ways while filming the movie, including forging a friendship with Waller-Bridge. “With someone of his caliber, [she provided] even a little mentorship with me, and yeah, [it was] really, really special,” Wilson gushed. “I don’t think this experience would have been as amazing as it was without her.”
Scroll down to learn more about Wilson:
We Weekly: Can you tell me a bit about your character and how she met Indiana Jones?
Shaunette Renee Wilson: My character is Agent Mason. She’s a representative of the US government – whether she’s from the CIA [or] The FBI is a bit ambiguous. She works with Dr. Schmidt, who was one of the scientists who helped Americans cross the moon. So in a bit of a quid pro quo we’re after that he asked for this dial. We have no idea what his power is or why he wants it, but we’ll do our best to get it for him. And, unfortunately, the person we’re tracking who has the dial is Mrs. Shaw. And [she] takes us to Indiana Jones. And I meet him as Dr. Jones. He’s a professor at Hunter College, and things get a little out of control from there.
We: We have to talk about fashion. Did you enjoy stepping into this vintage look? Were you able to collaborate on creating this look or anything?
Wilson: Oh, I certainly did. My mood board was just covered in Pam Grier and Foxy Brown and Cleopatra [Jones]. It was the blaxploitation era of the 1960s. [The look is a] nice tribute to all this. We first started with a little smaller. I mean, the attention to detail in this character’s look was impeccable. All the producers were in the room, and it was just really dedicated to making sure it was portrayed properly. Yeah the ‘fro started off pretty tight and kind of tapered off and then we just kept growing and growing and like, if we wanna make a fair statement, you know, go big or go home and that’s what we have done.
We: Did you and Phoebe Waller-Bridge have fun on this set?
Wilson: Oh yeah. I mean, just on that fact, we were the only two women to shoot at that time. We just gelled so beautifully and held each other, looking at each other, knowing that we’re just the two of us – but also as artists, as people in the trades who love this that we do. And I was such a fan of her, obviously, Fleabag. I was so delighted to see his humanity and generosity. She’s such a beautiful soul. I think we really, really connected, taking great trips to Edinburgh together, doing little visits together, hanging out in Glasgow. We are the girls of Glasgow until we die! She was just really, really, really special. With someone of his caliber, [she provided] even a little mentorship with me and yeah, [it was] just really, really special. I don’t think this experience would have been as amazing as it was without her.
We: Did she give you any particular advice that stood out to you?
Wilson: Yeah. She didn’t need it and she’s so busy – she didn’t have time – but she actually read a pilot that I wrote. [Waller-Bridge] gave amazing ratings and talked about the heart of the play and the characters, and [she] was also very complimentary and just went through her process a bit. She told me to write down what scares you. Write down the thing that scares you and also write down what you know, what seems closest to you. Because that’s the real job, [it] takes something personal and fictionalizes it and makes it something that concerns everyone. Yeah, and just literally day to day [routine], to keep lightness, to keep humor, but also just sincerity and deep emotionality. Yeah, I’m really fangirling in a lot of ways, but she’s really honestly just a really sincere person.
We: What was your best memory of the shooting of this film?
Wilson: I think it was in Glasgow. We blocked off long blocks [to] reimagining, reinventing a New York from 1969. I’m from New York, so it was really cool to be transported back in time and see familiar things from New York today. Just the energy of the crowd and the people, there was this huge parade, this huge action sequence. [That] was my first day on set. It was really magical and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m here. I am part of this story”, and I am there. And in the plot, I’m at a point where things are really alive. It’s a nice introduction to the era we go through in the film.
We: What was it like working with Harrison Ford?
Wilson: The line I remember he used, when I first heard it, I thought, “That’s amazing. He’s like, ‘Let’s spin this piece of shit.’ [laughs] So, so fantastic and just screaming “Actors ready!” It was really great. He’s a lover of what we do. He’s an actor first and foremost. Sure, the scope of his career is so broad and he has a wealth of experience, but he’s so grounded and present and was with me energetically whether or not the camera was on him. Plus, he’s so funny. His inner child is still in play. He has this dry, deadpan humor, but he’s essentially still a bit of a child, and I think that’s contributed to his longevity.
We: What feeling do you hope fans will leave after finishing this film?
Wilson: I want them to feel inspired, but also to have closure on what has been an impeccably wild ride of a franchise and character, to be able to say goodbye and feel accepted and at peace with it. But also just excited to know that there is still adventure to be had; there is still more to discover. This is the end of this particular franchise. We say goodbye to this character, but for ourselves there is so much more to explore.
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This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.