Lia McHugh — The Brilliant Young Actor Bringing Sprite To The MCU!

“Lia McHugh: Sprite… she’s like an old lady who’s tired of life and wants it to be done. And I think, throughout the movie all the way up until the very end, you really get to know this character.”

Check out our interview with #Eternals actor Lia McHugh!

Back in 2019, it was announced that Lia McHugh would be joining the MCU and bringing to life the Eternal, Sprite, and become the youngest actor to have a lead role in a Marvel movie! So when we heard that we not only had the pleasure of being invited to catch an early screening of Marvel’s Eternals but also interview one of the cast, we knew we had to chat with her. So please scroll down and check out our chat with Lia McHugh and her journey into becoming Sprite!

Lia McHugh in Eternals
Lia McHugh arrives at the Premiere of Marvel Studios’ Eternals in Hollywood, CA, on Monday, October 18, 2021 (Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Keshav Kant
Hey Lia! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us; before we hop into the interview, I’m sure I’ve got questions you’ve already answered, so please don’t mind them.

Lia McHugh
Hi! It’s my pleasure, and don’t worry! You’re not the only one who’s had them.

Keshav Kant
I’m sure, I mean, I saw the movie yesterday. So I will say that you did a fantastic job. You as Sprite, and Kit Harrington, you both were my favourite characters in the movie, so I’m sure you’ve had people ask a lot of the same things because they felt the same way.

Lia McHugh
I love Kit. Oh, that’s so cool. Thank you!

Keshav Kant
Of course! Okay, so let’s jump right in. We just touched on it really quickly before I started recording. But how are you feeling about, you know, joining one of the largest franchises in the world?

Lia McHugh
It’s… it hits you differently as it goes on. Like when I got the part, boom, then with like the table read. When we started shooting, when it was over, when next we’re doing press and the premiere, I don’t know if I will fully comprehend all of this until the movie comes out. But it’s insane. Like, I’m an action figure. I’m a Lego. I’m on, like, boys underwear at Target. It’s ridiculous!

Keshav Kant
Yeah. I mean, honestly, it’s a little overwhelming to think about, but also, given the fact that you are, and I’m pretty sure I did my research correctly. You are the youngest cast member to join one of the Marvel movies…

Lia McHugh
Yes, I am!

Keshav Kant
and in a lead role! But you’re also one of the like younger class of Marvel Heroes to come up, with Kamala Khan coming in soon. And then, hopefully, we’ll see the Young Avengers in a couple of years. So, what is that like for you? You’re basically joining all of these big names who have already been acting for ages now. You have had a couple of movies out yourself. So what’s that like for you?

Lia McHugh
I mean, I’m so honoured to be able to, like, come into the MCU. I mean, I dreamed a lot as a kid, and I still do, but I never imagined in a million years I could ever be a Marvel superhero, especially as a kid, because that’s, you know, never happened before. So it’s an honour and so special that I get to, you know, represent the kids of the world. But, you know, I grew up watching the MCU; there has never been a kid superhero. So I think that’s so special that I get to be that, you know, kid that people maybe dress up for Halloween.

Keshav Kant
Yeah, that’s really true. Like I have seen, a couple of my friends already talked about how they’re hoping to get their hands on Sprite costumes and stuff for Comic-Con for their son, like next year. But, yeah, it’s really amazing to see kids joining the MCU. Especially because, you know, Marvel started as a thing for kids to see superheroes and regular people doing amazing things. And Sprite is specifically… Sprite is a pretty unique character that way, being 1000s of years old but still looks like a kid and has that very youthful, childish personality. So what was playing Sprite like for you, having to like balance both that very ancient personality with that very, like trickster energy?

Lia McHugh
Well, I’ve been on many movie sets and worked with adults, like a lot of my life. I mean, some of my really good friends are adults that I’ve worked with. So I feel that I understand like the grown-up-ness and like, the maturity. I feel a lot older than I am. I think I’ve grown up a little bit more than most kids my age. And you know, I have a really big family and, you know, they keep me grounded, you know, keep me normal. So I feel like I was able to bring that like, almost like childlike-ness to the character while also being, you know, 1000s of years old and very mature.

Keshav Kant
Yeah. And honestly, you did a very wonderful job with that! I’m sure I’m gonna have to try and reword this later. But there’s a scene in the movie where Sprite is basically acting as this storyteller. She’s using her powers to show the people all the things that the Eternals have been doing. That scene really stuck out to me because you can see the balance between like this really wise storyteller. This person has seen a million things. But they still have this childlike wonder to them, and they want to share those stories with the world. So that was really beautiful to see on screen.

Lia McHugh in Eternals
Lia McHugh as Sprite in Eternals
Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Lia McHugh
Thank you! There’s like a lot to Sprite. You know, the character has a really big arc to her story. She struggles with a lot internally, and I think going back and forth throughout time helps you really understand her, and a big part of who she is, is telling stories and carrying that on. It was so cool to think about it as if she were real, like everything in our history books and everything you know has ever been written from history is all like been carried on by Sprite. And I thought that was really cool to think about as like that I, you know, did that as we were filming the movie.

Keshav Kant
Yeah, it really was, especially because the movie throws in hints here and there like, “Oh, like this myth was because Sprite started it”, so that was really cool to see.

We touched on it really briefly, like how there’s a lot more to Sprite than first meets the eye, and obviously, I can’t share the specifics. But there are things that Sprite hides from the other Eternals because she feels like they don’t understand that. So what was that like for you, working to portray that very reserved feeling on screen?

Lia McHugh
Yeah, I mean, Sprite… she is like an old lady who’s tired of life and wants it to be done. And I think that throughout the movie all the way up until the very end, you really get to know this character. And she reveals a lot of changes she’s undergone, all these different things about herself that the others don’t even seem to pick up on. I mean, as you can imagine, I feel like I change every year as I grow, and I’m different. And, you know, like, mentally and physically, you know?

As adults can say like, they learned so much throughout all their lives. And if you could imagine, like, 7000 years of existence, like how, like, what you would be struggling with or like things that you would be feeling. So it’s just; it’s fascinating to like, think about and ponder.

Keshav Kant
Absolutely! And like you said, even as a person right now, you’ve shifted from like, year to year, even month to month, we’d grow when it was first announced that you were be joining the cast of Eternals. I think that was in the 2019 Comic-Con? Between now and like when you joined, when you learned that you would be joining the cast, become a part of the movies. And now, in the post-panini world, everything’s changed. What has been the biggest shift for you?

Lia McHugh in Eternals
Lia McHugh speaking at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International for “Eternals.”

Lia McHugh
I mean, so much, I went from 4’11 to 5’3. I’m so different now than I was then; I’ve grown a lot. Even as an actor, and I feel like with every movie I do, I’m so different just because of every experience I have, and I grow so much from them. And I learned so much from shooting Eternals and being a part of that movie. And, you know, I’m excited to do more.

Keshav Kant
Definitely, definitely. Okay, really quickly, because you mentioned that you know that you learn more from movie to movie, which helps you evolve. When I was doing a little bit of research, I saw that you’re a pretty big horror buff. You’ve done many of the projects you worked on were like more horror, a little darker. What was that transition, like going from horror to hero?

Lia McHugh
Well, I don’t necessarily choose movies because they’re horror. I like the drama aspect and the emotional aspect of it. I like making the audience, you know, feel something. And I like having to understand characters.

I’ve been through a lot and have had different types of emotions that I haven’t experienced myself, that I’d like to sort of like, learn about and portray to the audience. So I feel like the drama in horror movies is similar to like regular drama and superhero movies. But I think the big difference was honestly just like the scale. It felt like going from zero to 100. You know, being on such a huge Marvel movie of sudden.

Keshav Kant
Mm-hmm. Honestly, yeah. I mean, I can’t even imagine that shift in itself, but you did it beautifully. So like before, I like to wrap up; I have two final questions. What are some things you’d like to see from your future in the MCU, and like Sprite in general?

Lia McHugh
I, I can’t really say I’ve got no idea. But I mean, I would love to see her in the future.

Keshav Kant
Okay, um, obviously, we can’t give spoilers for Eternals. We can’t get into specifics. If you could, if you were in the driver’s seat, if you had like Kevin Feige asking you. What are some characters you would love to like, interact with within the MCU?

Lia McHugh
Okay, so I would love to work with the Punisher, Jon Bernthal. I love him. I would love to work with Spider-Man, Thor and Loki. Those are probably my favourite characters.

Keshav Kant
Honestly, Sprite and Loki would be an amazing thing to watch. Okay, I think that’s it for me! But, before I let you go, is there anything you wanted to mention to our followers, the audience going to be checking out the movie this weekend?

Lia McHugh
Yes! See Eternals, and stay all the way to the very end. So even if you think it’s over, it’s not until the very end!

Keshav Kant
Yes, everyone, make sure you stay for both of the credit scenes! You’ll definitely want to check out both of them. Again, Lia, thank you so much for taking the time; it was a pleasure talking to you!

Lia McHugh
Oh, it’s nice talking to you, thank you!

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