If you haven’t seen Black Widow or the ongoing Marvel Studios show Hawkeye (which stars Jeremy Renner), then you may be missing out on a character who has become a surprising fan favorite! Yelena Belova is the sassy assassin–and unexpected comic relief–who we first met in the Marvel Studios movie Black Widow as Natasha Romanoff’s sister (she and Natasha were trained together as Black Widow assassins in the Red Room). Yelena is played by the English actress Florence Pugh, who was previously known for her role in Little Women alongside Emma Watson; even though her sister in Black Widow was played by well-known celebrity Scarlett Johansson, Florence still managed to steal the show, and her charisma has struck once again in Hawkeye!
Yelena has appeared in the last two episodes of Hawkeye on Disney+, and her ‘macaroni and cheese’ scene with Kate Bishop (played by Hailee Steinfeld) has gone viral after episode five aired. Yelena and Kate’s comedic chemistry in the scene mixed with Yelena’s cold assassin style to make for an interesting, funny, and overall impressive episode of the new show. In the scene, Yelena sneaks into Kate’s New York City apartment to question her about Clint’s whereabouts…then decides to make it a “girls’ night” by sharing some cheesy pasta with optional hot sauce.
According to Hailee herself, it was “really amazing and interesting seeing Florence come in having spent more time with her character”. The actress shared that she “was so excited and so incredibly impressed by [Florence] coming in and onto the set and just creating this space for the two of us to just sort of run…We’re playing these two incredibly strong-willed young female characters who are capable of a lot, and it was just amazing to see us work through the writing and find the truth in all of it.”
The Hawkeye directors were also impressed by the way that Florence’s presence and confidence (and the fact that “she’s…crazy”) managed to come across in Yelena. Yelena’s comedic lines about her “cool” vest and Natasha’s superhero poses in Black Widow were additional gems that endeared her to audiences!
The crux of the Hawkeye plot is of course that Yelena’s mission to kill Clint Barton (also known as Hawkeye) stems from the manipulations of Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, a Marvel villain played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Even though Hailee said that the ‘macaroni and cheese’ scene was “incredibly fun and the banter is fresh and witty,” there is “pain and determination lurking beneath the surface”. Time will tell how this manifests itself on the show!
Are you a Marvel fan who is pleased about Yelena Belova’s addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and have you watched the most recent Hawkeye episode?