Atlanta actress Gabrielle Byndloss enters Marvel Cinematic Universe with small role

Atlanta actress Gabrielle Byndloss plays Olivia Walker, the supportive wife of the "new" Captain America (Wyatt Russell) in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," a new Disney+ series shot in Georgia. DISNEY+
Atlanta actress Gabrielle Byndloss plays Olivia Walker, the supportive wife of the "new" Captain America (Wyatt Russell) in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," a new Disney+ series shot in Georgia. DISNEY+

Credit: DISNEY+

Credit: DISNEY+

She will be in ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ as the supportive wife of the ‘new’ Captain America

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is expansive and involves plenty of big names in lights: Tony Stark. Black Panther. Thor. Black Widow.

But every film or TV series needs secondary and support characters, golden opportunities for up-and-coming actors to build their resumés. Atlanta actress Gabrielle Byndloss was fortunate enough to nab a supporting role in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” the second Atlanta-produced Disney+ TV offering after the well-received “WandaVision.”

Byndloss plays Olivia Walker, the supportive wife of John Walker, a man selected to fill the shoes of Steve Rogers’ dead Captain America as the “new” Captain America. “The Cap Is Back!” one poster proclaims. John Walker is played by Wyatt Russell, last seen as a California slacker type in AMC’s “Lodge 49,” also shot in Atlanta. Now, he’s a decorated soldier selected to be America’s latest “hero” who wants to make people feel safe.

Olivia shows up early in episode two in the locker room of his high school and provides John a few kind words as he deals with his own nervousness before seeing his old classmates. She is later seen cheering him on in the stands while “Good Morning America” interviews him.

Her character doesn’t show up in episode three, and she can’t say if or how she will appear in the final five episodes.

Byndloss, who graduated Harrison High School in Kennesaw and Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, said she came into the audition only knowing it was related to the Marvel universe in some way, and she would play a “wife.” She had no clue what show or who she would be married to. She didn’t know how many episodes she would be in. What she read during the audition was not related to “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”

This is standard Marvel secrecy. She said she even ghosted her family during auditions just to be safe. Once she did get the role, she had to sign non-disclosure agreements galore and only told her fiancé what the job was. Otherwise, she stayed mum until the show debuted last month. “This was my biggest role to date,” she said. “I was very scared.”

Byndloss recalled she skipped an out-of-town wedding to shoot the series, and her fiancé gleefully had to be super mysterious about her sudden absence.

Even on set, she said she was only given scenes she was connected with. She had to talk to others around her to piece together what the Falcon (Sam Wilson as played by Anthony Mackie) or the Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes as played by Sebastian Sam) might be doing.

In a weird sense, she said the lack of information allowed her to be in the moment with her character, that she only cared about her husband and nothing else in the MCU.

She only crossed paths with Mackie by happenstance when she was trying to pull open a door at the same time as Mackie on the other side. She said he introduced himself and was super friendly to her.

Byndloss is the type of actor who would have been forced to move to Los Angeles a decade ago to get enough work. But she was able to stay in Atlanta the past few years and book jobs on shows such as “The Vampire Diaries,” “Halt and Catch Fire,” “Good Girls” and “Ozark.” Sometimes, her roles were so modest, she didn’t even get a name e.g. “female student,” “young wife,” and “nurse.”

But she kept grinding away, making sure the local casting directors got to know her and trust her. She was on time and did her job because the worst thing for an actor at her level is negative feedback from the director or producers coming back to the casting agents.

So when the “wife” role came up, the casting agents called her to audition, and she was game. “You build relationships with these casting agents, and you trust they’re not going to put you into something beneath what you can do,” she said.

Plus, she knew that even if this particular MCU role didn’t work out, they might consider you for other Disney+ series ― and there are many coming down the pike. So getting in the door was crucial.

Atlanta actress Gabrielle Byndloss has a small role in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" on Disney+. TARA GULLEDGE PHOTOGRAPHY
Atlanta actress Gabrielle Byndloss has a small role in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" on Disney+. TARA GULLEDGE PHOTOGRAPHY

Credit: TARA GULLEDGE PHOTOGRAPH

Credit: TARA GULLEDGE PHOTOGRAPH

Byndloss is multi-racial. Her parents are both mixed-race, and she has a blend of European, African and Native American ancestry.

She grew up in Acworth and felt like an outsider in a predominantly white school until she joined drama club junior year. “They accepted me immediately,” she said, and she was hooked. She majored in theater, then jumped into acting as a career after college.

The fact her character is married to this “new” Captain America, who is white, she believes is not random.

“I don’t think this was blind casting,” she said. “Everything is planned in the MCU. It seems 100% intentional to me. It does mean a lot to me personally as a child of an interracial family.”

“I like that the issue of race is addressed in this series,” she added. “They have this giant platform of 100 million subscribers on Disney+. They can speak to what’s happening in this world and take on difficult issues. This particular series is grounded in some sense of reality. The future of America looks like me. It’s a melting pot. It makes sense I’m married to Captain America.”

WHERE TO WATCH

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” available on Disney +

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