This week in theater, the two gorgeous, bad-ass, blondies, Emily Browning and Abbie Cornish will be leading the way and battling their demons (literally) in Zack Snyder’s (read interview) latest action-adventure, Sucker Punch. In a film filled with women, you’d expect there to be some cattiness, but not with these fine ladies, there was more likely to be group wolf cries than bitchiness. Not only did they take their roles seriously, but also their bond with one another and it shows on screen.
We sat down with them to talk about bringing their deep-seeded characters to the big screen, working with Snyder and the other ladies, and some of the interesting on set special effects, which includes poor Emily Browning trying not to laugh when she was battling a “dragon” that she states below looked more like a “giant green dildo.” Find out the details below…
It’s nice to see so many women on screen and cattiness not be an issue especially consider the young teenage women who will see this film. Can you talk about the importance of that message?
Emily Browning: That was a huge role for me because even in the original version of the script I was just so impressed by the fact that these girls love one another and they’re fighting together. When our characters sort of butt heads at the beginning, it’s not over anything petty. It never becomes bitchy or catty, it’s kind of, the just genuinely disagreeing of something, and the fact that they sort it out, I think is fantastic.
I’m not really a fan of that culture of girl hate and that idea that women can’t get along, I think that’s completely bullshit to be honest and I think that’s, I don’t want to get too psycho-feminist on everybody and say that it’s just something that’s perpetuated by a fellow-centric society to make us not able to band together but anyway, that’s just something that I, I don’t know, I really like that about this film and I think that’s important, and something hopefully that we can see more of.
And even when it comes to us as actors, everyone is sort of assumes, oh five girls working together, you must’ve hated each other, and honestly, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We had the best time and have become like family. I can talk about that question for an hour…
And Abbie, how about your character that has to fight with the other girls?
Abbie Cornish:I felt like I had a hard role to play in regards to that because all of us did bond so fast and we all love and cared for each other so much from the very beginning. I had the one character that is the opposing side to this whole excitement about freedom and getting out. I had to play this kind of tough hardcore role, that stood up and said, “No this is not a good idea, I don’t think we should do this.” I was a Sweet Pea in regards to a sister — very controlling. This fear, this feeling that something bad might happen. So, we’re all there having an awesome time in between takes and then I have to go and be tough old Sweet Pea, you know. It all comes from a good place. That was actually, where I found it, where it came from. This kind of love and care for Rocket; the intensity of what this means, and what’s going to happen.
….And then I just had to make a decision. This is the direction I’m going to go in. This is how I’ve got to play this character in order to really work because if I sit and try to mix all the sensitivities of the real world in with this, I’m going to be confused as an actor when I walk on set. So that was a journey for me with Sweet Pea, and I just had to trust too the bookends of the film that you do get moments as an audience member to see her in her most rawest, pure, real state even though the film goes off into a fantasy and it goes off into a dream world, that there’s glimpses of it in there but you also get a good taste of what that is.
One of the interesting things that I find about your characters is that with Baby Doll, she’s finding strength in her vulnerability, and with Sweet Pea, she’s finding vulnerability in her strength. Could you talk about the journey towards uncovering that in your characters?
EB: Yeah I haven’t thought about in that way before, that’s certainly cool –
AC: The mirror thing too because the two characters, it’s interesting, the very beginning of the film, when they look at each other from across the room. Sweet Pea is up on the stage, Baby Doll is there, for me that was incredibly important moment in regards to the story line between them. It’s not long after that when she shifting to a different world and what that connection meant and what those reflections were within each other.
EB: I think there’s sort of two sides of the one coin, so it’s interesting that you say it’s sort of the reversal because that’s how we wanted to play it. I think that’s kind of made obvious in the film to some degree. When Sweet Pea takes off the wig, I think that you can see that they’re the reversal of one another… I kind of see all of the characters as different projections from Baby Doll’s mind. It’s her fighting against herself, in a strange way…
AC: Definitely, I was fascinated by that journey. Sweet Pea’s journey, really was. It’s such a wonderful journey. I think both of them actually. It’s interesting both of those journeys were beautiful ones to explore.
Earlier this week I spoke with Neil Burger about Limitless and he said that you were a natural athlete. He was really impressed with your athletic ability. What was the training like this for you? Was it a challenge of natural for you?
AC: I loved it. I think of course it’s going to be a challenge because there’s things that I was doing that I’ve never done before. I totally embraced it. For a while I actually wanted to do a film where I could train, a film where I could be very physical in a role. I was waiting for one to come along, and then this one came along and it’s so perfect because I had that, but there was also really solid storyline and a really interesting different film there. I hope to do more films where I get to run around and jump and you know train, and climb things.
When it comes to working on set, we had Hudgens, Malone, and Chung earlier and they were talking about, they are describing the set with Snyder as kind of like this nice change in temperature. He knew how to set everything right so you guys could get right into that mind set, no matter what fantasy world you were in, could you talk a bit more about that?
EB: I feel like when we were doing the action scenes it was pretty, obviously we had to remain in character but they were pretty purely physical scenes. And what was most important in those scenes, and what was most important in those scenes — cause you know we had our choreography down, we knew what we had to do — what was most important was that we were in the moment, in that mood. So when we were filming the action Zack Snyder was just in a great mood and he was like, he was always in a great mood, I’ve never seen him in a bad mood in my life, but he was just very playful and we’ll be like throwing the football around and being silly, and just warming ourselves up. We would be all of us, particularly Jena [Malone] would be doing like wolf cries in the corner and like speed push ups to try amp ourselves up.
AC: He’s such an aware director. So responsive. He has the mind of a genius, I really do. It’s kind of incredible. He — as a director, as a filmmaker, as a technical filmmaker, as a human being, as a storyteller, it’s a wonderful mix to have in a director and as an actor, it’s incredible to work in that environment.
EB: The fact that he’s also one of the loveliest people in the universe is really helpful. It makes you want to work even harder for him. Not only is his vision so amazing and cool and you love his work, he’s also a really, cool, sweet person.
We were talking about the use of real scenery and the special effects that they had to bring in. They told us the dragon was actually a golf cart?
AC: The dragon, the one they wheeled in there, the big one. Oh my gosh, that thing! We had giggle fits for a while when we first walked on set.
EB: The baby dragon was even funnier. It looked like this giant green dildo. I had to like ride it and we just thought, this is the stupidest thing. We were just like laughing, bursting into laughter when we were doing it. Thankfully it doesn’t look like that in the actual film, but…
Do we get to see more of you guys dancing? I love the end credits. I want to see that whole sequence thought.
AC: Yeah that will be one the DVD.
Check out the ladies in Sucker Punch starting March 25th!