A sci-fi world isn’t complete without engaging characters to keep your attention at bay. When director Joseph Kosinski selected the cast for Oblivion, he needed the perfect people for its world. In came Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko, both accomplished actors who have starred in blockbusters before. ScreenCrave recently spoke to the duo about taking part in such a visually stimulating film.
On what attracted them to the project:
Morgan Freeman: Tom Cruise. It’s a Tom Cruise movie, so if I was going to be a truck driver hauling supplies, I would’ve taken the job. I’m one of his huge fans, have been for I don’t know how many years, way way back. I know at this point, I’m not going to be offered a minor role. You compare the script to the movie, they don’t compare, but I was excited about the script. The movie is so much more than what you can read on a page, but it’s a big draw. It’s a big science fiction film with Tom Cruise. It’s hard to go wrong.
Olga Kurylenko: That is what attracted me to the role and what I found very interesting, the fact that there was a mystery to Julia and that I couldn’t reveal everything right away from the very first appearance of hers onscreen. The fact that she had to kind of unravel and uncover her story during the whole film… She’s a completely different thing in the end than what we see her as in the beginning. All of that mystery was interesting to work on.
Olga Kurylenko went on to discuss working with director Joseph Kosinski:
Olga Kurylenko: Well, it’s always work and teamwork. If the team is effective it works. Basically we spoke a lot and with Tom, we would have meetings, just the three of us, and discuss our characters, our character’s back story. We rehearsed. I watched videos of astronaut trainings. I watched some romantic movies, old romantic movies, as preparation and inspiration. It’s kind of a work in process. You grow together.
Both actors answered the inevitable question about working with a star like Cruise:
Morgan Freeman: When we say we want to work together and we were looking for something to do, that’s not an active thing. Whereas that was the case I would’ve been in Mission: Impossible 1, 2 or 3. When the right project comes along, it’s sort of a domino effect. Everything falls in place. I think this was the perfect genre for me to be involved with Tom in. So I no longer resent not having done anything with him before. The first time I saw him was in Risky Business. He was awesome. I mean when his parents walked out of the house and he slid into frame in his jockeys, did that whole thing, it was like this kid is awesome. I don’t know if there’s anything that he has done that I haven’t seen and appreciated since then. I mean, I shouldn’t say since then because I’ve seen stuff that he’s done way before then. He did this fantasy movie Legends. He’s just born to do this. Born to do it.
Olga Kurylenko: He’s very interesting creatively. That was an unexpected thing to see how much he gives. Because he’s of course a big star and he’s a wonderful actor, we know that, but we don’t know, and only his partners and other actors know how he gives to others. I’ve never seen him sit in his trailer. He’ll always be there. If the camera was on me, even if he was far away from my eye line he would prefer to be there. He would never leave the set, even if I told him seriously, I don’t need you, he would still be there because he is involved 100 percent and that’s a wonderful thing. He’s very supportive, of course. He’s done all these stunt scenes before so when I came on set and there was that spin ball, he talked me through it. He knows how it works and it’s very reassuring to have a partner like that. He’s not just an actor who’s there who doesn’t know anything… You feel safe. You feel safe with him.
They also discussed the futuristic technology featured in Oblivion:
Morgan Freeman: I think one of the things that is a stand out in this film is the love story. It’s not like one we’ve seen before, and then there’s the awesome technology. That bubble ship can be remotely controlled. Remember at the point of where he makes it return to base, it’s like really? Yeah. I agree with you in that this is one unlike many we’ve seen, maybe any we’ve seen prior. Very intelligent and extremely creative. Joseph designed these doggone toys. They’re awesome. Those drones are something you can’t even believe, but there they are, believable.
Olga Kurylenko: I did throw up in the beginning of the film, so that was done. I don’t get sick from motion. I don’t care, I can be on a boat and everything, but it was rather… I don’t like it psychologically, being thrown around. I don’t enjoy roller coasters and that was like being in a roller coaster and a washing machine at the same time because it was spinning all the time. I usually don’t like to go into washing machines when I have a choice, but here I didn’t have a choice. Tom told me you have no choice [laughs]. In a way it’s all these great memories. Actually today it’s really funny, it’s great to remember. In the end it was really funny how I slowly adjusted to that machine, because in the end I was fine. But in the beginning it was tough. In the end I couldn’t care less. Joseph told me, ‘I could see you smiling.’ I said, ‘No no. I’m not.’ But I kind of was. We were laughing and screaming at the same time. That’s what was amazing, that it creates such an atmosphere on set. Those scenes are usually very exciting, and they’re also intense because you’re working with machinery and there are all of these buttons that have to be pushed, all of these guys have to control it. It’s fascinating how they built that thing also. It could rotate all kinds of ways.
Oblivion opens in theaters everywhere April 19.