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03 August 2009 @ 06:41 pm
Interview from SXSW  
Source: Ain't It Cool News

Capone talks to Carla Gugino and Sebastian Gutierrez about the wonderfully funny WOMEN IN TROUBLE!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here, with yet another interview that I did some time ago, and I honestly wasn't sure when it should run, so I'm running it now for reasons I'll explain in a minute.

As someone who sees a lot of film at festivals, you get used to the idea that some of your absolute favorite movies that you see in a given year will never be released. I saw two or three documentaries in 2008 that I thought for sure would ride the wave of popularity that docs were experiencing at the time right into a distributors arms. Alas, that was not the case. At this year's SXSW Film Festival, Harry and I both saw a wonderfully funny and insightful film from writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez (Gugino's husband), the Venezuelan-born writer of GOTHIKA and SNAKES ON A PLANE, and writer-director of RISE: BLOOD HUNTER and JUDAS KISS. None of these previous work quite prepared me for WOMEN IN TROUBLE (the first part of a trilogy, the second part of which has already been shot), featuring the interconnected stories of a group of women (and a couple of dudes) all going through personal crises. The women range from porn stars and call girls to house wives and flight attendants.

Now look at this cast: Gugino, Adrianne Palicki (who steals the movie, in my estimation, with a perfect comedy performance), Connie Britton, Marley Shelton, Garcelle Beauvais, Elizabth Berkley, Sarah Clarke, and Emmanuelle Chriqui. The men are represented (briefly) by the likes of Simon Baker, James Brolin, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Still, despite this cast and audience reaction to the film at SXSW, WOMEN IN TROUBLE couldn't find a distributor…until now. It was just announced that Screen Media Films has picked up the film and scheduled it for a November 13 release, which I hope means it gets a fair shake on the art house circuit (and please, let me invite any of these lovely ladies to Chicago for an AICN screening; I even have a guest room). I held onto this interview, hoping to run it closer to the film's release day; but since this might get a little stale by November, I thought I'd celebrate the film finding a distributor by running it now. And our discussions on WITCH MOUNTAIN and WATCHMEN feel timely since both just came out on DVD.

I'd agreed to speak to Gutierrez and Gugino even before I saw the film because I thought they'd make good interviews. It just so happens that I'd seen Gugino a few weeks earlier in Chicago at the Goodman Theater in Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under the Elms" (opposite Brian Dennehy and Pablo Schreiber), which made its way to Broadway shortly after it closed in Chicago.

The interview began with just me and Gutierrez; Gugino was finishing up a photo shoot nearby, and then she joined up during the interview. Let me assure all of you that Gugino is so beautiful in person, it also hurts to look at her too long, and yet I forced myself to do so for the duration of our conversation. I'll admit it, I've been pining for her since I first spotted her opposite Paulie Shore in SON IN LAW, followed up by some pretty unforgettable performances in SNAKE EYES, "Spin City," the SPY KIDS films, "Chicago Hope," Jet Li's THE ONE, the unbelievably great "Karen Sisco" series; SIN CITY, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, AMERICAN GANGSTER, RIGHTEOUS KILL, THE LOOKOUT, "Entourage," THE UNBORN, and, of course, WATCHMEN and RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN.

In WOMEN IN TROUBLE, Gugino plays a porn star named Elektra Luxx, and the good news is that the second part of Gutierrez's trilogy focuses more on her character (the title of the film, ELEKTRA LUXX, kind of gives that away). So here's my interview with Gugino and Gutierrez on a lovely March afternoon in Austin. Shortly after the interview, Gutierrez presented me with a copy of the one-sheet for WOMEN IN TROUBLE and walked me over to where the rest of the entire stunning cast was waiting to do an interview to have them all sign it. Some days, this is a very good job. Enjoy…

Capone: The obvious first question is, How the hell do you get Robyn Hitchcock to do music for your movie?

Sebastian Gutierrez: How cool is that, right?

Capone: I know. He’s been busy on the music front with [director Jonathan] Demme’s movie [RACHEL GETTING MARRIED].

SG: Well, basically, I’m a huge Robyn’s fan, and the first movie that I did, which was almost 10 years ago, is a movie called JUDAS KISS. I actually had them track down Robyn, and I sat down—I had never met him, I had just been to his shows and was a huge fan—and I asked him…which is perfect Robyn…I said, “Do you have any interest in becoming Danny Elfman?” And, he said [mimics British accent], “Who’s Danny Elfman?” And, I was, like, “Right! You might be the right guy.” So, I’ve been trying to get Robyn to do a score since then. He’s actually done a song for every movie that I’ve ever done.

Capone: I didn’t know that.

SG: …like an end-title song. So, this is our fourth…This time, I convinced him. I went to him and said, “I have this movie.” He read the script, he really liked it. And, I said, “I want you to be like Simon & Garfunkel with THE GRADUATE to this movie. I don’t think he liked that. He was, like, “I don’t about that.” But, he said, “You have this movie that’s all these shiny surfaces and modern women, sexy, and maybe my organic British folky thing can give it a nice contrast.”

Capone: It’s very…I don’t what the right word is…It’s very joyous.

SG: The music?

Capone: The music, yeah. It’s really lively and more sensual than I can remember him being as a singer/songwriter.

SG: Yeah, it’s interesting to hear you say that, because it is. I mean, what I was after in my mind of that Simon & Garfunkel thing was kind of like interconnecting riffs that happened in THE GRADUATE, or at least, how I remember it. They’re almost, like, Bo Diddley-like. And, so what I did was, I grabbed a bunch of Robyn’s songs and temped the music with it. And, I said, “I want a little section here that you can rip off your own song.” You had to kind of like tip-toe him into it, and then once he was doing it, he was great, because he’s a great piano player, a great guitar player.

And, we ended up in the studio…it was really funny…in this, like, Craftman house in Silver Lake, this, like, converted house, and we walked in. It was just me and Robyn. And, there was a drum kit there. And, the engineer was, like, “Oh, yeah, there’s a drummer who lives up the street, if you need a drummer.” And, we were, like, “What’s his name?” Like “Pete Thomas,” who’s Elvis Costello’s drummer.

Capone: Of course.

SG: “Okay, we’ll take him! Give him a call.” And so, Pete Thomas came down and played. All of a sudden, we had a rock band playing. We had Pete Thomas, Robyn. We had this guy Richard Fortus, who is in Guns N’ Roses now, but who was in, like, Psychedelic Furs when they kind of splintered off, and so he plays with Tommy Stinson of the Replacements. And, he was, “Well, Tommy’s a huge Robyn fan.” I was, like…If we could get Tommy Stinson of the Replacements…All of a sudden, I was, like, in Dream Geek Rock Land. Tommy didn’t play on it, but we did have Grant Lee Phillips on backing vocals, who was here at the festival, and Pete Thomas on drums. A lot of stuff was acoustic, but there’s a couple of numbers that have drums, so we had this great band.

Capone: When a filmmaker makes an interesting music choice, I always want to know about that first. And, I spend way too much time talking about it, but I can’t help it. It’s just something I’m really into.

SG: No, I’m really glad. The thing with Robyn is that people that know who he is are, like, “Omigod, you got Robyn Hitchcock to do the thing!” A lot of the movie people are, like, “Who’s Robyn?” I’m, like, “Trust me. This guy’s brilliant. Jonathan Demme’s hip to him. I mean, Jonathan Demme puts him in everything, too.

Capone: Well, he made that whole concert film with him, so yeah.

You mentioned last night at the Q&A that the germ of the idea [for WOMEN IN TROUBLE] came from that one scene with Emmanuelle Chriqui and Adrianne Palicki getting ready at the mirror.

SG: Yeah.

Capone: First of all, how did you come up with that scene? And then, second, how did you expand from that? What was the thing that made you go, We can take this to other places?

SG: Well, that scene, like I said, I’d forgotten about it. It was part of another script. I was writing another script, like a thriller, it really didn’t fit into it, and all of a sudden, these two characters, these two call girls had to get ready to meet a John. And, they just started talking.

It was one of those things that where I was thinking, Well, this is kind of funny, but it took over. It was like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Well, this can’t fit in that movie. And, I just put it aside. And then, finally, like I said, it was about 10-pages long, mostly dialogue, and it just seemed like this would be really easy to shoot. And, it’s amusing to me, like, maybe I can make a little, short film out of it. And, then I thought, if I can write nine other episodes like this, that are this self-contained.

We just got really lucky. The episodes, in theory, were not orginally as connected as they are in the movie. And, then, once I was writing, I was, like, Well, this person could be the sister of that person…I find that in movies, usually, that in interconnected stories, everybody fetishizes the connection to such an extent that it becomes really far fetched. That becomes the most important thing--how do things connect--and that became not as important. And, the audience is smart enough to put the connections together, you know.

Capone: You don’t call attention to it. Certainly, the idea of interconnected stories has been done before, but I was going to ask you, How did you make it so casual and not, "Hey, look how clever this is?"

SG: I wish I could say that it was all planned. It was mostly luck, because I was just trying to come with 10 ten-minute-long episodes that were interesting enough to me that had two women, or three women, or some combination thereof, of them in some “trouble.” And, then, it was about connecting those all in ‘a day in the life’ that all could be happening sort of simultaneously. The story pretty much takes place from 5:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. the next morning. Only I might know that, but to me, I was, like, Well, this is happening here, and that’s happening there.

Capone: And, I have to say, you feature maybe the finest collection of women in lingerie in one 90-minute film. Seriously, it’s incredibly sensual, but as far as I can remember, no nudity or anything.

SG: None.

Capone: You have these really beautiful, real women. And, I have to say, that Adrianne…I’m sure I’ve seen her in smaller things that she’s done…

SG: “Friday Night Lights.”

Capone: Right, but I’ve never seen the show, so she was a revelation to me. I think she’s going to be the one people are really talking about. She’s so funny.

SG: I totally agree. Here’s the thing: on “Friday Night Lights,” she plays a teenager, first of all--which I don’t quite believe. It’s a little bit of that “Grease” casting, where you go ‘Hmmm’--but she’s very believable, I mean, she’s great on the show.

And, yeah, the thing with the role of Holly, that’s the kind of role that it played well, and she does it beautifully. You always love the innocent, especially if you’re not being condescending to the innocent. So, yeah, she’s not very smart, she’s pretty dumb. But, she means really well, and she’s got an outlook of life that she’s going to keep going. And, I find, like, we’re all really that person. If anything, that’s probably the most autobiographical character, because we’re all that person that keeps getting knocked down and keeps getting back up.

She was worried when I first told her about the role, she was worried because she is tall, stunning, blonde, and beautiful, the idea of playing the ‘dumb blonde’ sounds really bad--to her credit. Once she read it, she was, like, This is not the dumb blonde. I really want to do it. But, there is that danger of making a cartoon out of it. It’s a real fine line that’s really easy to do, but I wasn’t interested in that. I think she pulled it off beautifully. But, I agree, people have no idea. It’s a quality that Goldie Hawn has, a little Veronica Lake, a little Carole Lombard. And, she’s really sexy, funny, and she can do everything. And, she’s really good with the drama.

Capone: I was going to say there are a lot of other actresses I think would have played that like a comedic role, and she’s playing it straight. And, it sells it, because the whole mispronunciation-of-words thing should not work, and it’s funny every time.

SG: It's really bad humor. I totally agree.

Capone: And, then, of course, the dog story is…That’s the moment where the audience could truly…you could lose them at that moment, and she sells it.

SG: Yeah, that was definitely the funnest moment, watching the movie with an audience.

[Carla Gugino approaches.]

Carla Gugino: Shall I join? Shall I leave you fellas?

SG: Yeah, please join us. Help me out here.

Capone: The hardest woman working at Comi-Con, if I remember correctly.

CG: Yeah, I know, it’s been a crazy time.

SG: So, Capone is who wrote that cool stuff about our one-sheet.

CG: Oh, very cool. Isn’t that an amazing poster?

SG: We can get you one.

Capone: That would be great. Thank you. We were just talking about Adrianne, and how remarkable she is, and I think she’s going to be kind of the breakout here in this film, because I’ve never seen her, that I remember.

CG: She’s so great in it, and it’s such a great role that I feel like we don’t…you know, the sort of theoretically “dumb blonde” that you think of is not as human and charming and multifaceted as this character is. So, your heart goes out to her, too. Aside from that she’s hilarious, your heart also really goes out to her.

Capone: We were saying it’s a real fine line, because I think there are some actresses that would have played it like a comedy, and she plays it totally straight. And, that’s the only reason that it works.

CG: Yeah.

SG: I mean, then it sounds heartbreaking, because, Awww, she’s trying, you know. Yeah, I think with the ‘dumb blonde’ character, we don’t usually get to see the other side. We just see it’s really funny, the dumb blonde, but then, the fact that she gets to then break down and explain what her thing is. You’re absolutely with her, you know.

CG: And, one of the things that you really, I think, for both Annie--otherwise known as Adrianne—and I was…with the aspect of playing porn stars, you can take sort of a cliché approach to that, you know what I mean, or sort of the idea that we may all have…I don’t know how many people know that many porn stars probably that intimately…

Capone: I don’t. Only a few, yes.

CG:…So, it was actually really fun to play, and that was something you were so adamant about from the beginning, making sure that they were authentic people.

SG: Ssince we’re talking about porn, the thing with porn is that it’s impossible to spoof it, because the reality is much more surreal than what any of us deal with. And, I also didn’t want to make the pathetic, sad version of it, because it’s so tragic that it almost feels condescending to do that. So, it was the idea of, that’s the job that these people do, but that’s not who these people are.

Capone: It was just interesting to see these people who are so often minimalized, whether the prostitutes or porn stars. You make the point that these people have the same deep thoughts and the same problems and the same emotional depth as everybody else, and then, you have to convince us that that’s true.

CG: Yeah. And, I think, also to have a profession like that where you have to, you know, to a certain extent, shut down in order just to do it. And, I think, for sure for Elektra, it’s definitely the fact that she finds out she’s pregnant, which is the last thing that she could ever imagine, is the thing that kind of wakes her up to…Oh, wow, maybe I actually need to not…you know, I think that probably more time has gone by than she thinks doing this, and these people are all having different awakenings, for sure, moments of sort of realization of ‘where am I’ and ‘what do I really want’, which is a universal.

Capone: Yeah. And, a lot of her life, she has to kind of reassess. There’s that one quick mention of all abortions that she’s had, and you think, That’s something she has to kind of shut down in order to copy with.

CG: Totally.

Capone: I’m kind of fascinated with conversations among women. I talked to some of the actresses who were in I LOVE YOU, MAN, because there were some real gem moments in that film that were just women talking. Even though it looks like a movie about men, there are these perfect little moments, and they kind of made the point that [women] are at least as frank and vulgar as men. But, they actually attach emotional value to the things they’re talking about, so it really scares men. Was that something you really wanted to capture and make sure that you got right?

SG: Yeah, I think so. I grew up in a house with women, so I’ve always been around that talk. And, it’s sort of scary and fascinating and neurotic and manic, but, yeah, there’s an immediate bonding that women have when they sit down to talk, that men are not equipped with that. With men, you have very close friends, and you can sit around and talk about a subject, whether it’s film passionately or sports passionately and kind of try to impress each other at first and then break through that and have a real trust for each other, but women immediately are able to talk about very intimate things without seemingly revealing too much stuff that for men would be, like, Well, I’d never go that far. And, women are able to have that immediate sisterhood thing, where you go ‘Aww, that’s universal’ or ‘Aww, I’m sorry about that’, and then they can talk about shoes and superficial things as well.

So, it was really important for me to have that in a way that didn’t seem to call attention to itself so much, which is a little ironic, of course, because it’s basically a series of conversations between women. But, it’s that fine line between, Do you make it like ‘Hey, girlfriend’ this, which I don’t believe, or only talking about men, which I also don’t believe as much as men would like to believe that that’s what they’re really talking about. It was really important to me to make it feel like, yeah, we were listening in on these conversations that are life-changing for them that happen much easier.

That moment in the elevator between Carla and Connie, and Elektra’s character says, “This is the moment in the bus where the stranger tells you they have cancer.” It’s sort of commenting on itself, but that is the moment that is happening. Of course, if the audience is really paying attention, it really could reveal what Connie Britton’s character was saying, because she’s saying something about another character--without giving too much away--the child, that has huge [implications], that changes everything. It changes the heart of the whole story, really.

Capone: Did it strike you, Carla, as accurate?

CG: Absolutely, absolutely. I think that was kind of what was amazing for all of us in reading the script. It’s very rare that a guy can understand a woman’s psyche as well as Sebastian, which I think has to do with the South American-Spanish influence. And, the fact that you were raised by your mom and your sister and your grandma, all the sort of women…’cause that’s the interesting thing, too, that I think kind of makes this feel like more of a European sensibility in some ways, is that I feel like so often here, it’s sort of like, Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Women are--Is she tough, or is she vulnerable? Is she funny, or is she sad? Women are all those things, almost all the time. And, they change very quickly.

So, that’s the other thing, is that, you know, men will be…you know, if you’re going to have a really serious conversation with a guy friend of yours, it probably is going to be something you’ve thought about, something you decided to say. Whereas a woman could be saying, “What should I wear tonight?” and end up in the most serious conversation with a glass of wine, not going out that night, because you got into this great conversation. So, I think that it’s much more of a natural exchange in just a different way that we don’t see very much on film. That’s the thing, I’m not a big fan of most sort of chick flicks. Most of those kind of movies are not a movie that I would necessarily gravitate to, even as a woman. But, I love to see amazing female characters on screen.

And, I think, oftentimes, too, when people talk about great roles for women, a lot of times, they’re accompanied by a certain sort of seriousness or earnestness, or something that might be appropriate to that material, but it was also really great to do something where we actually all got fantastic roles to play, but there wasn’t a pretense to it, somehow. There was a real playfulness to the nature of these characters, even when they get to places where certainly the end of the movie gets really sad, and there’s a lot of really heavy stuff going on.

Capone: I did want to say, “God bless Josh Brolin.” The guy is hilarious in this movie, and he just sort of comes in and goes out so fast…

SG: And changes everything.

Capone: Yeah, but whose idea was the British accent, though? He's doing a version of Russell Brand, right?

SG: No, that was Josh. I mean, the character was written as British, and I thought I was going to get a British actor to do it. And, then, Josh became interested in doing it, and I had started changing, because I thought, Alright, he could be this…I was trying to make it oozy, like, Is he a Kid Rock type of guy, or is he like a guy who’s in Lynard Skynard, like, what band is this guy in?

And, Josh’s idea was to have this sort of faux-Cockney, Keith Richards-vibe thing with a little eyeliner. And, he was fantastic, I agree. He’s so funny, he’s so funny. And, yeah, God bless Josh Brolin, because he did this thing in the middle of, like, several Oscar campaigns and the craziest publicity schedule. He came in one day. We shot that whole thing in one day, just one long day, and he just killed it. Him and Marley [Shelton] have worked together, ’cause they were in GRINDHOUSE together.

CG: Yeah, they such great chemistry, yeah.

SG: And they were in W, which was after, so now they’ve done three things. Marley came in and did one scene in W with him, which was really funny. So, it’s a sort of back-and-forth, this sparring partner, but they have really great chemistry together. And, I agree…the British was him.

Capone: Carla, I meant to say, right off the bat, I live in Chicago, so I just saw you in “Desire Under the Elms” a few weeks ago. I heard that it’s going to Broadway.

CG: Wow. Oh my God! Yeah.

Capone: With you?

CG: With us, with everybody, actually. The same exact…the three people, actually all five of us, in fact. Yeah, we start previews…we start tech on the sixth, we start previews on the fourteenth, and we open on April 27. And, literally, since I left Chicago, it has been completely nonstop with both WITCH MOUNTAIN and WATCHMEN, and now this. So, it’s been truly, honestly, in the last three weeks, I think I’ve been in Chicago, London, Paris, Vegas, New York, L.A., Austin. So, it’s been crazy.

Capone: I had assumed that when WITCH MOUNTAIN was kind about to get released that you'd do some interviews in Chicago, but I didn't realize you didn't quite do the full run in Chicago.

CG: I’m so appreciative that you saw it, and that you…I mean, it’s definitely one of the best roles I’ve ever gotten to play.

Capone: I don’t think I’ve ever seen O’Neill staged before, but I have read that play.

CG: Oh, you have?

Capone: Yeah.

CG: You’re one of few, ’cause it’s not one of his better known, but it is one of his great tragedies.

Capone: The reason I remember it is so well, but I remember the professor who had us read it made the point that certain stage directions were impossible to follow on stage because they were written more like a novel than a play.

CG: Yeah. That’s so true.

Capone: I remember the descriptions of these elm trees that you could never get on stage that is almost emotional and not visual.

CG: Yeah, totally, like “the sagging breasts of the elm suffocating the root,” yeah. That’s why I think [director] Robert Falls was like, “We’re not going to have any elms. Out with the elms.”

Capone: That was a dramatic setup, too.

CG: And, it’s so heightened, too. I mean, I think that’s the thing.

Capone: We were, like, in the second row, too, so that house over our heads was not a fun thing.

CG: Yes!

SG: Scary.

CG: It was really funny, because when we first did…I mean, it was hilarious, literally when Bob Falls and Brian and I met in New York, we had dinner, and he showed us the set, and the hilarious thing is…He showed us on computer, and my first thing was, like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” Brian was like, “I’m not walking under that house.” And, then, of course, he ended up walking under the house, ’cause he can’t help but do that. I’m so appreciative that you brought that up.

SG: There’s a lot going on.

Capone: Yeah, I know. You continue to be busy. It’s funny--all that stuff that you were promoting at Comi-Con is all coming out at exactly the same time.

CG: It’s so bizarre, and I shot them at such different times. No, it’s been actually a great and the fact that both of those movies have huge junkets and lots of money behind them. It’s been really great because a lot of people have asked about WOMEN IN TROUBLE. And, obviously, this is like ‘the little engine that could’ this is our little, teeny movie that we love so much. And so, I’m glad that people are getting to know about it that might not.

Capone: Back to Elektra, she’s not just a porn star, she’s a vet; she’s been in the business a while, and we get that. We hear you say that at one point.

CG: Right.

Capone: Have you thought about the life that led to her being there. She kind of gives us a little bit of the biography, but not much.

CG: Absolutely. Unfortunately, a lot of the stories are--because I ended up watching documentaries and doing some research--unfortunately, it is that--I kind of love that Sebastian put it in there, but didn’t make a big deal about it--a lot of them have had sexual abuse, that is just a place where they already have crossed the line of any kind of an act that for most people is very intimate, and it’s become a public thing.

And, I think that’s the thing. That’s what I sort of found fascinating, that here she is this extremely famous woman, but not necessarily in her power through that fame, because she’s not famous for something that she is really that proud of. So, I think she’s proud that she has achieved this. It’s interesting because…I’ll just give you…sorry, this is a roundabout way of answering this question, but she refers to, “Someone might have turned my life into a heartbreaking novel. Not me, not yet, anyway.” And, in WOMEN IN ECSTASY [the third part in the trilogy], you will see that, in fact, something does shift in that way, and she does actually…

Capone: Is that going to be the third?

CG: I’m sorry…in ELEKTRA LUXX. WOMEN IN ECSTASY is the third, yes. In ELEKTRA LUXX, actually, you start to see that she does do something that really changes the course of her life in a really good way.

But, yeah, I think, absolutely, it was in great contrast to, say, Sally Jupiter in WATCHMEN, who is a true star of her time. I find it very interesting, women who are extremely famous for porn, because there’s a shame that goes along with it, there’s, like, kind of having to hide it, and yet, there’s also this über-celebrity that comes from it as well.

So, it’s a really odd juxtaposition, and it was something really interesting to explore as a character, because as an actor, one can be well known, but, generally, it’s for something that you did very consciously. And, with porn, a lot of times, too, once you’ve done one and had success at it, it’s sort of like, Well, why not potentially do more, because I’ve already now gone down that road, you know what I mean? And so, I have a lot of empathy for people who have ended up in that profession.

Capone: The character is also very, certainly, maternal, but then also just sort of a general comforter of people, even if she's not that comfortable. But that scene in the elevator is more about just calm and being a calming force.

CG: Yeah. No, it’s true. And, that’s what was really great. All of these characters have these great nuances, sort of the dichotomy of people, of who human beings are.

SG: And, that’s really funny to me, yeah. You have this woman, Connie Britton, she’s the one freaking out, and you have the person who’s supposed to be a disaster being able to help people.

CG: And actually, in ELEKTRA LUXX, you take that sort of to the next level even, where, sort of finally, there’s a point at which…

SG: She explodes. Everybody’s asking her for advice.

CG: She’s, like, “Maybe I look like I have the answers, but I’m falling apart here!” [laughs]

Capone: I’ve always had a feeling about you--based on the work you've done--that as long as it’s well written, you’ll pretty much say anything. I won’t say “there's nothing you won’t do,” but I think you'll say just about anything. I’m thinking of…


Capone: Exactly right. But even WOMEN IN TROUBLE, as long as it’s meaningful in some way. Are you like that? Is that just how you are? Are you saying things you’re like, ‘I would never do this. I would never say this’?

CG: Totally. Well, I do kind of swear. That I do, because I like a good swear word, a well-placed swear word…

Capone: Feel free, by the way.

CG: Thank you. But, no, but you know, it’s funny, because there are, like, those characters, the characters you want to be more like. I feel like ‘God, she’s so amazing. I want to be more like her.’ And then, there are the characters you’re like, ‘Thank God, I am not like that character, that’s not my life, but how amazing to get to delve into it for the movie’. And, certainly, CENTER OF THE WORLD is one of those. But, it is true. And, that’s the thing. I’m a fan of many different genres. Mostly, I love to mix it up, and I love to stretch myself and do things that I’ve never done before. And, if it’s a director that I trust--certainly in this case, and Wayne Wang in that case, and/or Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller with SIN CITY.

SG: You always say mean things about adding things in dialogue, changing things.

CG: No, I…

SG: Certain lines you “wouldn’t cross” with your character in dialogue.

CG: Not exactly. No, like Amanda in “Entourage” is pretty forthcoming as well. I love strong, complicated women, and generally…you know, and there is, for me, if it doesn’t scare me a little bit, I don’t want to do it. I should let somebody else play the role if I know exactly how to do it. So, therefore, those are the roles that probably scare the shit out of me, and I’m like, Okay, let’s go.

And certainly, “Desire Under the Elms” being one of those, too. Because that’s such an interesting role. Someone asked me, a journalist asked me, actually, like, “How do you play someone who is so irredeemable?” And, I was, like, “Oh, wow, I’ve never thought of her that way.” I find her so human, I find her intensely flawed, and that, out of desperation, shedoes horrible things, but I find all the characters incredibly human. And, I guess that’s for me what it is about revealing the humanity in these complicated people.

Capone: You said that you liked to do a lot of different genres, but, honestly, when your name gets linked up with a genre film like WATCHMEN, people get excited. In that film, you’re really the only actor who’s done that kind of thing. It’s, like, yeah, there’s somebody there that we trust to do this kind of film right. And, you get it.

CG: Yeah.

SG: You should do a superhero movie, like CATWOMAN. [laughs]

CG: It’s so funny, because I just ran into a guy from Marvel. He’s like, “Wait a minute, what’s with the DC. Come over to Marvel!” I was like, “Find something great. I would love to, are you kidding?” No, I do love the heightened nature of that particular genre, you know what I mean? I think that’s what is exciting is bringing the humanity to that.

[Carla notices some of her WOMEN IN TROUBLE cast members gathering nearby. ]There’s Connie and Marley. We have so many cast members--the gaggle of girls.

Capone: One more thing I wanted to bring up was that, I was interviewing Jaime King not too long ago, and I could ask you the same question I asked her: Everyone’s excited that Mickey Rourke is making this comeback. And, I’m thinking, “This is not the comeback. The comeback was…

CG: SIN CITY. I totally agree.

Capone: You had a front-row seat to that. What do you remember about working with him?

CG: You know, it was really intense, because he was…I mean, we shot everything…there’s a scene in that that’s in the DVD that wasn’t in the movie, also with Bruce Willis, where I punch him, which was fun, but Mickey was great. Mickey has a crazy kind powerful energy. And, it’s funny, because here I am, I’m like having to sort of strip down to a G-string and stand in front of Mickey Rourke, who I don’t really know at that time, and I’m thinking, Oh, God, this is going to be tricky. And, it turned out, he was completely, like, “Ah, I’ve seen that before.” And, that was basically the end of any conversation.

Capone: Jaime said he was totally professional, while filming their sex scenes.

CG: Absolutely. He’s totally professional. The truth is, he is an actor’s actor, and so, we’ve kept in touch since then. And, the amazing thing about Mickey is that he speaks his mind. He does not mince words, so he doesn’t like somebody, it’s very clear. If he likes you, it’s very clear. And, we had a really great time. And, I also think something about the prosthetics of Marv really freed him up in a way that was, I don’t know, some sort of new chapter was able to be found, not only because he’s great actor, it was a great role for him, but there was some kind of…

SG: It’s that Eastern concept of mask that you can be whatever you want to be.

CG: Yeah, put a mask on and your spirit, your soul is free, you know.

Capone: I get the impression that now that he’s a little self-conscious about the way he looks, putting that make-up on might have been really liberating.

CG: Right. And for all of us, and certainly in WATCHMEN, to have the prosthetics on and be the older Sally Jupiter. You can do all the internal work that you want to do, but when you see yourself looking like that, it informs your character in a different way, which is great.

Capone: What’s interesting about WITCH MOUNTAIN and WATCHMEN, the one thing I could come up with that they actually had in common was that for a lot of people, at least my age, ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN was kind of our introduction to semi-serious science fiction, because that actually was released a couple of years before CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. And then, WATCHMEN was, of course, like our realization of what…

CG: …a graphic novel could be?

Capone: …illustrated literature could be, yeah. How did you get hooked into WITCH MOUNTAIN? Do you have a fondness for the original film?

CG: I really did. I really actually did really like the original a lot. And, it’s funny, that watching it again recently, it still has all of these great, cool things that I had remembered. It’s also much weirder, in a really cool way, than I had remembered. And, it made me realize how movies like that, like Disney movies, just had a certain kind of eccentricity that they don’t necessarily have as much anymore--replaced by a lot of other great things. And certainly, like there’s some really cool action in this movie, and I think some things that we found in this movie that weren’t in the original, but I was, I was a fan.

And then, oddly, [director] Andy Fickman, who was a big sci-fi guy and a big…he was born in Roswell, New Mexico, and believes in aliens…He was a huge fan of this TV show I did called “Threshold,” which is actually another time I went to Comic-Con, which David Goyer, David Heyman, and Brannon Braga were the creators of, so that was definitely, in terms of the sci-fi element things…That didn’t have a huge viewership, but it got great reviews and had a really cool cult following. And, Andy was one of those people. So, Andy called me up and was like, “You played a rocket scientist in SNAKE EYES, you played a neurosurgeon in 'Chicago Hope,' you played a contingency analyst in 'Threshold.' Will you come and be my scientist and play this role? "

At first, I was like, I think it might be too similar. And then, when I realized the tone of what he was going for and the fact that he wanted her to be this sort of kooky, flighty, you know, brilliant kind of goofball, it was something that was…It was so nice to be able to, after RIGHTEOUS KILL and WATCHMEN, come and do something light and fun, and that the whole family can see.

Capone: Yeah, yeah, okay. Speaking of strong women in TV shows, you’ve just mentioned a few, but I was a huge fan of “Karen Sisco.” I was really sorry to see that go away so fast.

CG: I really loved “Karen Sisco.” It’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever gotten to play. And, actually, in small worldness of Elmore Leonard, Joe Gordon-Levitt, who obviously is in this, directed Eric Stoltz and myself and Xander Berkeley in SPARKS, which is a short film that was at Sundance, based on an Elmore Leonard short story. So, I got to actually hook up with Elmore, a.k.a. Dutch, not that long ago in doing SPARKS. And, we were actually talking about “Karen Sisco” and the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of anything that I’ve done for as short a time as that, that I’ve had as many people say, “I wish it was still on.”

Capone: I was going to ask you, because people still bring it up…like, either you or the creative team.

SG: Yeah, you should have made a “Karen Sisco” movie.

CG: We keep wanting to, we keep talking about, It would be really cool to actually…because OUT OF SIGHT was amazing, and Jennifer [Lopez] was amazing in it, but…

SG: But, the character has another story.

CG: Well, exactly. But, there was a huge amount of story that isn’t in that movie, because that was more about George’s [Clooney] character.

Anyway, what a pleasure. You guys are always so supportive. I met Harry, I think, for the first time while I was doing the first SPY KIDS.

Capone: That’s right, you’ve been to Austin quite a few times.

CG: Yeah, I know. And, I love this town so much. And, I love Chicago. I had an amazing time there. And, if you find your way to New York, you and your wife, please…

SG: …for another light night of theater.

CG:…I’ll get you guys tickets and come see the New York incarnation. Once might be enough for that play, though.

Capone: It’s a heavy load.

CG: I know it is. [laughs]

Capone: It was really great meeting both of you. Thanks.