CATEGORIES Interviews
Over the course of her career, Carla Gugino has refused to be pigeonholed, tackling a diverse cornucopia of roles that include butt-kicking mom in the family-friendly 'Spy Kids' franchise, Vincent Chase's sexy, strong-willed agent/lover on HBO's 'Entourage'; Marv's topless lesbian parole officer in 'Sin City' and a former superhero in 'Watchmen.'

And she won't have to worry about being type-cast with her latest movie 'Women in Trouble,' which is in select theaters now. The movie can be summed up in eight words: Hot women in their underwear helping each other. I know, it sounds like porn -- but it isn't (seriously). That said, Gugino does play a porn star -- one who's just learned she's pregnant and has no clue what to do about her predicament. Luckily for her -- and audiences -- she finds herself trapped in an elevator on the hottest day of the year with a businesswoman (Connie Britton) who's also at a crossroads in her life. The two strip to their bra and panties ... and then things get really revealing.

In an exclusive interview, Gugino tells Moviefone why she and her sexy co-stars -- including 'Entourage' starlet Emmanuelle Chriqui, 'Friday Night Lights' actress Adrianne Palicki and 'Sin City' co-star Marley Shelton, who play other women grappling with various interwoven crises -- were happy to peel of their clothes for director Sebastian Gutierrez (we're sure Gugino's decision had nothing to do with the fact that Gutierez is her longtime boyfriend); dishes on her new role in Zack Snyder's upcoming musical-action-noir 'Sucker Punch'; and reminsces about the good ole days making 'Son in Law' with Mr. Pauly Shore.< Over the course of her career, Carla Gugino has refused to be pigeonholed, tackling a diverse cornucopia of roles that include butt-kicking mom in the family-friendly 'Spy Kids' franchise, Vincent Chase's sexy, strong-willed agent/lover on HBO's 'Entourage'; Marv's topless lesbian parole officer in 'Sin City' and a former superhero in 'Watchmen.'

And she won't have to worry about being type-cast with her latest movie 'Women in Trouble,' which is in select theaters now. The movie can be summed up in eight words: Hot women in their underwear helping each other. I know, it sounds like porn -- but it isn't (seriously). That said, Gugino does play a porn star -- one who's just learned she's pregnant and has no clue what to do about her predicament. Luckily for her -- and audiences -- she finds herself trapped in an elevator on the hottest day of the year with a businesswoman (Connie Britton) who's also at a crossroads in her life. The two strip to their bra and panties ... and then things get really revealing.

In an exclusive interview, Gugino tells Moviefone why she and her sexy co-stars -- including 'Entourage' starlet Emmanuelle Chriqui, 'Friday Night Lights' actress Adrianne Palicki and 'Sin City' co-star Marley Shelton, who play other women grappling with various interwoven crises -- were happy to peel of their clothes for director Sebastian Gutierrez (we're sure Gugino's decision had nothing to do with the fact that Gutierez is her longtime boyfriend); dishes on her new role in Zack Snyder's upcoming musical-action-noir 'Sucker Punch'; and reminsces about the good ole days making 'Son in Law' with Mr. Pauly Shore.

The movie is obviously about 'Women in Trouble' -- but, more specifically, it's about women helping other women in trouble. Was it the idea of women relying on each other as opposed to men that appealed to you?
You know, I really loved this character. And one of the things that drew me to this movie is that I always love to play a character I've never played before. So a porn star named Elektra Luxx -- from the start, "I'm in! What is that? That's crazy!" [Laughs] And then I was really happy, as a I read along, to find out how complex the character was and that's she's not at all what you expect that archetype to be .. or that cliche. But, yeah, I think there's definitely something -- I don't know that it's women relying on each other versus men. I think it's definitely about women of different ilks realizing that you make look at someone and realize -- and this goes for men, too -- but you may look at someone and go, "I have nothing in common with that person." And if you're in a space with them for a certain period of time, then you'll start to realize how similar you probably are with the things that really matter. So getting stuck in an elevator on the hottest day of the year with a businesswoman and a porn star, who knows what's going to happen? [Laughs]

At one point or another, every single woman in the movie strips down to her underwear. Was that something that was explicit in the script, or did it just kind of turn out that way?
Well, it was funny because I remember Emmanuelle Chriqui was like, "I don't think there's any director besides Sebastian [Gutierrez] who could get us to strip to our underwear and be happy about it." [Laughs] And I think it was definitely about not having to be sexy or be taken seriously -- just to be full women. There is not doubt that was definitely an intentional part of the movie and sort of a fun thing to play with of like, "OK, how do they get in their underwear?" [Laughs] And because I was playing a porn start, it was actually very convenient for me that it didn't matter to her. I felt myself to be much less self-conscious than normal. I have a pretty European sensibility about that stuff, but it was definitely like, "Oh right, it's not big deal to my character -- so it's no big deal to me." It made it pretty easy.

Yeah, and it's important to the script! For example, it made the scene in the elevator, when you and Connie are having the heart-to-heart in your underwear, both emotionally and physically revealing. Great stuff.
[Laughs] Yeah, well, that's the thing. I remember an acting coach saying to me very early on [something] which is interesting to me and revealing about humanity, [which] is that often our settings make such a bigger difference than we would ever imagine as to what our conversation is. Imagine you're sitting with someone at a park, or you're sitting with someone at a bar, or you're sitting with someone at a doctor's office. You will probably have three completely different conversations just based on your surroundings. So I think for sure that they end up getting hot, stripping down and waiting for hours, and it's like, "You know what, what do I gotta hide? Here it goes."

'Women in Trouble' Trailer


'Women in Trouble' showtimes and tickets


Did you do anything to prep for playing a porn star?
I wanted to have enough of an understanding of that world so that it could be a backdrop for the character because it's a key part to her realization that she's pregnant. All of that is affected by her profession and what she's chosen to do in her life. But more so than the mechanics of the actual job, I did see a really cool HBO documentary on porn stars. And I was intrigued by Jenna Jameson, who's obviously written a book. That kind of porn-star chic has so entered regular society that I think the lines are much more blurred. But what I wanted was to kind of get a sense of why people do choose it. And oftentimes there is a history of a certain kind of family life early on. And I just wanted to get a sense of it and hear people talking about it. Because what's interesting is that sex is their business, so talking about it in a way that would be very explicit to another person is just like talking shop. So that's why Holly Rocket, Adrianne Palicki's character, is really bad at certain things at the job, which is hilarious to hear. But the truth is, if she was a secretary, she'd be like, "I can only type 10 words a minute. I don't know what to do. I'm gonna get fired!" So all of the actual conversations are really relatable, and I love that they're said by people that you might not think you have anything to relate to. Then you're like, oh my God, the decision to have or not have a baby -- that's a big decision for people, no matter what your profession is.

There's already a 'Women in Trouble' sequel called 'Elektra Luxx' on the way -- does that just pick up where this leaves off?
Yeah, it's a couple months later, and she is just sort of dealing with what she's going to do with her life. She's actually decided that she's going to start teaching a class on how to act like a porn star in bed. [Laughs] And we do see Holly Rocket and Bambi [Chriqui] reemerge. And Joe Gordon-Levitt's character is much bigger in the second one, as well as Timothy Olyphant and Kathleen Quinlan and some really fun cameos. It sort of continues the journey, adds some new characters and revisits some. And then the third, because it's part of a trilogy, will bring back some people who weren't in the second as well.

You're also going to be in Zack Snyder's upcoming female-centric 'Sucker Punch.' What can you tell me about your role in that?
I'm shooting that right now in Vancouver, and my hair is red for it. So everyone that sees me is like, "Are you blonde? Are you brunette? Are you a redhead? I don't understand." And I'm like, "I'm trying to be all of the Charlie's Angels in one." [Laugs] My character in that is -- I'm a [employs Polish accent] Polish character. Her name is Dr. Gorsky. I play a dual character -- it takes place in the 1960s -- a psychiatrist in an insane asylum and, in an alternate world, a dominatrix-slash-choreographer-slash-Madame-of-a-brothel. And we sing and dance, too. And there are these insane action sequences -- which I am actually not a part of, but they are unbelievable. So it's like nine movies in one [laughs].

Also in the pipeline you've got 'The Mighty Macs,' in which you play the coach of a women's high-school basketball team. Were you a big basketball fan going in?
My two favorite sports to watch -- and I'm not a huge sports person -- are the World Cup. I love when the World Cup comes around. And I love watching basketball because I think it's just, like, unbelievable what they do. But I obviously ended up learning a lot more about basketball just playing this character, Kathy Rush, because her ex-husband Ed Rush was a huge ref. It was a world that I ended up doing a lot of research on just to familiarize myself with it. And doing basketball practice with the girls, some of the girls were real players. [Kathy] was the first basketball coach to take girls basketball and have it be nationally televised. It was a pretty significant time in history for women's basketball, to be sure. So it was exciting. And it's such the blessing of being an actor that you get to delve into world that you may not actually ever go into. And then when I'm doing it, I'm like, "Oh my God! Basketball!" And then it's like my life for three months -- living, breathing and eating basketball.

There have been 'Sin City 2' rumors for ages now. Have you heard anything on that front?
I know! I don't have anything new to report on that front. I know that there's a desire to do it and a lot of talk about it, but I don't know.

Your character Amanda on 'Entourage' is pretty much the only love interest for Vince that I've ever really liked -- any chance we'll be seeing her again?
Oh, you're awesome. Thanks, man! She's a cool character. I really love her. We're hoping. I love that character and I love those guys so much. Doug Ellin and I always talk about it, and we would so love to work together again. He had written [this past] season in a particular direction with some awesome stuff for Emmanuelle [Chriqui], which made me so happy to hear. She's just so great in it. I was doing 'Desire Under the Elms' on Broadway, and I just wasn't available for any of the time they were shooting. But who knows? Maybe it'll time out next year. One of the many things I love about Doug is that he doesn't ever want to do something just to cursorily do it. He only wants to do it if he can write a great story line. So I feel like it has to be at least as good as what's been there before, and I know that he feels that way too. So we'll see. It would be really fun.

What's the hardest role you've ever tackled?
That is a toss-up. Things are challenging in different ways, and I like the challenge. But I would say this role of Abbey that I did just do on Broadway in 'Desire Under the Elms,' the Eugene O'Neill tragedy with Brian Dennehy and Pablo Schreiber, was -- I would say -- the hardest role I've ever done and the hardest role to shake when I was done.

How does working in theater compare with working in film?
With film you're trying to capture that moment of magic in the blink of an eye that gets caught on camera. So that, in itself is a really challenge -- to be that present. With theater it's about: How do you rediscover the same thing eight shows a week? How do you rediscover the same piece of material and re-explore it. I just have gotten to play some really amazing characters on Broadway and the theater. In that way, I so would love to have the chance to do more roles of that complexity in film.

Are there any movie choices you've made in your career that you regret in retrospect?
Even ones that at the time I was disappointed with, there's always some reason why I didn't or what I wouldn't have been available for if I did. At the time, even if at the time you don't know why something is happening, usually you look back and you go, "Oh yeah, I know why that happened."

And not that this question is related to that one in any way, but what's your best Pauly Shore story from 'Son in Law'?
[Laughs] That's really funny!

I actually like that movie, by the way.
You know, it's funny. It's been so long and still that movie has such a strong cult following. Pauly was awesome. I don't even know that I can remember a specific great story as much as we had a really good time with it. I did that and 'This Boy's Life' right around the same time, and they couldn't have been more different. For whatever reasons, I've ended up doing a lot of drama, and that's one of the reasons I love this role in 'Women in Trouble' as well. I get to do some comedy and something lighter. It was just fun to be part of such a broad comedy. And Pauly was awesome. He was really fun to work with. And it was funny because he actually ended up being on 'Entourage' the same season as I was [laughs], and we hadn't seen each other in ages -- so it was lovely to get the chance to catch up.