A few weeks ago Cinematical was given a chance to chat with Kate Bosworth, one of the stars of the upcoming fantasy/ninja/cowboy film 'The Warrior's Way,' and now that we're only a day away from finding out if it lives up to the promises of over-the-top action seen in the trailer, we can finally share the interview.
Ms. Bosworth, who plays a knife-throwing Carnie in the film about a ninja who seeks asylum from his vengeance-seeking clan in an American ghost town, had plenty to say about why she decided to take a "leap of faith" on the film, the kind training she went through to play an ass-kicking Carnie and what it was like working with Geoffrey Rush and Danny Huston. But if an all-green-screen martial arts film doesn't seem to be up your alley, she also told us about her decision to take on the lead female role in Rod Lurie's remake of Sam Peckinpah's shocking thriller 'Straw Dogs' and whether or not its brutal subject matter will be as controversial in 2011 (when it comes out) as it was in 1971.
How's it going?
It's going really well. Everyone seems to be excited about the film, so that's always a good sign.
Well it looks like a lot of fun. Have you seen the final cut yet?
I'm seeing the final cut tomorrow night, but I've seen a rough cut which was great. I just haven't seen the final visuals, which I'm super excited to see since it's such a visual extravaganza.
It feels like this is the kind of movie that flew under everyone's radar until the trailer came out and then suddenly people took notice since it seems to know exactly what kind of movie it wants to be.
The script was a little bit that way, yeah. Geoffrey [Rush] and Dan [Huston] and I have all talked about the fact that we got sent this very unique script and thought, "What is this?" We were all very intrigued by it and then Sngmoo [Lee, the director] showed us these visual aids that he wanted the film to eventually look like and we thought, "How can we not partake in this madness?"
I feel like so many of my friends have seen the trailer and then all call and say, "What is this movie?!" It just looks so different and exciting and cool. It's just fun to be a part of a cross-cultural, kaleidoscopic extravaganza.
Did the script come to you first or did the three of you kind of unite around the project at the same time?
They sent the script to me and I think I was the first to be attached. Then they said they wanted to go to Geoffrey Rush, and I've known Geoffrey for years so I said I'd love to work with him. Then Geoffrey called me and said, "What do you think?" and I told him it was a leap of faith but it would be a pretty interesting journey. So he signed on and then Danny, who I've also known for years – I'm really good friends with his nephew – signed on. It was fun to get together with these guys who all have a history together and all meet in the far off place of New Zealand and create this fantasy world.
Beyond the script, was there anything in particular that attracted you to it? Obviously you're no stranger to intense training for roles, so was that part of it?
Strangely, it's the type of thing I read and don't really take on 'til I'm there and realize, "Man, this is really hard." It's so different when you read a line that says "Lynne fights the Colonel," and then you're there in this extensive, physical martial arts scene and you think that was an understatement.
I don't shy away from it. I've been an athletic person my whole life, so it's not something that would turn me off, certainly. I really feel in love with the script. This character was so different from anything I've ever played, so it was really that that attracted me most.
And what was it about the character that attracted you?
Well, she's an orphan. Her family had been murdered by Danny Huston's character, who is the villain of the film, so she's left in this deserted village, this left over carnival, so she's been raised by Carnie folk her whole life. It's a really kind of rough environment, so I wanted her to start from a place of being very boyish and unrefined and rough and kind of...big. And then when she meets The Warrior and he learns how to tame her a bit and refined her and quiet her heart a bit, I wanted that to be the evolution of her.
And back on the training front, your character's specialty is knife throwing, correct?
Yeah. Well, she's really bad at it at first.
So I assume you underwent actual knife-throwing training?
Yeah, we had knife-throwing, we had a lot of martial arts training because there's quite a few sequences in the film that are complicated and extensive. So there was a lot of training going on there mixed with the knife-throwing, which I found so much fun. I absolutely loved it; it's certainly a skill I wouldn't picked up in my free time, which is the beauty of my job. I get to learn how to do something I may never have learned to do before or ever.
Was the training more so to get technique down or were you actually throwing stunt knives at people?
I threw real knives at the board. There are certain moments where I'm throwing them at targets, but no, I certainly wouldn't throw them at real people. I'm not that good.
But we did often use real swords in the martial arts aspect. In my scene with Danny Huston we were both using pretty large, sharp objects so we had to be pretty trustful of each other and also very careful. We had to have a lot of trust in each other as actors and we would always kind of look at each other before doing something dangerous to make sure we were on the same page. And if we thought the other person wasn't, we just wouldn't go that far that take and maybe start over. So we were pretty careful with it.
Judging from the trailer I would have thought nearly everything was green screen work, but it sounds like there may be more practical elements to it than suggested.
The environments are entirely green screen. To be honest, what we clung to to understand who and where we were truly was the costumes. We had the brilliant James Acheson as our costume designer who made costumes that would allow us to know what film we were in. We would look around and it would be entirely green... we were told what would be there a little bit, but we didn't know entirely what it would be.
It was a little bit easier on this one since it was so much fantasy that it felt like a big playground. I'm so excited to see the final product, to be honest, because I know it's going to be just visually stunning.
Speaking of that particular visual approach and its obvious blending of Eastern and Western flavors, are you a big fan of Asian martial arts films? Or action extravaganzas in general?
Sure. I love the sense of poetry that seems to exist more in Asian filmmaking and the script was certainly in that same vein. Though it lives in fantasy, it really does have a poetic, beautiful feel to it. And although it's a very cross-cultural, very kaleidoscopic extravaganza, there's a real through-line of good versus evil and a kind of emotional heartbeat to it that I think is nice in this world.
And speaking of nice, emotional heartbeats, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the 'Straw Dogs' remake.
We finished that...I guess it was last summer, and it was such a wonderful film to be a part of. The actors were lovely and Rod Lurie I just admire and respect so much as a filmmaker. To be honest, I hadn't seen the original 'Straw Dogs' before, so I read the screenplay first and thought, "Well, if the screenplay doesn't hold up..."
It always starts with the script for me and I feel like if you don't have somewhere to begin it's difficult to make something interesting. But the screenplay was really strong so I saw the original 'Straw Dogs' and thought, "Oh, man, this is going to be an intense one to be a part of," and it really was.
The original 'Straw Dogs' took place in Cornwall, England and the remake takes place in Mississippi, so we kind of moved that sort of territorially specific feel to the deep South and I think it works really well. I think the most challenging thing about that film truly was finding the perfect balance of the tension – because it's a slow boil before it happens – and each scene was so delicate to have it make sense in sequence toward the ultimate boil. We had to be very focused to get it right.
Do you imagine it will be as controversial as the original was? Do you feel you have to consider what you're willing to do in the performance knowing it will probably be controversial or does that not even matter to you?
It doesn't matter to me so much. I feel that if I'm focused on that, then I'm not focused on what matters and ultimately the project is so strong and the character is so interesting that I wanted to take a crack at it. And of course there will be controversy, I can't see how there wouldn't be with a remake of 'Straw Dogs.'
It wasn't something anyone shied away from. It's equally uncomfortable, I think. It's different obviously, but I think Peckinpah made more of an art film while this one is more of a studio film, so it's a little different that way, but it's definitely bold. It's certainly not watered down in the parts that people are going to be curious about.