It's a unique spin -- literally -- on Romeo and Juliet, one that involved actually placing the actors upside down. A wicked hangover made one challenging anti-gravity scene even worse for Sturgess, who nearly vomited on his co-star.
Sturgess spoke to Moviefone about another upside-down kissing, how he approaches movies like he does music, and whether he'd be up to do another musical.
Moviefone: How complicated was it filming scenes where you or your co-stars were upside down? Sturgess: Yeah, complicated, definitely. It's not like making your normal, average film where you're both in a room looking at each other directly. They tried to make it as real and organic for us as possible. Juan did as much as he could to bring reality into a fantasy world. So yeah, it was certainly a new experience.
Did you get a crick in your neck with all the gazing upwards you had to do? For sure! I was constantly knocking on the production office door asking, "Can I get a massage, please?" And they'd say, "No, we don't have the budget."
There were some harness scenes, those must have been uncomfortable. Yeah, at first you go, "Wow, that looks so cool," but when you do it for five, 10 minutes, you go, "This is really driving me nuts." But I enjoyed every minute of making the movie, actually. It was one of those films that was just fun from top to bottom.
When you agreed to do it, did you think they'd do all the dual gravity scenes digitally or did you realize what you were getting into? I guess I didn't. I had no idea they would string me up to the ceiling and I had to play entire scenes with the blood pumping out of my eyeballs.
I heard that you did the anti-gravity spinning kiss scene while you had a hangover. True, very true. Big mistake. Schoolboy error. It was my birthday the day before, so the crew all took me out, so I stayed out until the very early hours of the morning. And then I realized, probably about four o'clock in the morning, that they weren't filming the next day, that it was a second-unit team that was coming in. So they were fine. I was like, "You are kidding me." In all honesty, it was possibly one of the hardest days of my life. With a hangover, just spinning.
Were you about to upchuck on Kirsten? She had to talk me down a few times, yeah.
Not so romantic after all. I know, I don't want to shatter the illusion when people watch the movie. No actually, it's a testament to Kirsten, because she knew I was in a pretty bad spot and she was amazing. We just giggled our way through it.
This is actually not her first upside-down kiss. How would you say this one compares to the classic one in "Spider-Man?" We were kind of at a slightly different angle. And we weren't really upside-down. But you can't make a movie called "Upside Down" and not have some kind of upside-down kiss! I was proud of our anti-gravity love scene.
Did you stop trying to figure out how the gravity worked after a while? Yeah, but I always tucked my socks into my trousers -- I don't know if you noticed that. And then we put loads of hairspray into my hair, which is why it looks crazy.
Are you a sci-fi/fantasy fan? Did you go looking for this or "Cloud Atlas?" No, not at all. I mean, [I like] "Star Wars," but I was never a "Star Trek" fan. Not a sci-fi guy at all, really. And I never saw this as sci-fi. It felt like a fairy tale that I should have been told as a kid. It felt kind of classic.
You started out as a musician, do you think of movies in musical terms? Yeah, you can. And I see "Cloud Atlas" as a symphony. When you break it down into music, it actually makes things easier to understand. Lana Wachowski was saying, "Lots of people listen to bad pop music," and you can put that in the same terms for filmmaking. It's hard to get a lot of people to sit down and listen to a classical symphony.
Are you still in a band yourself? Not so much a band, but I collaborate with various people. I write songs and just mess around with music a lot with friends back in London.
Do you record any of it? I'm always recording. I don't just write it for myself, but you have to make something that's solid to make a record. I've written three or four albums in my life that no one's ever going to hear.
What about another singing role? In a musical? Yeah, I don't know. It's hard when you're doing a Beatles musical, it's hard to find music to top that.
So you weren't broken up about not being in, say, "Les Miserables"? No, because I don't really like that kind of music. I find that hard to watch!