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The Losers - Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana interview

The Losers

Compiled by Jack Foley

JEFFREY Dean Morgan and Zoe Saldana talk about some of the challenges of bringing graphic novel The Losers to the big screen, as well as balancing humour with violence and whether fans will warm to this latest potential franchise…

Q: How physical was this movie? Zoe, has some scenes where we see you flying through the air. Was it as physically demanding as we, the audience, think it is?
Zoe Saldana: It was exhausting, and the reality is that it’s fun. It looks great. And it’s the least that I can do. We have very privileged professions and for three months, we get paid a lot of money to give the audience a really good adventure. And I’ve always been one of those that if I can tell that was not the actor doing that stunt, I’m lost. You’ve lost me.

It could be in the beginning of the movie, halfway through the movie or whatever. And we really wanted to go as far as we could physically go and the reward, I can’t even explain to you what it feels like when you get to see a scene and you get to see your entire team – from your director to your actors and even your stunt coordinator – and everybody’s gleaming. You feel really happy and proud of yourself. So, that’s good.

Q. And Jeffrey?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: With this movie in particular, we wanted to do as much as we possibly could as far as the action sequences and stunts. We trained a lot. We got to Puerto Rico, what, two weeks before, I think, principle photography began, just for training purposes, which was great in another respect. We bonded as a cast and the only way this movie truly works is because of the chemistry. And we got that from fight training. But we also kind of fell in love with each other while beating the crap out of each other, which is pretty cool… and Zoe did everything.

Q: When you knew you were doing this movie, did you rush to read the graphic novels, or did you stay away from it?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: I had a little bit of work with the graphic novel world doing Watchmen, which I love. I think it’s such a great foundation to build off of. And what Jamie Vanderbilt did was to even expand on it more, as well as Sylvain, who shot this movie in such an original way. I mean, we, as actors, didn’t know where the cameras were half the time. The palette he used was very much ripped right from that graphic novel. So, it’s a great way to make a movie on these graphic novels. It’s such an invaluable foundation for making a film. As actors, you have this skeleton, or even sometimes more than a skeleton of a character that you get to build on. And the producers and director really gave us a chance to expand on what Andy [Diggle] and Jock did with the graphic novel, which was awesome.

Q: How do you balance between spectacle and character, because part of this is standing in the right place so when the pyro goes off you don’t get hurt. Is there a struggle between those two, getting the action right, but also the character?
Zoe Saldana: It’s trust. When you have the most amazing, professional crew, you know that if you fall they’re going to catch you. And if they don’t and I fall, they better run, ‘cause I’m relying on the fact that I’m going out and guiding myself with everything that they’ve done and they’ve basically choreographed for me. But it’s with the intention of getting it done, but not getting hurt.

So, when you have that trust then you can really focus on your character and on what you’ve been rehearsing and working really hard to accomplish. I’m also one that if I don’t feel that I can trust my stunt coordinator or I can’t trust the camera department or I can’t trust the director, I’m not going to put myself there. And I think that we all have that. You just have to have a certain line, so that I kind of stop here.

Q: Can you talk about the distinctive action and comedy blend that this movie has?
Zoe Saldana: This takes it back to like the ‘80s kind of action movies where there’s a bad guy and there are the good guys. And it is obvious that they’ve been wronged and they have to come and bring justice for all and save the day. It’s fun because it also feels morally kind of coordinated.

Q: Zoe, was there a point where you had to decide which way you have to go in which scene, where you’ve got to pull back on the sex appeal and be more of the kick-ass girl? Was there a line you had to cross?
Zoe Saldana: I think that for men, that line just doesn’t exists. There’s never enough sexuality in a woman that a man might say: “That’s a little too much or something.” And for me personally, there’s not enough. If anything, I would do everything just really harsh or whatever. So, thank God that Sylvain always managed to meet me in the middle or push me into the middle and sometimes when I felt like it was unnecessary to be too sexual, like now it’s about outwitting something, as opposed to out-sexing the situation.

Then it was always like a negotiation, but the reality is that we’re also soldiers. Men, as trained soldiers, they’re going to try to do whatever it is in their power to get the mission done. And for a woman, it would be no different. She’s just a soldier, period. So, if her physical assets are a weapon that she can use… then by all means we’re not overly exploiting this. If she’s a soldier, she’s going to do whatever she needs to do to get it done.

Q: Do you think that comic book fans will embrace this movie?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan: All you can hope for is positive reaction for the work that you do. I mean, we all go into these projects thinking they’re going to be great, and that’s our goal. Whether or not that happens, once it goes through the editing process, you know we don’t have control over that. And we don’t know what the hell’s going to happen. So, having seen this movie, I was really proud of it. It’s exactly the movie we wanted to make and we made it for as much the fans as we did for anybody. There is a little bit of a chance to have a little bit more fun with this and do a Lethal Weapon type of vibe. It’s really going back to what Joel Silver became Joel Silver doing. We were very happy with it. And I think it even plays beyond the fans.

Read our review of The Losers