You’ve no doubt worked with some directors who just want to hide behind the monitors, be sort of quiet, and let you do your thing. Other directors want to be right next to the camera. Where does Ava land? How does she sort of interact with the cast?
She’s tactile, she’s warm, she’s got a big laugh, but she’s also very focused and she knows what she wants. And she’s really a natural leader. You know, most of my scenes were in the house, but she really fostered that family energy within the whole crew and that was really lovely to be around.
Especially in this particular era many actors, both male and female, have been talking about the opportunity to work with more female directors, more female screen writers, and you are somebody who’s been walking the walk forever.
I’ve been doing it, I’ve been doing it!
I was looking beforehand and I think over the past two years this is the fourth female director you’ve had?
Yeah, let me see. Ava, Julia Hart, Stephanie Laing...
Did you just shoot something with Jennifer Morrison?
I did a short with Jennifer Morrison. We’re talking about something else as well. Then if you go back to Gina Prince-Bythewood, Amma Assante, Lana Wachowski...
Is it something that you look for? Is it a priority or has it just luckily worked out that way?
I don’t think I’ve ever said to my agent, “This is what I’m looking for.” I think what has happened is that the stories that female directors have been interested in telling have been the most nuanced female characters that I’ve been attracted to. And I think that it’s about point of view. Of course, a man can direct a woman, a lead of a movie, but I think sometimes … I don’t know. I think sometimes it’s about that energy and that certain unique multi-faceted female perspective on a film. I don’t know. It’s my normality. It’s normal for me to work with a female director, so I’m sort of like saying, “Yeah, it’s just a director, we don’t have to keep qualifying female.” We don’t have to keep qualifying African-American or black or women of color director. She’s just a director. To me, anyway. Hopefully, that will become more commonplace for everyone.
Yeah, I was thinking the next time I interview you I hope I don’t even think to ask the question. It shouldn’t even come up. I got to ask this because you just experienced something that no one has really experienced before with “The Cloverfield Paradox.”
Yeah, a.k.a. “Space Movie” because for the longest time I was called “God Particle”and then there was this sort of transition period where it’s not going to be called “God Particle” and it [didn’t] have a title. I had to call it something. I didn’t find out the title until a week before it was dropped on Netflix. I was just calling it “Space Movie” for a year. I just thought that was safer.
But did you know it was tied to the “Cloverfield” universe when you made it?
Was that also something you found out a week before?
It was a process. It was a process of discovery.
There were different stages in that process. I signed up for a film called “God Particle” which was a stand-alone sci-fi character and sci-fi movie. I think somewhere in the post production process they decided that it might be interesting to make it into a “Cloverfield” movie. But that was certainly not in anyone’s mind except me and the cast while we were shooting.
At the end of the film your character goes into an escape shuttle and heads toward earth which, it appears, is overrun by monsters. Was that how it was written? Was there a scene that got cut that you land on earth and everything’s okay?
No, no. Like how do I put this? Because there were so many things that evolved in the movie. I had lots of surprises watching it myself.
O.K., so the follow-up is Paramount says it is making another “Cloverfield” movie that is supposed to be a sequel which is connected to this. Are you in that?
Not that I’m aware of, no.
So, have there been any discussion about keep your character’s story going?
They’ve already shot another…
Publicist: Yeah. But it’s a different [movie]. It was shot a long time ago, I think.
What was your reaction that day watching it with an audience who had no idea it was being released until it was announced during the Super Bowl?
I sort of went into shock and surprise and [was] sort of gobsmacked. “Oh, my god, this is happening and it’s happening right now.” I don’t know. It was a very unique day, I think to be part of that kind of sort of stumped experiment platform launch. It’s never been done before so there’s no real precedent for that. I had to meditate for a minute. I was like, “O.K., this is happening and it’s happening now.” I think that’s the thing. As an actor you have power over some things. Your performance and what comes out of your mouth in interviews. There are so many things I don’t have control over in terms of distribution and releasing of films. Sometimes you’ve just got to sort of stay sane and roll with the punches.
“A Wrinkle In Time” opens nationwide on March 9th. “The Cloverfield Paradox” is available on Netflix.