Monica Bellucci Interview – SHOOT ‘EM UP

     September 5, 2007

Getting to participate in a roundtable interview with Monica Bellucci sort of felt like winning a lottery… it didn’t feel like work… it just felt good.

Not only is she one of the most beautiful women on this planet, but she can act and she happens to speak multiple languages. Basically, she’s a dream that happens to be real. But enough of my love for Monica, as if you let me I could probably spend all night writing sonnets and poems.

The reason you’re here is not my obsession…but to hear what she had to say about making this crazy movie called “Shoot ‘Em Up.”

As I’ve written again and again, “Shoot ‘Em Up” is a kick-ass movie that opens this Friday. And if you happened to miss the movie clips I posted, just click here to get a taste of what’s to come this weekend.

And now…that interview.

During our discussion Monica talks about how she came to the project, what she has coming up, and I even get a question in about working with the Wachowski Brothers on “The Matrix” sequels.

As always, you can either read the transcript below or listen to the interview as an MP3 by clicking here. You can also download the audio and put it on an iPod or any portable player for listening later.

“Shoot ‘Em Up” opens this Friday and I cannot recommend it enough. Look for more interviews tomorrow night.

Monica Bellucci: What can I tell you because he (Michael Davis) talks, talks, talks. I’m sure you know everything already.

Question: What was the most appealing part of the film that made you want to take on this character?

Monica: Oh, everything. When I read the script I was in Europe and I said when I read the script it was crazy and how he is going to make this movie so I went to Los Angeles and met Michael Davis and then he told me about everything about he wanted to do and I said yes I want to do it. I had so much fun playing DQ because she’s totally free. She does dangerous, dark, dirty things but in a playful way. It’s like the movie, the movie is a comedy, it’s over the top, it’s like video games in some way. Of course, it’s violent but it’s also rock and roll, sexy, dark, scary, with a lot of humor in it.

Q: How did Michael explain his inspirations for the character?

Monica: Uh, actually I didn’t know what was in his mind in the beginning about my character really, because she could have been Italian, French, American, everything and I think that he wanted to bring the emotion in the middle of all of this mess and violence and blood, he wanted the female character to bring just the emotion, because in the end it’s all about love. Not that it’s funny because anyway what saved Mr. Smith is love.

Q: In the films that you’ve been in you’ve played very sexy, strong women and I think that’s why you’re one of my favorite actresses. Where you do you to get yourself ready for that? In your head? How do you prepare yourself generally and for this particular film?

Monica: I like to do on screen what I’m not in life. In life I’m much more weak and insecure and so then you know I like to play characters that are stronger than me.

Q: How does it feel to be considered one of the most beautiful women in the world?

I’m too old for that.

Do you think that this role is a role that American actresses wouldn’t take?

Why not?

Because some American actresses don’t like to be seen in certain ways.

I don’t know. You know, when I received the script I thought the character was really, really strong and ok, there is one sex scene in the movie of course, but there’s much more what you would imagine than what you really see. That’s why the scene is very sensual but nothing more than that.

Michael also explained how he feels in a love scene you have to give the actors specific things to do so even as outlandish as this scene is how did it compare to other love scenes you might have done?

You know, of course when I do a film like Irreversible there’s nothing to do with that because then the violence is much more realistic and you know when you watch a film like Irreversible it’s just so difficult to watch because it’s like a documentary. It’s like so real. Here the violence is unreal. Nobody kills anybody with carrots, you know so I mean it’s just entertaining.

Your relationship with milk in this movie is kind of strange. The scene opens with this kind of S&M with this milk and at then end DQ is working at a Dairy Queen.

This is the script. This was in the script, but actually for me it was I didn’t know anything about lactating stuff. So when I read the script I said what is this? Then he explained to me and did a big research but you know lactating prostitutes and actually you kind of understand she’s lactating because she doesn’t need to make love with men in some way. She comes from far…her child was killed by her pimp so she doesn’t want to have violent men around her so that’s why she became lactating. There’s a reason for everything in this movie.

Where there any difficult scenes you had to do that you found difficult to do?

Well, for me the difficult scene I had to do was the love scene because it’s an action scene at the same time. We had to rehearse and you know, it looks sexy but it was dangerous.

I was going to ask you, how long did it take you to film that scene?

I think one day maybe.

When you’re in the movie with a baby, taking care of the baby do you draw on any maternal instincts or is it pure fantasy in this?

When you play a mother and you are a mother it’s easier and of course the baby didn’t have any risks in the movie because I’m a mother so I was really careful and also the baby was on set for just a few minutes because most of the time it was just special effects.

So what leads you to picking the scripts? Do you pick your scripts; do your agents send you some stuff? What’s your…

I’m in a special situation because I’m Italian and I work in Italy, I work in France, so once in a while I come to America and it’s just a strange situation, you know? Yeah, when I make choices it’s by instinct. I read the script and I said I will do that. It’s not my agent because my agent sends scripts and they can say oh, I like that but then I say no, I don’t like that, you know? It’s just my decision.

Since you’ve filmed Shoot ‘Em Up have you been working on other projects?

Yeah. I’ve done a French film directed by Alain Corneau with Daniel Auteuil. It’s going to be in Toronto for the festival. It’s a film noir. Then I just finished a French movie…an Italian movie sorry. It’s a love story during the 2nd world war. Very tragic and just finished 2 weeks ago after 4 months.

What’s the name of that one?

It’s Wild Blood. It’s a true story that really happened during the 2nd world war between 2 actors and he was addicted to cocaine and heroine and she was addicted to him and she died because of that.

The 1st project you mentioned can you talk about your character in that?

She’s a woman who’s ready to do everything to save her man. It’s a gangster story. It’s a re-make of a French movie called the Deuxieme Souffle. Yeah, in English it’s going to be The Second Wind.

Are you going to be going to Toronto?

Yeah. Toronto for the festival and I’m blonde in the movie. Yeah, because it’s a story for the end of the 50’s beginning of 60’s so it’s a French story so I wanted to play those women who made me dream like Catherine Deneuve or Bridgette Bardot so it’s that kind of look.

Had you ever colored your hair before?

Yeah, I did a film called Stone Council where I play a mother…she has to save her child and I have short hair and no makeup—a different kind of look.

When you get a script how do you…well, how do you decide if the nudity is justified? Because you’re not afraid of it, you’re comfortable with it. Do you think as you get older it’s changing?

Yeah, I won’t do this forever, then they won’t be beautiful anymore. No, I’m not scared of nudity that’s for sure. I have nothing against and maybe because I come from fashion and all models they have no problem with nudity and they’re perfectly comfortable with their own body so I did films like Malina or films like Irreversible where I had nude scenes. It doesn’t bother me—nudity—on screen if there’s a reason for that.

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I remember when we spoke to you for Irreversible and it seems like you like to bring that up in context of every movie we do. How does that film several years later resonated with people?

5 years later. This film is just a really important movie. It was crazy and difficult and violent but at the same time I think the work that Gaspar Noe did it was just an incredible work. So I think it’s one of the most important steps in my career.

Do more people discover it or know about it now from video and DVD?

Yeah because this film has a really long history. It went all over the world and as you know it doesn’t happen very often that a French movie and an Italian movie can travel around, really. For Marlena or Irreversible an Italian movie and a French movie to have a chance to get around in the world but as you know it doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes in Italy or France we do films that are successful there but they don’t travel.

I know you recently wrapped a project and are you already thinking about things you’re going to be doing in the future?

Yeah, I going to start shooting in November a thriller with Sophie Marceau. Me and her together in the same movie. The director is a young director—she’s 33 or something and her name is Marina Devanne. She’s a young director and an actress. She’s in a movie called In My Skin. Very difficult to watch the movie, but very interesting movie. Me and Sophie are going to do her next movie.

Why was it difficult to watch that movie?

It was just very dark.

What’s your relationship with Sophie Marceau in the film?

Oh, you’ll see.

You also worked with Wachowski Brothers and I wanted to know…

You love them, I can see that.

I was going to say that can you talk about the experiences looking back on the…and being involved with The Matrix?

I wanted to do Matrix because when I saw the 1st one I was in Paris and I came out from the movie and said wow, I’ve never seen something like that, it’s so incredible. Then I was in America for Marlena to promote Marlena in 2001, they called me and wanted to meet me and I was very happy to work on this project. Really, it was an incredible experience. Those 2 guys are so talented and actually I know they are preparing another movie so I can’t wait to see. They really are just so talented.

Are there any kinds of movies you would not want to do?

Horror movies?

That’s it?

Anything is possible. I like comedies, I like thrillers, I like love stories. Everything is beautiful it depends if the film is good, who cares? Everything is interesting.

How old are your children now?


And how is that stage of motherhood?

Amazing. Also she travels always with me so you know I was in Toronto while I was shooting this movie for 4 months and she was with me. When she goes to school then it’s going to change in 3 years. I won’t work anymore. I’ll stay out of the business. No, I’m kidding, but I won’t make 3 movies a year. Because when you have a baby and she goes to school it becomes really difficult…it’s so difficult you know, to be an actress and to be a good mother at the same time.

How do you balance that act? That’s a pretty heavy act to balance.

Right now no because it’s easy she’s with me all the time. I’m sure that if I were a doctor or a lawyer it would be worse because you can’t bring your babies with you when you go to the office. For me I was breast feeding and I was shooting at the same time and she was with me on set and no problem. Then when she goes to school, things are going to change.

When this movie comes out will you go in and dub it in Italian?

Of course and in French.

And in French as well?

I do each movie three times, that’s why I can’t watch it anymore. I don’t just do the film once, I do it three times.

So you’ve already done it for this?

No, I have to dub in French at the end of the month because the film is going to come out in France September 12th. In Italy it’s going to come out in January or February. I don’t dub in Japanese.

They don’t pay you extra for that do they?

(Monica smiles and we all laugh) Before in the beginning I didn’t say I wanted to be paid, then after a while each movie I do has to come out in many different languages and I say come on, I’ve done the movies in so many different languages it’s crazy. I don’t like to dub. I hate to do that.

Well, in dubbing don’t you have to do the DVD and stuff?

Mostly because I like when I have to act and direct. I like when I have to act and direct then when you have to dub you’re by yourself in front of the wall and I’m always scared that you’re not good like when you are in real when you act.

You said that when you got this work you didn’t know anything about lactating prostitutes. So when you read the script what special did you think you could bring to this particular role?

You don’t know why you choose some characters instead of others. I should go into therapy. You don’t know. You just read a script and say this is very interesting. It’s incredible because I’m very interested in very dark films all the time. I don’t know why.

Are you going to let your daughter see all your movies when she grows up?

Yeah, but she’s going to be very old, because I’ve done very difficult movies, very difficult movies when I think about it. This movie, Irreversible, The Passion of the Christ, you know all those violent movies, and I’m not violent in life.

Would you be interested in doing a children’s movie like a movie you know your daughter could see?

Yeah. I’d just have to find the script.

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