Tuesday, May 5, 2009
In celebration of this creepy new Pandorum poster (above), we're finally posting our interviews with three of the Pandorum cast members from Wondercon. They were all a delight, especially Mr. Foster, cause he is so squee-worthy. Nommm, Ben Foster. You know, the more I learn about this movie, the more excited I get. Before we get into the interviews, here's the trailer,
And now, the interviews,
Cung Lee is soft-spoken, smiling, and extremely compact. He comes across as a very mellow, laid back, and not necessarily capable of killing you with his bare hands. But he can. Cung Lee is not just a martial artist, but is in fact a martial arts champion, with three US Open Int’l Championships, 4 US National Championships and is the current Strikeforce Middleweight Champion. Legitimately. Can kill you with his bare hands. He plays Agricultural Specialist Manh in the upcoming space thriller Pandorum.
EC: So, your character is an agricultural scientist who is also a martial arts master. Is there something in your character’s background that explains why you’re totally badass?
Cung: I think the reason my character is a badass in this movie is basically, when you wake up, and you don’t know where you are and you’ve been surviving for a while, you have to learn how.
EC: Because your character’s been up the longest.
Cung: I’ve been up very long. There’s been other members who’ve been awake longer, but for my character- being an Agricultural Specialist, I must have grown up with martial arts but I also have a nine to five job, and it’s a big job, which is why I’m on this massive ship. Being around the block, staying alive until the moment I get introduced, means that I have some experience, whether it’s kickin’ ass or staying alive or just doing what I do.
EC: Martial Arts exists as its own genre of film, but had it ever been an aspiration of yours to bring martial arts into another genre such as SciFi or fantasy, or something not so strictly based in reality?
Cung: For me, I know martial arts can only take you so far. There’s a lot of martial artists out there, but there’s not that many champions, so I think I have a unique opportunity to position myself in different movies, because of course there’s so many martial arts movies out there but for me, I like to be a little more well versed than just being a martial artist. Doing a movie like this, you need some acting chops. I’ve been working on my acting for a long time, now. When I started getting really popular in martial arts, I was offered a lot of different scripts and small roles. And I figured I better take some acting lessons- and this all started back in 1998- I was off and on with acting until the right projects came along, and here I am today with like, Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid, who are like really cool guys and awesome actors.
EC: Awesome. Was there anything you were really geeky about, as a kid?
Ben: Don’t blow it, Cung.
Cung: It’s always been Bruce Lee. Enter the Dragon.
Antje Traue & Ben Foster after the jump!
Antje Traue is a relative unknown in the States, coming from a theatrical background in Europe (singing! Dancing! Touring!), who is wearing some extremely amazing boots. As it happens, so am I.
Antje: I love your boots.
EC: Oh my God, I love your boots.
Yes, this happens. We proceed to talk about the procurement of our footwear.
Antje: I got them in Melrose, in LA. I was just walking around, I had one day off, and I found them in this market. And usually I don’t buy shoes second hand, because they don’t fit right, but these were just- mine.
EC: And no one else will have them. I saw someone else wearing [mine] in black, and I was like… nooo, my boots…
Antje: I know this feeling.
EC: So was your filming as dependent on CGI as most modern SCiFi seems to be, or were you working with a lot of practical sets?
Antje: You know, we had green screen, of course, but the sets were really remarkable. We had a great team working on the sets- it was just scary, you know, because you walk in these huge halls… We shot in Berlin, in Babelsburg [Studios], and we have these three huge halls and they have the whole spaceship in it. You read the script, and you think “This is interesting”, this and that- and then you come in and it becomes real. They did a great job, it was really fun to act in those sets.
EC: So your character’s a scientist.
EC: Are there any other primary female characters?
Antje: No. I’m by myself in the movie, with all the men, you know? And I took the experience for my character, because she wakes up in this space ship- no food, nothing to drink, no one has survived except her, so it’s about loneliness, right? It’s dark, the ship is dying, so there’s no light. So this is what Pandorum confronts you with, are your primal fears. And then she has to learn really fast to fight for her life, because in every corner there’s something that wants to kill you. It was a special time for me to go and be this character, because it’s about going back to your instincts, to your really pure instincts.
We oggle at Cung’s muscles.
Antje: You know what, when you meet him- I mean you met him- he’s such a nice guy and you think what? This guy is breaking arms, and legs, there’s no way. And then he gives you a hug- and you feel it.
EC: Was there anything geeky or scifi when you were younger that you loved?
Antje: Actually I had my first kiss during Alien.
EC: …I’m trying to think of an appropriate moment for that-
Antje: It’s really just- I know! He was just so cute, and I said well, let’s go to the cinema and he said let’s go to Alien! And I was like… well, all right!
Ah, geek memories.
Ben Foster is Ben Foster. He is particularly Fosterish this day. He does not, in real life, have wings. Before he sits down to chat, he takes a picture with Cung, in which he makes sure his smokes aren’t peeking out of his pocket, since this is going in a martial arts magazine. What a conscientious young man!
EC: So you’re kinda rocking out the genre movies. X-Men, 3:10 to Yuma, Pandorum- is there something about making genre pictures that draws you, in particular?
Ben: No, it’s whatever shows up, there’s no real master plan. What shows up, who’s involved, does it feel like something I’ve already done? So, you know. I like movies, so getting to play in different corners is exciting.
EC: So after the X-Men- did the wings-
Ben: Wore feathers.
EC: So, being in these movies, attending conventions and coming into contact with fans, how have you found that experience?
Ben: The example that makes the most sense is if you make a chair, and somebody says “I like your chair”, that’s gotta feel good. Someone says, “Your chair is interesting… I don’t know if I like it.”, that’s fair game. Someone says “I hate your fucking chair”, that’s fair too. So, it’s nice anybody goes and sees movies, it’s surprising when something comes out. And not because of an industry thing, but because making them is so intimate. So, yeah, it’s a total laugh to be here.
EC: Anything you were geeky about as a kid?
Ben: Nah, just- good old fashioned night terrors.
At this time, we are unsure of whether or not this is in fact a reference to 1993’s Night Terrors starring Robert Englund, but… probably not.
Pandorum opens September 4th, 2009