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Then the alarm bells would ring with Ang Lee Our interview with Gemini Man star Mary Elizabeth Winstead

“Then the alarm bells would ring with Ang Lee”: Our interview with “Gemini Man” star Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Mary Elizabeth Winstead has some genre experience, but the prospect of playing with Ang Smith for Ang Lee was another motivation. She tells about it on the set of the science fiction thriller “Gemini Man” in Georgia.

When we meet Mary Elizabeth Winstead on the set of “Gemini Man” in the small town of Glennville, Georgia (near Savannah) in the improvised command center of production at a rectory, the 34-year-old comes in between shooting two scenes in full costume past. Her cheek is adorned with a gaping wound, which of course is only glued on by the make-up specialists. However, her role in the futuristic action thriller “Gemini Man” by Oscar winner Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Life Of Pi”) is very physical. We talk to her about that, too.

However, her role in the futuristic action thriller “Gemini Man” by Oscar winner Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Life Of Pi”) is very physical.

At the heart of “Gemini Man” is former government killer Henry Brogan (Will Smith), who, retired, is suddenly hounded by his cloned, younger Ich Junior (a digitally computer-rejuvenated Will Smith). The client is Henry’s former boss Clay Verris (Clive Owen). The hunted must find out why he wants to kill him. He is assisted by agents Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Baron (Benedict Wong), who were supposed to supervise him.

FILMSTARTS: You do not look good, Mary …

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: [ironic] Oh yes, that looks foolhardy.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:

FILMSTARTS: Can you explain how your character Danny fits in with this crazy story?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Danny has been hired to keep an eye on Henry, who is retiring as a government killer. She is part of the DIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency. But she does not know exactly why she was hired, she only fulfills her duty. She does what she is told and believes in the system and its duties. She spies on him and looks at what he’s up to. He gets it and confronts it with it. After a while it becomes clear that someone is after Henry. But the two do not know why. Danny decides to team up with Henry and protect him. Henry is a legend as a sniper and assassin, Danny has always admired him. That’s why she goes on this crazy journey with him.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: “Ang Lee is very accurate”

FILMSTARTS: “Gemini Man” is shot in 120 frames per second (fps). Does that change your approach as an actress?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: A little bit. Ang Lee is very close to keeping everything very small and real. I think even if those little details on the screen that are visible through this technique are not there, that would be his preferred method of directing. This new technology makes precise work even more important. Any shake of the head or any expression that is just a little over the top does not look authentic anymore. Then the alarm bells would ring at Ang Lee.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
Ang Lee is very close to keeping everything very small and real.
Any shake of the head or any expression that is just a little over the top does not look authentic anymore

FILMSTARTS: Did you see such examples in the Dailies?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I’m not looking at any dailies. I usually never do that. But sometimes I go to the recording monitors and watch scenes because it’s so exciting. But I try not to hang on too much and be influenced.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:

Our set report on “Gemini Man”

FILMSTARTS: We’ve heard from other team members that it’s a more archaic experience for you actors than usual. Less makeup, more details … Does it make you more vulnerable?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I really love it. It’s great to come to such a big movie and experience the opposite of what you normally experience as a woman. “Make as much make-up as possible.” That’s nice, focused on the essentials. Everything has to be very real. It is very important that you do not see any aids, no make-up on the faces. In addition, you need less time in the mask in the morning. That’s nice.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
It is very important that you do not see any aids, no make-up on the faces.

FILMSTARTS: What made you particularly excited about “Gemini Man”?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Oh, there are many things. It’s just a fantastic, rare opportunity to make a big, fun and entertaining action movie that has a heart and says something. The film asks questions about life, aging and aging, it is about existential crises. Of course I still have the chance to work with Ang Lee. I was so excited to meet him and come to the audition. And now I’m allowed to work with him. The combination of Ang and Will Smith, the role and the dimension of the film are terribly exciting for me.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
Of course I still have the chance to work with Ang Lee. I was so excited to meet him and come to the audition.

Action and Weapons: The Klimax of “Gemini Man”

FILMSTARTS: Can you tell us something about the scene you are currently shooting and watching?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Of course. You are really lucky. We are now shooting the first proper week of action and weapons, which is the climax of the movie. It’s going to be dangerous to Will’s character Henry. We are going to flee, but we do not know who we are. This is true for most of the film, but it is becoming clearer and clearer that we are running away from our own organization for which we are actually working. This raises a lot of questions that the characters pose about themselves. Henry is already beyond this point. He is a bit dulled and disillusioned with life and his work, while my character clings to the old ideals of what it means to work for the government and the country. And also to have the pride. She wants to find out what the government really does and why she is chasing this innocent man. That makes them question everything. We’re just trying to survive while the hunters are trying hard to kill us.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:

FILMSTARTS: The genre cinema is found in your filmography again and again. What motivates you to shoot these films?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I just like this physical game, that’s exciting for me. I like characters who know what to do to survive in a dangerous situation. I’ve done more horror and sci-fi movies so far and just a few action movies like “Die Hard 4.0” or something. But not so many. This action-drama terrain here is new to me. It is really refreshing to play someone who knows how to survive and not just some love interest. That’s why I enjoy finding genre pieces like this, where there are not as many genre stereotypes as you’d expect. I find that very satisfying.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
I like characters who know what to do to survive in a dangerous situation. I’ve done more horror and sci-fi movies so far and just a few action movies like “Die Hard 4.0” or something.

FILMSTARTS: Do you have a favorite movie by Ang Lee?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Oh, that’s so difficult because he really leaves his footprint everywhere. This is so great because he has done so many genres. I think “Brokeback Mountain” is probably my favorite Ang Lee, but I really like everything he did. “The Ice Storm”, “Tiger & Dragon”, it stands for authenticity and truth, because the genre does not matter. I admire that.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
I think “Brokeback Mountain” is probably my favorite Ang Lee, but I really like everything he did. “The Ice Storm”, “Tiger & Dragon”

Turbulent casting process

FILMSTARTS: Can you give us an insight into the casting process? How did that go?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: At first I recorded a tape. That’s usually how it works now, when I speak for something. I get the script and am asked to tape some scenes, which I did in this case. Actually, I do not think much about it. After that I did not hear anything for a while – until I heard that Ang Lee liked the rehearsal and I was considered. One day, on a Saturday, I got a telephone call that Ang Lee wanted to see me the next day in Savannah. I was just about to do something in Winnipeg, Canada. the editorial: “The Parts You Lose”].

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
One day, on a Saturday, I got a telephone call that Ang Lee wanted to see me the next day in Savannah.

“Gemini Man”: Our set interview with Ang Lee

That’s why it got hectic, because we had to find out quickly how we could meet. In Savannah or Winnipeg? In the end, we met in New York to make it easier for me. At the meeting we spent a few hours together, playing through some scenes. He was wonderful, so friendly and nice. He registers every last detail. The next day I had the role. You do not hear for months and then everything happens very fast. That was great.

He was wonderful, so friendly and nice. He registers every last detail.

FILMSTARTS: What about Will Smith? Is he really as weird as we all think?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Yes, he is! He is the best. He is an absolute professional and full of energy, open to all and makes the team laugh constantly. It really looks like he loves what he does. He’s the best guy you want to be with because his good mood is contagious.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
He is the best. He is an absolute professional and full of energy, open to all and makes the team laugh constantly.

“Gemini Man”: Our set interview with Will Smith

FILMSTARTS: Is it interesting for you to see Will Smith playing two characters at the same time?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Yes, that’s it. So far, we had far fewer scenes together, in which Will Junior [the younger] was, we’ll come to that later. But it’s amazing to see how he switches between the roles. He then becomes a completely different person, he has found a way for himself 123movies. I am really curious how this technology will look later on the screen. I know his face so well over the years that it will be a special experience to see 23-year-old Will Smith back on screen. I can not wait.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
I know his face so well over the years that it will be a special experience to see 23-year-old Will Smith back on screen.

FILMSTARTS: Are you aware that you are technologically involved in writing film history?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I try not to think too much from this perspective. I’m so focused on doing my job well and doing everything Ang requires. There’s a lot I have to think about. That’s why I strive to keep the technology idea out.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead:

“Gemini Man” starts on October 3, 2019 in German cinemas.

“Gemini Man” starts on October 3, 2019 in German cinemas.
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