INT: Michelle Monaghan
After Ben Affleck showed the world he could direct, he also offered up some strong performances from his cast in GONE BABY GONE. This is very much true with the leading lady in that film opposite Casey Affleck. Michelle Monaghan did terrific work as Angie Gennero. Michelle seems to be building a solid career and there is major proof of that in her latest, EAGLE EYE. Starring opposite Shia LaBeouf, she is terrific as a mother who’d do anything to protect her son. It is a role that is very layered and she brings to it honesty and smarts.
When she walked in for a one on one conversation regarding EAGLE EYE, she immediately ask how I was doing and started a conversation about where I was from. Sometimes you can tell how genuine somebody is almost immediately, and I can honestly say she is the real deal. She is talented, beautiful and she seems to have the power to make you feel comfortable around her in a matter of seconds. And did I happen to mention, she’s pretty great in the flick too. EAGLE EYE opens today at a theatre near you.
Thank you very much.
What was it like to play this character who has so much at stake? She is really put through the wringer in this film. What was your inspiration to get through it?
You know, honestly, it’s always great writing that you sort of depend on. That’s the first thing that’s going to inspire me. You know, I have to believe this person. I have to be invested in this character, just as much as the audience. I honestly think my inspiration probably for this role was my own mother. My own mom is an extraordinary mom. She’s a real nurturer by heart. She has run a day care out of our home for like forty years… so babies are her business essentially [Laughing]. She loves children. They bring her so much joy, so I just kind of thought, well how would my mom react if something like that ever happened to anyone of us or any one of her grandchildren, or the children that she’s cared for. And that was pretty easy to put myself in my moms shoes, because she’d do just about anything to help a child in need. So I think my mom was the inspiration for that I guess.
What was it like working off Shia [LaBeouf] and finding these two characters?
Well first of all, I’d met Shia before on CONSTANTINE briefly so…
But we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together. But it was nice to get to work with him again on this.
And you both worked very well together here.
Yeah, and to work so well… And I think that’s really a testament to D.J. [Caruso] initially, because we did a pretty intensive rehearsal process. And it wasn’t even so much just going through the line, by line, by line, by line, but it was just as much spending time together and really figuring out who these two people were. Because it’s a very combative relationship initially so it was really finding that journey between the two characters. So [it went] from complete distrust to realizing, my gosh we’re in this together, how are we gonna pull this off and finding that common ground. I fortunately never really have too much of a problem finding chemistry with my costars. I think most actors are pretty open and that’s what everybody’s there to do. Shia’s no different. He is really an open book and he’s such a firm believer in doing just about anything to make a scene work. You know, he is really honest. So I really… listen, we got down and dirty on this film together. We did a lot of action stuff, we hurt each other together, we really pulled each other through it. So we really bonded, so it was easy to be able to sort of bond with him on a character level as well.
And as you mentioned, working with D.J. who is very much an actors director.
He absolutely is! You’re absolutely right. You know, that’s the great thing about D.J., I mean, the script upon first read you go, ‘Wow.’ This is an action movie, no question. But that was secondary to him in actually making this movie. Like I said, the rehearsal process, he was like, ’…listen we’ve got no movie unless you understand what these characters are going through and you understand what the movie is about.’, which is technology and it affects us and how it can be really used against us. More important than the action, you really needed to feel the dire straits, you needed to feel threatened, you needed to feel scared. And he’s a father himself, you know, five children, you know. He’s a great director, but I think the world of him as a father. So when it came to him directing me, I mean it was really him just speaking from his heart, I think. Honestly, if anything like that happened to his kids, I mean you don’t want to get between a parent and their child certainly… I mean, you would kill. But he is definitely an actors director, without a doubt.
But even though this film is character driven as well as an action film, what was it like for you dealing with a large budget film with the special effects and such… especially after GONE BABY GONE [among others]?
Well funny enough, I thought we’d be doing a lot more green screen then we did… You know, that’s true, the kept it practical.
Yeah, they kept it practical which is awesome, because I was really concerned about the green screen. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a real challenge.’ I really like to tip my hat to actors and filmmakers who use green screen because that’s a hell of a lot more challenging at the end of the day then really having something practical. So I was worried about that but it was practical. So I really, really enjoyed it… listen, I mean we had to do a lot of our stunts. And that to me is so important as an actor.
And now you’re expecting your first child…
Exactly! This happened after thank God, you have to put that in there because when I start telling people that I did all the stunts that I was doing, I don’t want them to think that I was pregnant during shooting [Laughing].
I’ll keep that in [Laughing].
I would never endanger my baby. But yeah, so that’s really important in helping you with the creative process in this movie, to do as much as you can. I mean, if you find that you’re in a movie and it’s an action movie and you’re not able to do all the action, you know, that doesn’t help you in any way. You know you want to have that adrenaline going. You want to feel the panic. So fortunately D.J. allowed us to do that.
Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@JoBlo.com.