Elektra Luxx follows its title character, first introduced by writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez in 2009’s Women in Trouble, who is now a retired porn superstar, trying to cope with impending motherhood while coming to terms with the death of the baby’s father and her split from the porn world. Even though Elektra Luxx (Carla Gugino) is trying to live a quieter life, reinventing herself as a sex education instructor at her local community center, she quickly ends up entangled with a flight attendant (Marley Shelton) looking to have her fiancé seduced, an attractive private detective (Timothy Olyphant) who proves to be quite appealing, an over-eager sex blogger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who’s obsessed with her, a best-selling author (Kathleen Quinlan) looking to turn her life into a novel, and even the Virgin Mary (Julianne Moore) herself.
During the film’s press day, actress Carla Gugino did this exclusive interview with Collider and talked about the appeal of this rather unusual character, how much she enjoyed getting to revisit Elektra Luxx, and the challenge of shooting a film in 15 days. She also talked about how getting to see the final visuals of Sucker Punch (in theaters on March 25th) was like seeing the story brought to life for the first time, being part of the ensemble of the Garry Marshall film New Year’s Eve, and playing really strong women on both Entourage and Californication. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Since this is the second time you’re taking on this role, how did you originally get involved with this and what was it about Elektra Luxx that made you want to play her?CARLA GUGINO: Basically, Sebastian Gutierrez, who wrote it and directed it, had this idea. He had a scene from a movie that hadn’t gotten made and he thought, “Maybe I could make a short film of this.” And then, he thought, “Or, I could string 10 of these together and make a full-length feature, but do it in 10 days.” So, he gave me the script and said, “I wrote this character with you in mind. She’s a porn star. But, she’s a porn star who finds out she’s pregnant and, ultimately, is deciding whether to have the baby or not.” He went on with this whole thing and I was like, “She sounds like the best character, ever!”
And then, we started compiling a cast of amazing actors, most of whom one or both of us knew, and just did this experiment. While we were probably half-way through the shoot, which was obviously very short, we thought, “Oh, there is so much more to do with these characters.” Sebastian said, “Yeah, I’m feeling like we should do a trilogy. Only huge movies usually do trilogies, so why don’t we do a trilogy of this great little character piece.” That’s how it all came about.
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Carla Gugino Exclusive Interview EVERY DAY; Updates on SUCKER PUNCH, MR POPPER’S PENGUINS, ENTOURAGE and I MELT WITH YOUSunday, January 16th, 2011
We sat down with Carla Gugino to talk about her new movie, Every Day, a story about a family’s struggle to survive life’s curve-balls that ultimately bring out the best and worst in us and make us closer.
Ned (Liev Schreiber) is a television writer on a seedy drama whose life is turned upside down when his wife’s (Helen Hunt) estranged father (Brian Dennehy) moves in with their family. Carla plays his sexy, free-spirited co-worker who lives in the moment and doesn’t think too much about the consequences. She’s a playful character who introduces some unexpected excitement into Ned’s life while nearly upending it in the process.
Carla talked to us about what attracted her to the project, what she liked best about her character, and also talked about her upcoming films like Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, I Melt with You, Mr. Popper’s Penguins. In addition, she shared her thoughts on next season’s Entourage and the Sundance Film Festival. Hit the jump for what she had to say.
Can you talk about how you got involved with this film and what attracted you to the project?
CARLA GUGINO: It was a very typical way in which I got involved in the sense that the script was sent to me. I got a beautiful note from the director which is not typical, which is always very appreciated, and I just opened up the script and started reading it and really loved the story and really loved what it had to say in regards to just the struggles of being an adult and a human being and also loved that this character was such a fun part of the story and such a playful element of it. That, to me, was just very appealing to play.
What was it about your character that really resonated with you and did you draw inspiration from anyone that you know?
LOS ANGELES — Carla Gugino runs a hand through a mop of brown curls, crosses bare feet and lets out a sigh that seems to dissolve her slightly into her living room sofa.
“I know it sounds strange, but Los Angeles feels quiet to me,” says Gugino, relaxing after returning from her other home in New York. “I love that city, but it’s non-stop. I need a change of pace, or I go a little crazy.”
Change hasn’t been much of an issue for the 39-year-old, who co-stars in the Dwayne Johnson action film Faster, which opened Wednesday, collecting $3.5 million in its first two days, according to Variety.
Since leaving modeling to pursue acting full-time in 1988, Gugino has cruised through 66 film and television roles, from Entourage‘s wily powerbroker Amanda Daniels to Spy Kids trilogy family matriarch Ingrid Cortez to Robert De Niro’s sultry lover in Righteous Kill .
But if Gugino is making a name for herself, it’s as geek goddess.
Consider her fanboy resume: Sin City, Watchmen and Zack Snyder’s upcoming femme fatale project, Sucker Punch, in March.
The Sarasota, Fla. native would seem an unlikely candidate for nerd queen. Her home, located a few blocks from the Kodak Theater, site of the Oscars, brims with broken-in furniture, colorful pillows antique rugs and the occasional script. Not a comic book to be found.
Gugino, though, treats most roles as if they were Shakespeare, colleagues say. And the hours she logs at comic-book gatherings and sci-fi conventions do not go unnoticed among fans. One smitten blogger deemed her the “Icon of Comic-Con.”
“I think it’s her willingness to go all out for her roles,” says Jenna Busch of the blog column Girl Meets Lightsaber, dedicated to all things pop culture. “We geeks just want someone who gets as excited about genre material as we do. Carla seems to do that for every role.”
Snyder says he bumped into Gugino at a comic-book event and recognized her from the pulp film Sin City (which she chose over The Pacifier because of her fondness for director Robert Rodriguez ). He offered her a role for his comic book adaptation Watchmen on the spot.
“I admit, I was a little starstruck,” he says. “She has this fanboy cred that’s hard to explain. I wasn’t going to make her read; I just know I wanted her in my movie.”
A lot of directors do. With her retro style and deep voice, Gugino says expected roles to come later in her career.
“I knew people thought I was older than I was,” she says. “So I hoped to hit my stride around now. I’d like to think I have.”
Still, Gugino is hardly the iconic comic book damsel. She’s well aware of how Hollywood treats women as they eclipse 40. One of her first film roles came in 1993, as Robert De Niro’s daughter in This Boy’s Life.
Fifteen years later, she was cast as his lover in Righteous Kill.
“I don’t think that would happen to a lot of actors in this industry,” says Gugino, who worked as a teenage fashion model and remains a devoted stage actress. “When most 40-year-old actors get a girlfriend in the movies, she’s 28. It doesn’t work in reverse.”
Gugino catches herself sounding angry. “I can’t complain about all the work that’s coming,” which will include the comedy Girl Walks Into a Bar with longtime boyfriend Sebastian Gutierrez in December. and Mr. Popper’s Penguins in August with Jim Carrey.
Don’t bother trying to find a through-line to Gugino’s career, though. She gave up long ago.
“I don’t know if there’s an overarching goal,” Gugino says. “I still get excited about all kinds of movies. There are great directors doing all kinds of genre. I don’t think of one as arty or nerdy. I guess that’s why they let me hopscotch around. That’s what I really love to do.”