Starring alongside one another in next year’s Sucker Punch, Emily Browning and Jamie Chung play characters straight from the delirious mind of writer/director Zack Snyder.
Browning stars as Babydoll, a young woman trapped in a mental institution who escapes into a fantasy mirror of her own reality, battling against orcs, samurai and dragons with knives, heavy artillery and even gigantic robot suits. Chung plays Amber, another inmate of the asylum who, in the fantasy sequences joins Babydoll in the epic fight.
Also starring Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Carla Gugino, Jon Hamm, Oscar Isaac and Scott Glenn, Sucker Punch made a big impression at this year’s Comic-Con where Browning and Chung took the time to talk exclusively with ComingSoon.net about the film, their characters and the song and dance numbers involved in both the production and the audition process.
CS: Are you both enjoying Comic-Con so far?
Jamie Chung: I wish we had more of an opportunity to walk around.
Emily Browning: We want to get on the floor and see our dolls.
Chung: I thought they were lifesize because someone emailed them to me. I thought those look so cool and weird and creepy. And then I found out they were [doll-sized] and it’s still a little weird and creepy.
Browning: What if someone does voodoo on them? What if someone buys them and then puts pins in my eyes or something? (laughs)
CS: Can you tell me a little about who you each play?
Browning: Baby’s mother dies at the beginning of the film and she’s left with her abusive stepfather, who puts her into an insane asylum to be lobotomized. She essentially figures out her plan to escape. She sort of makes her friends right away in the asylum and decides to escape with them. At the same time, it sort of transfers between three different levels of reality. The asylum to the brothel and then the brothel to these crazy fight scenes that are all about them sort of working to escape from the brothel.
Chung: Amber is kind of the one that wants to make everyone happy. She wants to, ultimately, just keep her family together because this is the only family she’s ever had. She would do anything for her friends. The sacrifices that she makes are huge. She’s super loyal and the first one to jump on board with Babydoll. Any plan that involves everyone going together, she’s in.
CS: So do you all share a dreamworld or do you each have your own?
Chung: We’re all in [Babydoll's] dreamworld.
Browning: But even though it starts with Baby’s dream, it becomes about all the girls really.
Chung: And just like dreams, it’s all over-exaggerated to be whatever you want them to be. But in some ways, they’re still kind of familiar.
Browning: It’s such a difficult film to explain without giving anything away. But it is all of the girls working together, which is cool when, in so many films, there’s so many female protagonists who hate each other and are bitchy. Girl hate is so uncool. I think it’s great that these girls are banding together and fighting these crazy creatures.
CS: So you’re both pretty much badasses in this?
CS: Do you each have your own fighting style or choice of weapons?
Browning: Yeah, I have a Colt 45, which was unbelievable because it was hand engraved and customized with the whole story of the film and these cool little Japanese charms on the butt of it.
Chung: It’s kind of girly, but not.
Browning: Yeah, it’s girly but it’s hardcore. And then I have a Katana semi-sword that’s also engraved. I also have an MP7 and an M4. And in one scene I get to shoot a crazy Lewis gun, which is from World War I. It’s super big. I had to have wires for me to carry it.
Chung: It’s so ridiculous because she’s so tiny and this thing is gargantuan.
Browning: But it’s awesome. It’s just so cool because, before this, I had never even seen a gun. Being from Australia, we’re not a gun-toting people. It was amazing. And we all had so many different kinds of fight styles together like Muay Thai and karate and hand to hand combat. There was a lot of things.
Chung: As a pilot, I have a standard Glock handgun. But my big weapon is the object I’m controlling. The mecha and the helicopter.
Browning: I think you’re allowed to say that.
CS: Is this the mecha with the bunny face?
Chung: Yeah! It’s really crazy.
CS: Is it just called the mecha or does it have a name?
Chung: Just the mecha.
CS: There’s singing and dancing as well. Have you both done singing and dancing in the past?
Browning: Never. The first time anyone had ever heard me sing outside of my boyfriend and my family was me putting myself on tape to sing for Zack. When he told me in the audition process that he wanted me to sing and put it on tape, I just thought, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I can’t sing. It’s not going to happen.” My boyfriend actually convinced me. He said, “You can sing. Just do it. What’s the worst that can happen?” So we gave it a go.
Chung: Now she’s got an album dropping. (laughs)
Browning: Can you imagine? But yeah, we got to record stuff together.
Chung: I had read it in the script and thought, “Oh, that’s cool.” But I didn’t think about having to actually do it. When it came down to doing it, I was quite terrified. But I was glad I had a little crash course.
Browning: Marius [de Vries], who is doing the music, is so great.
Chung: He’s really, really good.
Browning: He’s a genius. He did “Moulin Rouge!” A lot of the stuff he wanted me to sing, I kept saying, “I can’t do that. I can’t do that.” He would come with me and just dance around and we’d scream together until he got what he wanted.
Chung: And as soon as I started, I wasn’t putting any emotion into the singing. He said, “Pretend you’re actually singing to her and are in the scene.” And I got it. It just sounds better.
CS: What did you pick to sing for your audition?
Emily: Well, it was set in the 60′s and I didn’t know what kind of song we were going to be singing in the film but was told to pick a soul kind of song. I heard about the fact that I had to sing two days before I had to put it on tape. So I picked the soul song I knew all the words to. “Killing Me Softly.” Apparently, Kristy Carlson, who did all the casting, apparently I made her cry. So I picked the right song. Apparently it’s one of Deb’s favorite songs as well. That was the selling point.
CS: Jamie, did you sing for your audition?
Chung: Nope! I don’t think I would have gotten it if I did. As soon as I found out that I was going to have to go to sound studio without them having heard my singing, I told my lawyer to sign the contracts right away so they could lock me into the project.
CS: Are the songs in this completely original or are they pop songs?
Emily: The dances are completely original. The songs that go with the dances are original. But we have a few songs from lots of different eras. The music is going to be insane.
Chung: It’s unbelievable. Even watching the trailer, it was so awesome. He has really good taste in music.
Browning: It’s gonna be so huge. The music is such a big element of the film. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s really cool.
CS: So you might be singing a modern pop song, but it’s the 60′s?
Browning: Well, that’s the awesome thing. Zack has just created his own world. He made the rules. We don’t have to follow anything too strictly. Our costumes and the sets are so perfectly early 60′s, but the songs and the weapons we use are from all over the place.
CS: Do you each have a specific prop outside of the weapons?
Chung: Yeah, I think we did. It was a certain touch. The Amber touch was in the dance sequences and then they had a version for it for the fight sequences. I thought that was pretty neat.
Browning: Yeah, we all sort of have our little touch. The girls are so not stereotypical, but we still have our little signature. Like Baby is kind of a schoolgirl. She’s still got that sense that she’s in her own little school. Each character was based around a sort of more conventional image of a girl. So that was really cool to see how that translated into all the different costumes. The costumes were just ridiculous. Someone was hand making corsets. That was their job. They just handmade corsets.
Chung: They just had to hand glue every crystal onto one of her outfits.
Browning: Yeah, I had this one crazy outfit that’s just covered in rhinestones.
Chung: She was a giant sparkle.
Browning: A chandelier.