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Sucker Punch: Zach Snyder Interview


Director Zach Snyder, right, and producer Deborah Snyder arrive at the premiere of "Sucker Punch" in Los Angeles, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. "Sucker Punch" will be released in theatres on Friday, March 25. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Movie magician Zack Snyder is at it again. The director of mind-blowing mega-movies like Watchmen, 300, Dawn Of The Dead and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole seems to be inevitably into competing with his own creations, with the hallucinatory girl fight fantasy thriller, Sucker Punch.

Practically confessing during this encounter to being completely unhinged but unfazed by any potential side effects in letting his imagination run wild with Sucker Punch, Zack talked the euphoria of assembling  armed to the teeth battling hotties, insane asylums, brothels, fighter jets and dangerous dragons for the seriously split personality blockbuster.


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And a cast of unshackled, out of control rowdy females counting Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish Vanessa Hudgens, Carla Gugino, and Jena Malone. Whew.

A zombie thriller, comic book movies, an animated owl tale and now this. So you are just schizophrenic? Zack Snyder: Completely schizophrenic.

Are you finding it harder to top yourself? ZS: Well, I don’t think of it like that.

How did this massive idea for Sucker Punch come to you? ZS: This story kind of happened over quite a period of time. I had been working on this other story a long time ago, and there was this character in it, this Baby Doll character. And she went on these kind of fantasies. It was like, oh, that’s cool. Then we just kept talking about her, and sort of seeing how it evolved.

You know, five girls go on crazy adventures, and they’re in a brothel, But they’re really in an insane
asylum. Okay, that sounds great. It is a bit of a struggle, but on the other hand it is original. And the girls
are amazing, and the setting is sexy.

What’s with the title? ZS: I didn’t want to like do Untitled Zack Snyder Project. And Sucker Punch kind of summed up how I felt about it. When I was working on it. I don’t know…

How did you figure out what would be pop culture references, and what would just spring from your
imagination?
ZS: It’s weird. Because when you distill something down, it just becomes how pop culture has sort of
digested these images, and things like that. Then I’m sort of using myself as a filter of some kind. But it was more like those influences were just in us and we went, oh that would be cool.

What’s the big thrill of creating something completely original like this? ZS: It’s a big deal, I take very seriously. And then the struggles the girls go through, I take it really seriously as far as their emotional struggles. The girls have trained so hard, and they’ve done such a great job. It’s good fun too. They’re all crazy individuals, every single one of them. They took these characters that I wrote, and they turned it into a real thing. They really took it all the way.

You’ve got all these different levels of reality going, how do you keep them connected? ZS: I think it has to do with the tone. It’s kind of dark, whether it’s in the insane asylum or the brothel or these adventures, everything is dangerous. And everyone is emotionally trying to find their way. And I think those adventures are all metaphors for what’s happening emotionally when the event is happening, and where these transitions are happening.

In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Emily Browning portrays Babydoll in a scene from "Sucker Punch." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Clay Enos)

So that part of it was of course, super exciting. But also what the girls bring and the drama of Baby Doll’s story in the end really, is what became the thing that made me go, okay. I’ve got to make it because it’s cool. I want to see it, I want to see this worked out. That kind of became the thing, then of course the studio was like, what is this? It’s not based on anything, and it’s super strange.

300 was pretty much an all male cast, and Sucker Punch is pretty much all female. How come? ZS: It really just worked out that this story happened to be about these girls. So it wasn’t anything where
I was like oh, I’ve been around men too much, now I’ve got to make a movie with only women in it.

Why did you make the decision not to go 3D? ZS: I am a fan of 3D, and we really were considering it. But we had seen a bunch of tests and it didn’t sit with me that great. Without being baked in, it just felt a little weird. It didn’t feel right for this movie.

What about all the training you put everybody through? ZS: The idea was to feel like, in a sense, that there was no movie to make. That what they were doing was just every day go to train, go to the gym, shoot a gun, go to bed and wake up and do it again. I think that’s kind of a cool way to think about it, and I hope that their experiences together in that setting then had an influence on the movie itself. And having to do those scenes, there was a weird leftover from the sweating and the gun shooting.

As a male making a movie about the vivid imagination of four women, how careful did you have to be
about the line between empowerment and you know, exploitation? ZS:
It’s all about power, the movie. So any time you’re dealing with power and men and women, you are on the edge with everybody. So this movie is all about being on the edge in that way. Like when is a person strong, and when is a person weak. That’s what it’s all about, you know, and when to take advantage of that. And when do you have to dig deep down inside yourself.

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