Amber Valletta talks about getting forcibly sexed up for her gross, futuristic "user" in the ultra-violent future wold of Gamer, the movie she wouldn't let her son see.
We chatted with lovely Amber Valetta about the cold and cruel futuristic world Crank's Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor created for Gamer. A world where people can control others like puppets, and believe you me, that's hardest on the ladies. Especially when your user makes you dress up in tiny blue short-shorts and crazy orange wigs. Valetta talked about what it all means, and what the Grey Goo theory has to do with Gamer.
So you were a sociology major ... what do you think you learned about people in general in this whole experience?
I think first and foremost films are for enjoyment. The arts in general are for two things: they're for entertainment purposes, but they're also to reflect our dreams, our hopes, the present, the future, the past. Whether it's good or bad.
So, I think that this movie says a lot about what's going on today and also where we could possibly be moving to in a darker future. And I think that on a psychological level, if you look at the scheme of maybe a wider consciousness, there is this lack of intimacy, this acceptance of exploitation, this desensitization to violence and sex. And I think that's what this movie is really, on a deeper level, really showing and saying.
To what degree would you sell yourself? I would give my life for my son; and in this movie my character would give her life for her daughter, and she does. She's willing to be brutally ... I mean, they softened it a bit, but she's brutalized. And Gerard Butler's character is fighting for his life. So there are two people who are going to the most extremes to get back to one another and to their child, so I think there's something unique and interesting about those characters in the movie, but there's also something interesting about the bigger social commentary of what the film's saying. And it's ... disturbing, it is disturbing.
How do you think people will react to it overall?
I think there are going to be different reactions. I think people are gonna totally get off on that it's a ride; the film looks like a video game in the sense that it's constantly moving, and angles are all over the place, and so I think there's going to be that aspect. I think there's gonna be people who just love action, I think there's gonna be people who are so into the futuristic element of it, with the nanotechnology [the tech Gamer uses to control humans], and then I think there's some people who will just get into the whole thing of it, you know? And I'm sure it's gonna not be for everybody. This movie is not for everybody.
When you say 'not for everybody,' do you mean the violence?
Yeah, I mean, I would never show it to my son. Maybe when he's like, a teenager or something, but I would never show it to my son.
Are you worried that ... there's a 'humanist thesis' to the film, but it's an awful lot of blow-shit-up action?
Oh yeah, but the thing is - that [thesis] in itself is a satirical point of view. It's also showing you how, we don't give a shit. We'll just blow shit up and everybody will be all "Yay!" you know?
How much of it the satirical aspect was discussed on set?
I think the directors [Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor] knew exactly what they were doing; in fact I know they knew what they were doing. We talked about nanotechnology, we talked about the kind of subtext that was going on. But then, at the same time, they know they're there to entertain. It's not like we're all trying to get on a soapbox and be like, stuffing some message down people's throat. I think the point of an artist is expressing different ideas and showing different things, whether it's through this kind of avenue or something else. But I definitely know they knew what they were doing. I know they thought it was funny because that's the kind of guys they are. They laugh, but I think they also think it's ... I mean, we talked about how nanotechnology is terrifying.
I don't know, I think this movie definitely pushes some buttons; it pushes my buttons even.
You've got one strange futuristic ensemble on for most of this film. Were there any other favorite little world-building moments?
They let me be extremely involved with costume, hair and makeup and we all got to share ideas and from day one when we tested different looks it was really clear to me that when I was in society, there was going to ... those aspects were going to be so important to me, (like) the costume.
My gamer creates an avatar; so it was vital to the character. When my character, Angie, is in her real life, I had to be as raw and scrubbed down - I was like, please don't put any makeup, as little as possible; the hair, I would (say), 'Let's not wash the hair' - we tried to stay as true to form as we could.
And then all the sets were just amazing. I mean really really cool. Like the scenes with Milo were great. It was really crazy; and then the club scene, the raves -
Gamer went through a lot of edits, what got cut that maybe you wish or you can't wait for people to see in the DVD release or bonus features?
Emovie gets cut, but this movie in particular, the way they wanted the movie to look ... was like this constant movement and action, so I don't think the movie was cut because of this or that. I think it's the way they wanted the movie to speak to people. Those things coming out on DVD? I think there are extended scenes with Milo and I that are great, some of the rave, I think there was some really great stuff in the rave that they didn't show because the rave's only 20, not even, maybe 10-15 seconds?
On the in-game nanotechnology....
I think the scary thing is is that nanotechnology is so ... we just don't know that much. We don't really know what it can do if it gets inside of you, the human body. It's not intend to go inside the human body, and they're already putting it out on the market. And there's the whole Grey Goo theory [that is referenced in the film].
Can you elaborate about that?
You should ask (Mark an Brian) about the grey goo theory. It's just the theory that nanotechnology because it's so tiny can pass even the membrane of your brain, but it can do that with anything. So they would take over. It's kinda like that book Crichton wrote, Prey.
So this cup of coffee could just become a mess of cells because nanotechnology is screwing up the molecules?
Gamer comes out this Friday September 4th.