The Sucker Punch trailer heaped fantasy upon fantasy. But what does it all mean? We asked director Zack Snyder to explain his mecha attack bunny dream world to us. Plus check out these gorgeous exclusive pieces of Sucker Punch artwork.
These new character posters below were created by artist Alex Pardee, and if you take a look at the bunny painted atop the Sucker Punch girl's killing machine, you can see he clearly left his mark there as well. We're completely taken by the image of Carla Gugino as Mrs. Schulz the burlesque madame. All of these posters were being distributed on the Comic Con floor to a handful of lucky attendees!
In other Sucker Punch news, after the Comic Con panel we participated in a small roundtable with director Zack Snyder and producer Debbie Snyder. Which we implored him to try and explain some of the insanity we'd seen on screen that afternoon.
Little side note: right before this roundtable began, the Great Pen Stabbing of Comic Con 2010 had just occurred — which got us all talking about nerd rage and death threats. And while I speculated that Snyder would have received the most death threats when the public found out he was turning Watchmen into a movie, he revealed that his remake of Dawn of the Dead was actually the worst, because "people take their zombies seriously." Who knew? But we digress — here is the roundtable we participated in, where Snyder helps us understand his hyper stylized dreams.
Zack Snyder: I dream in a different way. I guess that's what our movie is about, for me anyway. one of the mechanisms of the film, or the procedural parts of the movie, is that when one of the girls fantasizes or closes her eyes, whatever you want to call it, their adventure parallels a little adventure they're doing in reality. Like, for instance, they need to steal a lighter that has dragon etched on it. It's the simplest thing ever. That's what they're really doing. Baby Doll's version of it is what you see, that's the movie — part of it. She closes her eyes, they go to another freakin' world, they fight a dragon, they have a B-25 with a jet engine, they finally slit the baby dragon's throat and then...
Debbie Snyder: Steal the fire.
Zack Snyder: Absolutely, they steal the fire. She ends up killing the dragon and when she comes to, and the music ends, and that object has been stolen because she has successfully distracted the person they needed to distract. There's like this kind of super-simple, straightforward procedural part of it. But then there's like this insane, when she actually does fantasize, it's a fantasy. I just use my own imagination as a template. So, yeah they do dream big.
How much of the movie is made up of those fantasies and how much of it is in the real world?
Debbie Snyder: There's four fantasies.
So, [the film] is much more taking place in reality?
Debbie Snyder: Well, there's kind of three levels of reality.
Zack Snyder: I think Inception had four levels of reality. So, we didn't have quite as much money [Laughs].
Debbie Snyder: Basically, the real world is book-ended almost like The Wizard of Oz. I always think of it that way.
Zack Snyder: So, what's happening is that there's a giant tornado at the beginning [Laughs]. But really, it is book-ended.
And there's multiple levels of the fantasy? Could you expand on that?
Zack Snyder: Baby [the main character] is committed to the insane asylum by her stepfather who wants her lobotomized so that she won't be able to testify or tell the police what he's done to her. He pays the evil orderly off and the guy's like, "No problem, but it's going to take me a little while because we don't have a doctor here that can do the lobotomy." So, in five days, the guy's coming to do it and so in those five days she comes up with a plan to escape because she wants to get out before that happens. That's really, sort of, the story of the movie. That she can help these girls and the other girls want to help her get out, because they want to get out. But then, somewhere along the way, she actually starts imagining that this insane asylum is a brothel, and that she is a virgin, and that–
Debbie Snyder: In five days, she's going to be deflowered.
Zack Snyder: This rich guy's coming to take her virginity.
So that's were all the online chatter about prostitution came from?
Zack Snyder: Yes, exactly. In that reality, the shows that the girls do are shows they do for the men that come to that club and because she isn't a performer yet, she doesn't work out in the club, Mrs. Schulz [Carla Gugino] wants to train her to dance and become one of the girls. Problem is, Baby's real shy and so each one of the fantasies is her kind of learning more about, you know, she closes her eyes whenever she dances, and we never see her dance, but what we see is the fantasy.
But the fantasy has repercussions in the world of reality?
Debbie Snyder: Everything ripples back to reality.
Zack Snyder: Yeah, and the trick is, what I tried to do is fuck with that a little bit too because I didn't want it to be like one of those procedural things where like they say, "Oh, if I stab your leg, your leg starts bleeding in reality!" That was a thing that, I was aware of that convention and I wanted to kind of fuck with it.
Like Nightmare on Elm Street?
Zack Snyder: Yeah, exactly. But it's like one of the main rules of dream-making movies is that you have to, you know, "If I die here, if I die in the Matrix, do I die in real life?" It's like, "Yes, okay? Well, that's a bummer."
Debbie Snyder: I think at the end of the day it's about, when things are so bad, where do you go, what do you do to escape that, how do you cope with that? A lot of times you'll visualize somewhere else, you want to be somewhere else and I think Baby Doll finds strength, like she goes to a different place and actually each time she seems to get a little bit more strength and a little bit more strength.
Zack Snyder: Yeah, Scott Glenn is kind of like her Yoda.
How awesome is Scott Glenn?
Zack Snyder: He's the most awesome person on planet Earth. He'll say, "Listen, Zack, I know we have to do ADR but I've gotta go. I'm flying out to Hawaii to go deep sea spear fishing," where he free dives down like forty feet and kills these giant deep sea tuna while sharks are circling him. But not bullshit either, by the way, like I would tell it as bullshit, but he's like, "Oh yeah, and on the way back I got my new leathers, my Ducati, and I gotta go check that out and I gotta go to Well Springs, just get my leather broken in and then I'm gonna shoot some machine guns," and I'm like okay, whatever, you're like the most awesome person in the world.
He plays a Sensei or something like that?
Zack Snyder: Sort of, because it all sort of folds back around on itself, in the end, you're like, "Oh, okay," but yes, for practical purposes he is Baby Doll's Yoda.
I really like the uniqueness of the film's approach. A gritty, violent, fantasy-based, primarily female-driven story. Could you talk a little about how that idea came about and what type of audience you hope to appeal to?
Zack Snyder: Well, I hope the film will appeal to, you know, everybody because I don't think that boys are going to see the images and be like, "I don't want to watch that, it's about a bunch of girls with machine guns."
Debbie Snyder: By the way, there's sexy girls, orcs, Samurai, and all these creatures.
Teal orcs like Tolkien orcs?
Zack Snyder: Sort of Tolkien orcs.
How many genres does the film touch upon? You're touching on steampunk, there is a fantasy element, then there's flat out science fiction, then there's gothic horror, can you give us a list?
Zack Snyder: I don't know if I have a list, but I can tell you. Really for me it was just about, again, this whole dreaming concept of just like, "why not?" I'd say, "No, it's a bigger mecha, and it's like the Samurai are ten feet tall, how about that? How cool would that be? Maybe one of the Samurai has a mini-gun and maybe one of the samurai has a rocket-launcher."
Maybe on the flip side of that what genres aren't in this film?
Zack Snyder: Romantic Comedy. There's no Western.
You guys have talked about the decision not to make the film in 3D. That seems like a really hard decision to get away with, because everyone seems to be getting pressured into 3D.
Zack Snyder: It had little bit to do with, for me anyway and for the movie itself, is that we don't want this movie to feel like it was made in a board room because it really wasn't. Warner Brothers has given us an awesome opportunity and they themselves didn't want to like cheapen that. I really believe that.
Debbie Snyder: They saw the first visuals and it really didn't need it. We thought, "This will hurt us more than help us," and we really did not have faith that we could do it, especially after working on Guardians [of Ga'hoole] which is made in 3D.
Is that because you would want to shoot it in 3D?
Zack Snyder: Yeah, it's just, once we've been spoiled by this kind of baked in 3D that we created for Guardians where every bit of it is perfectly rendered, to kind of go and do a half-ass like, this is how good it can be, because that is how you qualify it, it's like, it's cool, but if you shot it that way it would be way cooler. They were like, "we can kind of get you a 3D vibe from the conversion," but I was like, "I don't want a 3D vibe."
Debbie Snyder: I think there's enough ways not to do it out there and I think, to Warner's credit, they were really supportive in that they didn't want to screw it up either.
I was looking at some of the toys downstairs [at the Comic Con convention] and there was a big mecha bunny, I'm interested in hearing what the significance is of the bunny is, to have its own toy.
Zack Snyder: It's just awesome. [Laughs].
Debbie Snyder: But also there's a significance in the bunny. A lot of things play in the different levels of reality. We tried to use pieces because, think about it, when you dream a lot of times it might not be a total picture and if you're stressed out about something you get pieces and little hints of things and that's what we wanted to do. So, the bunny is Baby Doll's sister's toy that's on her bed, and there's something tragic that happens to her. I think it's very haunting.
Zack Snyder: But the mecha itself, it's just awesome.