Carla Gugino and Malin Akerman, who play mother-and-daughter superheroes in Zack Snyder's Watchmen movie, told SCI FI Wire that they hung out off screen to work out the dynamics of their on-screen relationship--which was especially important, since the two actors' ages are really only a few years apart.
"We probably had about three weeks to sort of just hang out together and get to know each other, and we definitely just got along right away," Akerman said in a group interview at Comic-Con International in San Diego last weekend. "Like [Gugino] said, we have a lot of similarities in our lives and in our families that sort of brought us even closer. So we could relate these characters to things that have happened in our lives and sharing those with each other so that we knew when we were doing our scenes where that was coming from."
Akerman plays Laurie Juspeczyk, the daughter of Gugino's 1940s superhero Sally Jupiter (aka Silk Spectre). In the alternate-history 1985 timeframe of the film's story, which is based on Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' graphic novel, Laurie is the twentysomething daughter of Sally, who is in her 70s, and she has taken up the mantle of the Silk Spectre at her mother's urging.
Gugino, who is not yet 40, was surprised when Snyder approached her to play the elder woman.
"When Zack first said, 'I would love to talk to you about playing this character,' I thought, 'Well, this sounds amazing, but in the graphic novel, especially, there's so much more of Sally Jupiter [as an] older [woman] than there is [in her youth]," Gugino said. "We have the flashback to the rape and a couple of [other] brief moments, but [not much else]. ... So I thought, 'That's interesting. I would think he'd want a much older actress,' And, ultimately, ... in a way sort of showing the passage of time and how we come from the '40s to the '80s, he ended up adding in a lot more images of her as a young woman. ... I think you need to see Sally Jupiter shine in her own right so that you can understand why she tries to impose that on Laurie."
Gugino did wind up artificially aged for her scenes as the aged Sally. "I was in full prosthetics when we were doing this," she said. "Otherwise, it never would have worked."
Beyond their similarity in age, the two actresses said they had an emotional bond that worked to their advantage when playing mother and daughter. "It was a really natural sort of connection for us in our lives," Gugino said.
Gugino added: "There wasn't that much screen time to really establish that relationship, either, but I think any daughter [would say] that their relationship with their mother [is] complicated on some level, probably like any son and their father. ... I mean it's just an intense, complex thing. So it was great to be able to have the chance for us to talk about all of those elements in our own lives, because it does bring things to light." Watchmen is set to open on March 6, 2009. --Patrick Lee, News Editor