Common & Moon Bloodgood—Terminator Salvation—2/28/09

Moon Bloodgood's films include What Just Happened, Pathfinder, and Eight Below, while Common has racked up credits in American Gangster, Wanted, Street Kings, and Smokin' Aces. Together, they're part of the Resistance in summer blockbuster Terminator Salvation. I spoke briefly with both actors at San Francisco's Moscone Center on the occasion of WonderCon 2009.

Moon Bloodgood: are you...?

Groucho: Obviously you had to do some physical training, or weapons training. Also, what did you do to get yourself in an emotional headspace as well? Both of those things.

Common: I guess for me, I just—after we really started learning who my character was, ‘cause McG—you know my character was initially written not too much—it’s really only just a bad-ass character, you know, really the big heavy of the movie. And, you know, McG wanted more to it, to the character, and I was glad he wanted more 'cause I didn’t want to just be the big, bulky guy there, you know? So anyway, I worked on different things, thinking about how it would be in a world that’s post-apocalyptic, a world where, you know, things have been destroyed and we’re really fighting for survival. So emotionally that took me to different places. And then, each situation and scenes take you to different places emotionally. Like, there was a scene—I don’t think it’s in the movie anymore—where I challenge—‘cause I ain’t know if Marcus was a machine or not—none of us knew what he really was. And it was like, I was lettin' out all my fury that I had encountered, you know, from being in this world—I let it out on him. And that scene was emotional in certain ways. It got kinda deep when we were doing it. Sam— Sam is a great actor. Moon and I were talking, and we were really impressed by what he was doing.

Moon Bloodgood: Yeah. Oh! I was so lost in what you were saying. It was hard, because when I’d come on—I said that on the panel—I was first up, I guess, me and Sam, and I’d done all this work on my backstory and notes and who I was. We had all coincidentally read The Road by Cormack McCarthy, and it sort of came up, and we had rehearsals for two weeks. Then, you know, Christian came on and the script was changing, andit was just—things were changing and there needed to be a sense of spontaneity. So I—a couple of my story points changed, so I had to sort of just— thank God I had really worked where I was coming from, who I was, what my relation was to Marcus. At the same time, I sorta had to be in the moment, because it would be like “Oh, your father was a crop duster.” “Oh, no, he wasn’t.” I was like "Okay!" And literally, like, you’re shooting in an hour. And Christian wants to...right? You had to be like "Okay." Not just as a technical part as an actor. It was a really big learning experience on how to be spont—you know, not so set in your backstory and who you think you are, yeah.

C: I remember one day they came and told me, like—I got to set that day, and they was like, “Yo, it’s the scene your brother got killed.” I’m like, "I didn’t even know I had a brother!”

MB: (Laughs uproariously.)

C: Then by the time I got to the set, when I got to the set, they was like “Oh, he’s not your brother anymore. He's—”

MB: Oh, no, no, no, they did that?

C: I was like "Ahh, man."

MB: No, they didn’t! Oh my god!

C: You just had to be ready.

MB: Yeah...

C: My first scene [with Christian Bale]—actually it was one of the first scenes I had dialogue on, so I was excited. I was charged. It was the scene when they tell me that my brother had died, or one of the comrades had died. And it was him coming back from the war, an actual battle, and telling us what happened. And, you know, it was good. It really was a great expression for me, and I really loved it, 'cause it was an emotional thing for me, but he was saying, "Yo, this dude just died; he didn't make it." And my whole thing was like, "Hey, if he died fighting with spirit, then that's what that had to be." So, you know, I had to pull that soldier out of me on that one. And it was fun. One thing Anton [Yelchin] and I were talking about is that you want scenes where you really get to do somethin' as an actor. Not only just runnin' around and shootin', so any scene where I get any type of emotional expression, I dig it.

MB: Especially with Christian Bale.

C: Yeah, with Christian Bale. I was really serious. And [to my agent] I was like "I want—" a list of actors, and Christian Bale was on that list of actors I wanted to work with.

MB: Absolutely...

G: McG talked about really wanting to have a lot of practical effects. He talks about not wanting to have the tennis ball to stare at and that kind of thing—the special effects. Were there ever any hairy moments? Can you talk a little bit about the physical side of the performance?

MB: Yeah, we had—I had very, very little green screen. Everything was like, for me… we had great sets and it made it so much easier as an actor not to have to use—I mean, there were moments I had to use my imagination, but that was so much better being able to see these amazing—We also had the budget for it. Umm… Wow, I mean, it's been six months. There was so much action stuff, it was just like—

G: But you never felt in danger.

MB: There was one moment when Sam was like "I can't see, so I need to know where that bomb is." Like "What just went off?" I fell one time, I tumbled. I started laughing. I mean, there's just moments—no, that fear motivates me. Not in every area of my life, but when I'm afraid, "Scshhh!"—I think maybe that's why I got the part? 'Cause I'm not afraid to be physical. Did you have to do tons of physical—? You even shoot after me one day, right? At the silo.

C: Yeah. Most of this stuff—

MB: You call me a traitor.

C: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

MB: I'm still mad about that.

C: (Laughs.) Yeah, I ain't do too many new things. I mean, the first films I've been doing, unfortunately, I've been holding guns in each one—

MB: (Laughs.)

C: So there wasn't a whole lot of gun training I had to do. But there was one motorcycle scene that I thought I was going to do the stunt for. But, I mean, first of all, I came to the set thinking I was going to do the stunt, and when I saw it really happening, I was like "Naw, I ain't doin' that."

MB: (Laughs.) Right, right—

C: I wanted to do it.

MB: You thought you could, but you saw it, you're like "Oh, I'm gonna go have a sandwich." It was good!

C: I was cool on that.

MB: Good!

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