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Fred Topel Interviews and Movie Reviews

Justice League Interview

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher and Henry Cavill

 

Can you believe they got Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg all in one movie? Justice League is based on the DC Comics where all their greatest heroes form a team to fight evil together. The movies finally did it with the live-action actors.

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher spoke with reporters before the release of Justice League. Henry Cavill was there too, but played coy about Superman’s role in the Justice League since he died in Batman v Superman. He also died in the comics decades ago, but guess what? They still publish Superman comics too. Justice League opens this weekend in theaters.

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Q: What was it like shooting the scenes together?

JM: I’m a big kid and I kinda geeked out just walking around Ben and pulling on his cape. It’s just surreal that I’m even here playing this guy around these guys. When you see us all up there, you’ll feel the same way.

BA: I was like, “Who the f*** keeps pulling on my cape?”

GG: I think that the word is surreal for me. I remember coming to set and seeing everyone in their costumes and I was just observing everything. Then I just started to laugh to myself. It was surreal and crazy.

BA: In these movies, movies that have a lot of effects and green screen and you have to use your imagination a lot, it was really great to be around all these great actors dressed the way they’re dressed, looking so cool and inspiring. It felt considerably less ridiculous.

EM: On the day everyone’s like, “Oh, I’m so hot in this suit.” Just kidding. Joyous, amazing experience. I’m a big comic fan too so when everyone got together, it was really like looking at a frame from even some of the early Justice League comics because we have so many of the original characters. Everyone, except for Cyborg just because he hadn’t been invented yet, was in the original Justice League. Even Superman, who we hope is in this one too. It was amazing. It’s been amazing.

RF: For me, I’d watched a lot of the footage over Zack [Snyder]’s shoulder as he’s watching the dailies and I’m geeking out looking at everybody. I see everyone in their costumes. There’s this one shot where we’re all together. It’s panning, panning, panning, panning, everything is great. Then we get to me, I’m like, “Oh wait, we’re going to get me in post. I see.” It’s just an amazing and super surreal experience.

HC: On the days that I went to visit set, because I’m not in the movie, I actually was lucky enough to see all these guys all lined up in costume. For me, it’s been six years since I started on this journey. During Man of Steel, I never imagined that I’d be sitting up here with these other superheroes. They are superheroes in the movie and they are superheroes in life and I consider it a real honor to be sitting here at the end of this line. Thank you, guys.

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Q: Who’s the first person who wanted a selfie?

HC: That wasn’t me.

BA: They frowned on selfies. The security was very high. You had to leave your cell phone outside. It was not cool to take selfies.

EZ: You get tackled when you try to take a selfie.

RF: You get sneaky selfies in the Bat Cave. You’re like, “Look at this. It’s the best!”

HC: Batman’s the only one with pockets anyway.

EZ: I did steal stuff from the Bat Cave though. I’m going to come out and tell you guys that right now. So did Jason.

JM: I’m a natural born thief, so yeah.

EZ: Little things, little things.

 

Q: What did you take?

JM: Little bullets with the little red cap on top of them.

EZ: Bat bullets!

JM: Bat bullets, yeah, because I give it to my son.

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Q: Cyborg is the only one who perceives his powers as a curse. How did you approach his changing perception of himself throughout the film?

RF: In a lot of ways, Cyborg is super reluctant to join the team because of the trauma that he’s had due to his accident and the fact that he can’t live a normal life the way that these other members can. He can’t take off his costume and just walk the streets and assume a different identity. He’s both Victor Stone and Cyborg 24/7. So balancing that duality within oneself was a very interesting process. But we had a lot of lead up time to talk about the character and Zack put Chris Terrio and I together. We started talking about concepts from the very beginning, like the ideas of everything and where they planned on going with it. I had a lot of lead up time to it as well. I had about a three year process from start to finish with this film which was absolutely necessary because the character is super deep. I think him being able to put the negative notions aside about himself and about his powers is sort of what this is all about. Being able to become a part of a team the way he once was when he was an American football player. I hope it resonates with the fans.

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Q: How was the set different between Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder directing?

BA: I can address that. The movie is Zack’s DNA, cast the movie, designed the movie. There’s something that people I think don’t understand who don’t actually work on movies which is how much of the work is done in prep. The casting, the sets get built, the story is written. The ship is in essence sailing. I found as a director, you could maybe change 10%, 15% on the day. So you really had Zack’s ship set sail with us. We were fortunate that when Zack was not able to continue, we got really lucky in that we got a guy who’s very accomplished in his own right, particularly in this genre. He sprinkled some of his fairy dust on our movie and finished it. I don’t think there’s any way to go back, to me, and look at a scene and go, “That’s a Joss scene, that’s a Zack scene.” They were both working together toward a common goal. I got the sense that Joss was working from what he had discussed with Zack before he stepped in.

 

Q: Jason, how did your work on Justice League develop your character for the Aquaman solo film?

JM: It all came from Zack’s mind. Aquaman wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. When I stepped into his room, he told me his vision. I want people to know that in a year, you’re going to understand where he came from, what happened to his mother, what happened to his father and how he was treated in this world and how how he didn’t know how to use his powers. Sometimes he saved people and sometimes he lost people. His human side didn’t know how to cope with those things. He would cover up those things so there’s a lot of layers to this guy. I think once we do get to the solo film, you’re going to see the man who’s going to take responsibility and help the world and become king eventually. So this one, he is Aquaman, he’s Arthur Curry, but he hasn’t gotten the trident yet. It’s coming but just stick with it.

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Q: What team building work did you do together?

RF: Parcheesi. No, I think a lot of it is the time we got to spend between takes. What you saw is what you got. Being around these guys, the different energy and the different comedic sensibilities with respect to that, I think it did build the team in a pretty organic way.

GG: Going back to Zack, he did magnificent work casting and knowing exactly which one is going to make the best of its character and how the whole will work together. It’s been super easy. It’s been very natural. No hours at the psychologist sofa talking about each other. No, it’s been super fun and very easy.

JM: The other thing too, we spent a lot of time on set. This was the first time I’ve ever stayed on set. I’ve got massive ADD and I can’t sit still and I’ve got to go do something so I’d always run back to my trailer. But we lived in our tents.

GG: We’d have a band. He did the drums. Ezra did the drums. We did some singing. Ben did the Bruce voice. It’s been super awesome, I’m telling you.

BA: [In Batman voice] Jingle bell time, it’s a swell time.

 

Q: Why do you think the message of getting involved in a divided world is important in 2017?

GG: In the real world, we don’t fight monsters. We don’t have alien attacks. It’s us creating the problem. It would’ve been wonderful if somehow us humans could get together and come together and just be and do good to each other and try to make the world a better place. I’m giving you a cheesy answer but I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

RF: And it’s inspiring to see people with so much power who could go in a different direction toward the negative side, it’s great and important for us to see people with power doing good. Hopefully that’ll inspire other people who have power to continue that .

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Q: Bruce has changed his perspective on godlike beings, so how does he cope with working with godlike beings going forward?

BA: You raise an interesting point which is that Batman, who is by nature not necessarily anti-social but pretty private, a loner. In this movie, he’s thrust into the role of having to not only work with people but bring them together and convince them to come in there and try to be some kind of a gel with Wonder Woman to hold all that community effort together. That was a really interesting thing to play for me. It also does take us to a more traditional version of Batman in the Justice League comics, and his role with the Justice League versus the less typical version we saw with Batman v Superman where he was blinded by rage and wanted to take on Superman. So it was a lot of fun for me. I also got to have kind of a dry wit. I got to play off Ezra which was a lot of fun. He’s so funny and Bruce is always on the verge of exasperation. It was fun to get to show some other colors for sure.

HC: Watching the team dynamic as characters is one of my favorite things about this movie, because superheroes are all just reflections of the human psyche, human personality traits just personified and made grander. So everyone who’s watched this movie will have something they can associate with when it comes to watching each one of these performances. Everyone watching this movie is going to identify with the differences between characters and the similarities between characters as well. I think these guys really, really nailed it when it came to their interaction or lack of interaction. Ultimately, all having their eyes on the same goal but having no idea how to get there. Which I think a lot of viewers will be experiencing in life anyway. These guys smashed it, knocked it out of the park.

EZ: And Henry looks great in dream sequences and as a corpse.

HC: Thank you.

BA: If Superman had had that porn mustache in the last movie, I think he would’ve won a lot quicker.

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Q: What do you hope fans feel when they see Justice League?

JM: It’s a beautiful, amazing story. I want them to go back and watch it with more people.

GG: I hope they’ll enjoy the movie and find it entertaining. I hope they’ll like to watch Justice League 2 so we’ll have more to explore.

BA: I also hope that people just have fun and enjoy the ride and get as much enjoyment out of the camaraderie of the group as we did in performing it.

EZ: Just that exhilaration when you see a film and you really like it and then you’re excited and you can’t sleep and you just think about it a lot. I hope some people have that. If they can feel even an iota of the excitement that we felt making this film then it will have been a success.

RF: I sincerely hope that people walk away from it and they can feel what it was like for us to be a part of something so much larger than any one of us. I hope that people walk away with a sense of fulfillment. For me personally, this is my childhood dream being able to watch it. Being in it is great, don’t get me wrong, but I hope they feel that same sort of sense that I felt when I was a kid watching Michael Keaton and all the other animated series and movies.

HC: For me, I hope people walk away from it, first of all having enjoyed it and had fun. More importantly, to be inspired and to walk away with a sense of hope.

 

Photo Credits: DC Comics, David Dettmann

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