Movies

Published: Thursday August 21, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday August 21, 2014 MYT 9:38:18 AM

Mind the gap

One woman gains unparalleled cerebral capacity and becomes a kind of superhuman. Her name is Lucy.

BECOMING a warrior with an amazing ability and fearless personality is something audiences have seen Scarlett Johansson pull off successfully in the Captain America films, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.

But what made her especially appealing to director Luc Besson was that the actress could be believable in both action scenes and in portraying someone who is extremely vulnerable. So he decided to cast her in his latest action-thriller Lucy (pic).

The title character is your average American girl living in a foreign country pursuing her studies. A party-going gal, Lucy has been in Taiwan for six months working odd jobs here and there between classes, while trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life.

In a transcript provided by United International Pictures Malaysia, Johansson shared: “When you first meet her in the film, she is feeling like she should probably get her life on track.”

Unfortunately, Lucy goes off course when she betrayed by her boyfriend, and is forced to become a drug mule. Things take an interesting turn when the new-age drug in her tummy leaks into her blood, which kicks her brain into high gear. She then develops telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to kungfu the bad guys to the hospital.

According to Johansson, the physical aspect for Lucy wasn’t as intense as the previous action movies she has done as the film is not so stunt-heavy.

However, the actress, who turns 30 this year, wanted to be in really good condition so that the character would look like she’s physically capable of doing all the things she does in the film.

“I also tried to put a lot of purpose and intent in the movements because I wanted them to feel strong.

“Even when she just stands or manoeuvres her way, I wanted to show an inner strength so that you were aware that it comes from being physically capable.”

If that took care of the physical challenges, what about research on the brain physiology?

“I did not do any research on the brain for the film,” said the actress. “Luc and I talked about his research and how he developed the story.

“Personally, I just wanted to be aware of what Luc had intended for the character of Lucy to be and her capacity, and how it affects her intelligence and ability to see and experience things. I wanted to stay true to the idea that this character was going through these changes but wasn’t aware of what the next step was or what was happening to her. She is just evolving as it happens.”

Naturally, Lucy at the start of the film is nothing like the superhuman she turns into as the movie progresses. Besson and his team created a chart to help Johansson understand which percentage her character’s brain function is at so she can provide the suitable reaction. This also helped the actress to make sure the character remains relatable throughout the film.

Johansson explained: “As the drug kicks in, Lucy gradually loses the ability to emphatise and to feel pain. Even though she can delve deeply into someone’s memory and eventually control him physically, she doesn’t have any opinion; she loses her preconceived ideas or judgement about the other person.

“It was difficult to avoid making my performance flat and monotonous. I wanted to make sure that you see the person behind what is happening and that the circumstances don’t strip away all of her characteristics.” 

> Lucy opens in cinemas nationwide today.

Tags / Keywords: Scarlett Johansson, Lucy, Luc Besson, Movie

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