Mila Kunis began her career on TV’s popular 70’s Show. The Russian born actress has also appeared on the big screen in Max Payne, Extract, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and will soon be seen in Darren Aronofsky’s supernatural drama Black Swan.
In The Book of Eli she portrays Solara, the step-daughter of Carnegie (Gary Oldman), the head of a makeshift town filled with criminals and killers. Passing through is Eli (Denzel Washington), a quiet man on a mission to preserve and protect the only remaining copy of the Bible – a book that Carnegie wants, as he knows with knowledge comes power. When Eli moves on, Solara runs away to be with him and changes her life forever.
Can you talk a little about your character?
Solara is pretty awesome, I have to say. She starts off very young, very naive, very sheltered, but also very hungry to learn about life. She gets inspired by Denzel Washington’s character and goes on this journey with him throughout the film. It takes place in maybe four or five days, and she grows up so fast and so quickly and almost becomes a woman and takes over. She was a beautiful, beautiful woman to play.
You’ve done some stunt work in Max Payne but was the action in this film difficult for you in the desert terrain where you were shooting?
Yeah, the weather was complicated. It didn’t know what it wanted to be. It would snow one day and wouldn’t the next day, then sunshine, then rain. I didn’t really have that many stunts. Denzel had more stunts. I ran a lot. Walking for me is hard enough so running is, ‘whew, it’s going to be rough’.
If you were stuck in a post apocalypse survival world, how would you do?
I would fail miserably. Would I be resourceful? No. I would need Bear Grylls (survivalist/adventurer who has been on the Discovery Channel) with me. I wouldn’t know what to eat. I would eat that snake with the yellow tail because I wouldn’t know it was poisonous. No, I’m not a survivalist. I’d like to think I would be but I’d fail.
By the end of the movie, you seem to be going out on a mission. In real life, how lethal are you? How much ass can you kick?
I can kick some serious ass, especially if I’m wearing five-inch heels. It’s amazing what I could do. I can throw a really strong right hook. I learned that though my Max Payne training and I can shoot really well. That’s it. And I can run really fast. So, if anything happens, if an altercation occurs, I run.
How was working with Denzel?
It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic.
Is he a generous actor?
He’s very generous, very professional, very giving. He’s great.
What drew you to the film?
It was the Hughes brothers directing, Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, I would have been pretty stupid to say ‘no’. And the character is great. The story is great, the film’s great and also it was an amazing opportunity to work with people I respect and can learn from.
It’s a pretty serious film. Were there times on the set when you laughed?
I laughed a lot. I’ll tell you, Gary Oldman is probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever worked with. Everybody has this preconceived notion that Gary Oldman is going to be scary and he’s not. He is on screen, he can be so powerful. But, in real life, he cracks jokes left and right. He’s just fun to be with.
You end up being more of a partner in Eil’s journey.
I think it makes sense. If you look at him, based on the story, he was sent here for a purpose. He had to achieve that one goal. Everybody has to have followers. That’s not the right way of putting it but ultimately, they need people to believe in them and I think she was just one of those who followed him and believed in his journey and believed in his purpose and what he wanted to achieve, and she wanted to learn from him and pass it along to future generations. I thought that was important.