Filmy Sansaar : So emotionally, she’s human. But in terms of physicality, did you have to play her slightly…
Rosa Salazar : Robotic?
Filmy Sansaar : Yeah.
Rosa Salazar : No. Although I had practiced and practiced with a friend who helps me read lines. And I was very stiff, very Ex Machina. I had all of these movements, all these intricate finger twitches and whatever. As you do. And right before I went in to audition, I suddenly thought, ‘Hey, wait a second. She’s not a robot, she’s a cyborg….’ Her body was created by Ido [Christoph Waltz] who is a cybernetic surgeon, so he knows what he’s doing. She doesn’t move in a stiff way. In fact, the way she moves is very cat-like. Even smoother than a normal person. Not only is she not stiff or robotic, but her body movements are also very fluid.
Filmy Sansaar : When actors do performance capture, often the character they’re playing doesn’t look anything like them. But with Alita, there seems to be a reasonable amount of you in the character.
Rosa Salazar : Yeah. It’s an anime version of myself.
Filmy Sansaar : So how is that?
Rosa Salazar : It’s super cool! And it was always the plan, that whatever actress was going to inhabit the role, it was going to be her performance and her face and her features. More and more as they edit the film and draw the film, every time I see it, it looks more like me. Which is eerie. And wonderful. Because if you’re Benedict Cumberbatch playing Smaug, you’re going see a 60-foot tall dragon. It’s cool but you’re probably not going to feel attached to it. It’s like, ‘that’s over there’. But when I was playing Alita, we were one and the same. And they used a lot of my real face and the real scars and divots and muscle pull and lines and creases and imperfections to look like me.
Although one thing I had to change was my posture because cyborgs don’t hunch! And I have the worst posture. So, I had to have my shoulders back constantly and just be standing straight and not lean. But I always knew that it was going to be mainly my face in there. And I think it looks amazing and even though it’s a complete rendering of me, it feels like me. I can see myself and I’m attached to it.
Filmy Sansaar : Did you have to learn a lot of fighting skills?
Rosa Salazar : Yeah. Training almost killed me. When I walked in there, I was made out of croissants. I was writing my short film. And writers don’t eat well. So, I was really out of shape. I mean, I was thin, but I had no endurance, no core. I trained with Keith Hirabayashi for months and months and months. And I changed to a plant-based diet and it was very hard. I’d never changed my diet in that way before.
Filmy Sansaar : Does it feel almost like you have kind of a different body?
Rosa Salazar : Well, now I’m vegan. Because James Cameron convinced me to be vegan and he’s right. Plant-based diet. So, yeah, I am constantly finding that my body is very different. But you feel stronger, more capable. And it’s not just me. I have to say there are nine women that bring Alita to life. Whenever we reach my physical capabilities or abilities, another person takes over who’s been doing this for life. So you have many, many martial artists. You have contortionists. You have rollerbladers. You have different kinds of rollerbladers, trick rollerbladers. And then you have me doing all the acting when they’re recording the bodily info.
Saajan Verma “Sanjay” is a Founder of FilmySansaar.com. He has worked for many producers and directors in Indian Film Industry. He is a good Hindi writer and his interest towards film industry has leaded to startFilmySansaar.com. Sanjay is a cool guy from small town landed at Mumbai and working in various fields in Bollywood. He has good knowledge in all the sections on film making, graphic designing and media production.
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