When Repo Men opens this March 19th, Alice Braga will hit the screen as a woman who's equal parts Bionic Woman and badass killer. But that doesn't mean Braga can't be sensitive and soft too. When we caught up with her at the Repo Men press conference in New York City, she talked about everything from how she made impromptu surgery sexy, to what it was like carrying a 14-pound rifle around the set of Predators. Beware of some spoilers that lurk below.
Do you have an affinity for science fiction? Is that something you sort of look for in scripts?
I think it was a happy coincidence. It was something that my mom always loved, so I grew up watching that type of film. But it wasn't something that I focused to do. The script came up, it came to me, I read it, and I had fun with it and liked it. And I really had fun with it because I think this type of film opens the door for your imagination. There's no reality, so you can play around with it in a way, and I enjoyed doing it. It was a happy coincidence.
Do you think your charcater was plagued by a love for surgery or maybe just by the accidents? Because she talks a little about, "I've had this accident but then I had the eyes and the ears." Do you think she was kind of addicted?
I think, me and [Director] Miguel Sapochnik, we spoke a lot about her past, about what she's been through, what happened in her life, what was her background, why was she in that situation when we first see her in the film, just because I love doing that and Miguel also was really involved in the stories. We wanted to understand what kind of emotional state she would show up in. I think it's just life. We created a background with some disease, some problems, some lack of health, all of these things -- addictions maybe -- and, you know, just open a door for something. And as soon as she started getting new ones then it became an addition I think, because to have all of it, it's kind of hard to say that she had all the problems and it was an addiction. But it's hard to say it was only that. It's just, I don't know, we created a past that was not in the past.
How do you find the right level of empathy for a character that's got so much of her body turned over to science, in a way, and is a drug addict? How far do you go to make that character empathetic?
Empathetic in what sense?
Like, because you want people to feel sorry for her a bit so that they worry about her, but where do you stop because you also want her to be tough?
I don't know if I wanted people to feel sorry for her. I never felt sorry for her. I always try to not judge the characters that I portray. I try to just understand the meaning underneath those characters. But I always tried to make her as human as possible. I think all of us have been through pain, been through sadness, been through loss, been through a lot of things, life is not always happiness. But, on the other hand, you can find love or you can find happiness or you can find anything else, so that's the change that she goes through in her life. She's kind of given up on herself when [Remy] finds her and that's why she punches him in the face like, "Why? Why did you do that? You're not going to save me. You're going to go away like..." I don't know maybe, 10 other guys already did with her, or maybe her family did to her. But I just try to create a character that is human more than anything. I think feeling pity for someone is a really strong thing to feel for someone.
Did you think of yourself as a female terminator potentially?
Well, the way that that character is going she probably can be a Terminator because she's totally -- the only thing [that's hers] are her lips.
One of those scenes at the end, where he's taking parts out of you. It's sick but also sexy in its own way. How did you play it so that it was both passionate but kind of sick and crazy at the same time?
It's funny that when Miguel told me that he wanted to do that scene as a love scene, I couldn't picture it. I was like, "Really?" and he was like, "Yeah." So I thought, that's great let's do it. And once we started doing it, I was just trying to find out how to play that, not to be overly painful or only love and forget the pain. I tried to stay in the middle to just bring truth. I think it's interesting that both characters are so in love, and they're fighting for their lives, and they're so connected in at moment that, I think, pain and love go together. If you're in love, you're gonna feel pain. Mainly I do think that's what Miguel wanted and I tried to put my heart into it, to just bring it to life. It was interesting. It was fun to do it because it was so free to create a new thing, because we are in sexual positions actually -- it's like we were making love.
If you could work on any action movie or franchise, do you have an ideal role in your mind?
I haven't thought about it. I think this was a challenge that came up. I've always been like a small, short girl, not very tall. I never thought I'd be running around and kicking ass, punching and shooting. In Predators, I'm a sniper and my gun was the heaviest gun on set; it's 14 pounds. And everyone else is with knife and a pistol and I'm with this rifle, carrying the whole thing, I'm like, "Why my character? Seriously, why my character?" So that kind of thing I never thought [would come] up. And I totally love the challenge to portray someone like that character. And I think, it would be great if something comes up as another action figure, that type of character. It's a nice challenge, physically and emotionally.