Brainy bombshell Carla Gugino

Brainy bombshell Carla Gugino
US actress Carla Gugino poses on the carpet as she arrives to attend the world premiere of San Andreas in London on May 21.

For Carla Gugino, a Hollywood bombshell who has been around since the late 1980s, San Andreas is the third movie with Dwayne Johnson, after Race To Witch Mountain (2009) and Faster (2010).

We caught up with the 43-year-old US actress at the JW Marriott hotel to talk about her relationship with Johnson, surviving real earthquakes and the untimely Nepal disaster association.

You've enjoyed a hat-trick with The Rock. What was the experience like this time?

I really do love working with him. There's something so exciting when you first get to a set and you know someone really well.

But also he's just a fantastic partner as an actor and collaborator because he is exactly that.

He's somebody who has this beautiful combination of true confidence and humility, and that is rare.

And we just have a lot of fun, too. I think as an actor your job is to figure out how to create natural chemistry, even if you don't have it, and make it happen.

But it's so nice when you don't have to create that. When you just do really have that chemistry, you work really well together, and I think our strong suits really balance each other out in a good way.

How has your relati-onship grown since Race To Witch Mountain?

We're really good friends. We're both so busy that we don't see each other that often.

That's one of the nice perks working together, is that we get to see each other every day.

It's nice to just continue to get to know each other a bit more with every project we do.

Did you do a lot of your own stunts for San Andreas?

I wanted to do every stunt they'd let me do.

When I first talked to (director) Brad Peyton, he said 'Are you comfortable with how physical this movie will be because... as much as we can get you to do, I want you to do it'.

I told him I'm in and asked if I could jump out of the plane. He said, 'Ah, insurance won't let us do that'.

The physical aspect of it was for sure challenging. I worked really hard, but we had an exceptional stunt team, and I was in really good hands.

Even the shots that were really hard to get and really challenging on a physical level really paid off because when you watch the movie, it feels really primal because you know it's me.

Did San Andreas shed new light on how prepared you are for a huge earthquake or natural disaster?

I live in New York now, but have lived up and down the California coast for over 20 years... we're always sharing war stories about earthquakes.

Of course it put my focus on it because that's a big element of this movie. I always have been a bit zen about that thing; I think it's because I fly so much and go to crazy places and am in situations that are unusual... and think my time to go will be my time to go wherever I am.

But there is no doubt that this movie brings to light the inevitability that at some point we are going to get something really big like this.

These people who work at Caltech have devoted their entire life and passion to trying to figure out how to protect us in those situations.

And they're getting closer, in that they can give us 60 seconds' notice. So I'm glad to know that there are people working 24/7 to keep us safe.

Nepal was recently hit with two devastating earthquakes. Were you worried about it affecting the public response to San Andreas?

My first instinct about Nepal was that it was just so tragic.

It's so scary. Human beings live on this planet and we're just sort of renting it. The planet has its own life and we like to think we can control Mother Nature and we can't.

This movie is about the resilience of the human spirit and how people become their best selves in these crises and turn out and help each other. Natural disasters unfortunately have always happened and will continue to happen.

tnp@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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