MGM Interview

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MGM: Tell us about your new project, "Rollerball."
Rebecca Romijn: I've just been cast as Aurora in the new Rollerball movie directed by John McTiernan. I'm actually a motorcycle rider... Never ridden one in my life... I've ridden on one... I don't know how to ride or drive a motorcycle. Once I'm up there they'll be training me. When I went up there for the screen test, they put me into hair and makeup and my costume. It'll be wild. I guarantee it.

MGM: What are your impressions of John McTiernan?
Rebecca Romijn: I first met with John McTiernan six months ago, and he was very serious. I kept trying to find his sense of humor and make him laugh, and I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere, and so I was a little nervous when I went up on Saturday to meet with him, but he was just a completely different person. He was really supportive and encouraging. He was just like a teddy bear. He was really smiley and sweet and wasn't the same person I had met with six months ago. I've heard the most fantastic things about (him). People who have worked with him just have great stories, so I'm really looking forward to it.

MGM: How is this role different from your previous roles?
Rebecca Romijn: I see it as a chance to do another fantasy movie, which is right up my alley. I've been reading a lot of scripts, and this is one I responded to. I really liked it so I'm excited that I get to be a part of it. I guess in the original Rollerball, they didn't have women on the team, so, you know, it's a kick-ass character, and coming off of X-men... it's really exciting to be a part of this.

MGM: How have you been preparing for this very physical role?
Rebecca Romijn: I just got cast yesterday, and I've just been hitting it hard. Since I found out... actually since Monday. I kind of had a feeling this might happen. I've been working out three times a day... kick-boxing, pilates, and hiking with my dog, and just trying to get ripped before I get up there.

MGM: How did you get involved in Rollerball?
Rebecca Romijn: Well, when I first read the script, I wasn't familiar with the original. In the script, my character had a lot of nudity - [laughs] like, a LOT of nudity - and I didn't want to meet on it. I wasn't really that into it. Then I met with them anyway [laughs], but John McTiernan told me that he was really looking for somebody that had an accent and was European. I said okay, fine, and didn't think about it.

Six months later, it came back around again and they asked me to test for it. I re-read the script and a lot of changes had been made. It was an entirely different movie, with a really good message, smart and well developed. I really loved it the second time I read it, and it's turned out to be way better than I ever could have imagined.

MGM: What's it like working with McTiernan?
Rebecca Romijn: He's really added layers and depth to my character, and to all the characters. When working we're so in the moment. He's constantly changing things in the scene and re-writing dialogue and adding things, really tailoring it. He's very specific on what he wants and gets. Very passionate about what he wants, which I love. He's really into it, which is always a good sign, when a director's really into his project.

MGM: Talk about your character, Aurora.
Rebecca Romijn: Aurora was originally written as a Russian. I've never done a Russian accent, but I have a lot family in Holland so I'm very familiar with Dutch accents. We rewrote her as a Dutch woman, and she's been living in Russia for I don't know how many years with her mother, living in this really rough environment. Somehow she got her face opened up and and there was no doctor there to sew it up, so now she's got this horrible flaw in her face that she's really ashamed of and always trying to hide. She doesn't go out during the day. She keeps her face hidden with her helmet when she's playing Rollerball. She's a loner and she's a dark character.

We do a lot of "Poor Aurora" jokes when we're working. "Oh, poor Aurora." When we have bad days, we have "Poor Aurora"
days. [laughs]

MGM: She's tough on the outside, though.
Rebecca Romijn: Yeah. She's the dragon lady in the beginning. For the first half of the movie, you think she's just grown this hard exterior from living in this harsh environment. As she falls in love, though, and basically gets weakened by love, she makes decisions that turn her into this very vulnerable character.

MGM: Aurora is tough on the motorcycle, too. Had you ever ridden before?
Rebecca Romijn: No. I had to learn to ride a motorcycle the first weekend I came up here. I was really excited about that actually, and I learned fairly quickly. I'm not Evil Kneivil, but I had to do a stunt on my fourth day. I had to drive over a guy on the track, which was very exciting and scary. He was fine; I was more worried about myself. He was covered in armor and sandbags and he clearly was not going to be getting hurt. I almost fell over and got really nervous.

MGM: It had to be you?
Rebecca Romijn: It actually didn't have to be me. It turned out the shot was actually from my back. [laughs] It could have been anybody. I think McT was just challenging me, trying to get me on the bike and get me comfortable. It was basically a hello and welcome to the set of Rollerball. [laughs]

MGM: What kind of training is involved in learning to ride?
Rebecca Romijn: Well, obviously I had a stunt double who does the complicated things, but I had to take the bike around the figure-eight track and not look like I was going to fall down. I actually spent three or four days going on dirt tracks up in the woods and doing all sorts of nutty stuff on dirt bikes and everything.

It was more difficult, too, because they built me this custom bike, a really long bike with a huge rear wheel and very narrow handlebars. The rear wheel is from a model T Ford or something. It's like driving a stretch limousine, really difficult to ride and it breaks down all the time. We called it Frankenbike, actually, because it's made out of tons of different motorcycle parts, and it never works. When you start compromising the design of a bike and start adding different pieces, it never works properly. It made us crazy.

MGM: Will you ever ride a motorcycle again after Rollerball?
Rebecca Romijn: I want one. My husband doesn't want me to have one, though.

MGM: LL Cool J also rides a motorcycle in the movie. Had he ridden before?
Rebecca Romijn: No, I think we both learned. And I'm so much better than him. I kick his ass! [laughs] We actually got to play. During lunch they'd let us play with some of the toys from the movie. Chris and LL and I got to play around on the fast bikes and fast cars.

MGM: Isn't that dangerous?
Rebecca Romijn: Yeah, actually. [laughs] Chris and I were riding together the other day without helmets on, and we got in big trouble. We were on the same bike. We got busted.

MGM: What's it like working with Chris Klein?
Rebecca Romijn: Chris is great. He's a goofball. I guess the second day I was with him I told him he reminded me of my dog. I didn't remember that, but he just reminded me of it. I thought it was a compliment. I guess he didn't take it that way. [laughs] He's hilarious, and we've been having a great time.

MGM: There are lots of extreme skaters and extreme sports figures in the film. What's it like with them on the set?
Rebecca Romijn: It's amazing. There's never a dull moment. Whenever you run out of things to do, you could always come into the track and watch these skaters climbing the wall, basically. It's incredible the things they do. They literally jump the entire height of the plexiglass and throw themselves over sometimes, just playing around. They're balls to the walls these guys. They're absolutely out of their minds.

MGM: Talk more about John McTiernan.
Rebecca Romijn: Well, first of all, he's an action movie legend. He's just amazing. I knew coming in that he was legendary when it comes to directing action, so I was really excited about that. But he's also really passionate about these characters. I can dissect every piece of dialogue I have with him, and he gets very emotional about everything. He's very intense, and it makes you really excited about it. It's nice to work with somebody like that. He knows exactly what he wants.

MGM: The costumes are pretty amazing in the film. Does your costume help you get into character?
Rebecca Romijn: Absolutely. The look of the movie is so stylized. It's really sharp, and that's thanks in a huge part to [costume designer] Kate Harrington. She comes from my world, the fashion world, and she really has added a really sharp look to the movie. I'm on the red team, so we wear a lot of black and red leather, and it's almost got this S & M feel to it. My wardrobe especially has this very Thierry Mugler feel, queen bee red helmet with the floor-length black leather coat with the collar that stands real high and a bustier. Very shapely and sexy.

MGM: With all the athleticism, is the costume uncomfortable?
Rebecca Romijn: I've worn more uncomfortable things in my career. [laughs] No, I love it. Everything about my wardrobe really makes me feel powerful.

Original article: Cinecon.com

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