We Kick It With Pilgrim’S Girls
Strong, kick-butt women rule in the colorful, comic book and video-game-based comedy actioner Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Two of the hot, outspoken femmes in the film are quirky Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), whose hair color changes almost daily and high schooler Knives Chow (Ellen Wong), who is overly exuberant about well...everything.
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Scott Pilgrim's women
SheKnows: Can you talk about your relationships in the film? Both of you had to have a true relationship with Scott Pilgrim in order for us to care about the movie. Talk about how important that was and how you developed it.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Ramona really rides that fine line of being likeable and unlikable and doesn't really show her emotions. So, how do you like a person who is that guarded and who never smiles? It was certainly worrisome to me, on some level, that there would be an audience who would be like, "What's her appeal?" So, I felt like I really had to bring some sort of humanity to her. I had to really show that there was some attraction and love when she looks at Scott, even though she might not show it in the same way that Knives shows it; quite the opposite way. Especially in our whole love scene sequence, it was really important to me that we really connected on that and that that really worked. I was really happy the day that we shot that because I really felt that I could see my character falling for Scott in that moment and I could feel it all being so real.
Ellen Wong: I think, with Knives, it's hard because she was not thinking too much about what Scott was thinking about her. Everything she goes through in the film, it's her first time feeling it. I think she's so uninhibited, her feelings are so unconstrained. In a way, I think Scott was dating her because she's easy but she doesn't see it that way. She's going on this ride, this journey and trying to figure out what it means to be in love, what it means to have your heart broken. She didn't know how to put up her guard or judge certain situations or scenarios because she hasn't yet been tainted by the realities of this world.
SheKnows: A lot of people are calling Scott Pilgrim vs The World the first of its kind. Do you see that and do you see it as a great role model film? Will you be pissed off if people start to copy it?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: It's going to be interesting. I know that there will be films coming out that will say, "If you like Scott Pilgrim, you'll love..."
Ellen Wong: But, it's an exciting journey to be part of a film that's so refreshing and new and different. We were saying that it's kind of like the Brat Pack films that John Hughes created with the ensemble cast and having characters you can relate to, but it's our generation of that kind of a movie. I think it's cool to be part of something like this.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Absolutely. When we saw it at Comic-Con and we felt the reaction and how it made us feel ourselves, I was like, "I think we've created something that's really going to hit people in a way they aren't expecting and that's just really exciting."
Scott Pilgrim: The Ladies' favorite scenes
SheKnows: Can you both give me a favorite scene and a most challenging scene?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I think our favorites and the most challenging are the same scene. We both loved our fights so much because we worked so hard on those and it's so rewarding to see it on screen.
Ellen Wong: I remember walking into the room and seeing the big pyramid and we were like "It's here! Let's do this!" It was the time for us to finally implement all the stuff that we were training for here on top of this pyramid. It was cool.
SheKnows: You trained really hard for this, right?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Yeah, absolutely and the fights go by in a flash so it seems like, "Oh, they must have shot that in a day."
Ellen Wong: In ten minutes.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: No. Each fight took at least a week or a week and a half to do.
Ellen Wong: Yeah, I think the last one was like two and a half weeks. We were shooting on that location for almost two months.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: On that pyramid. We started calling it the pyramid movie and we were like, "Can you believe Chris Evans is in the pyramid movie?" It was kind of surreal being in that same place every day.
Ellen Wong: Yeah. It was a Groundhog Day thing. You wake up, "Oh, you again."
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: In the same clothes.
Ellen Wong: Let's do this differently today!
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: So that was definitely the most challenging sequence of the whole film.
The Thing of it is…
SheKnows: Mary, can you talk a little bit about being in The Thing? Was that awesome?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Yeah. It was pretty awesome. I just wrapped it two or three weeks ago. I'm so excited about it. I think everyone involved was really passionate about making it a really great film for the fans of the John Carpenter version and also for people who have no idea. It was really focused on performance, the intensity, the paranoia and suspense, and also really awesome animatronics, puppeteering work and special effects in it.
SheKnows: Who do you play?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I am a scientist.
SheKnows: I don't think there was a woman [in the Carpenter version]. There was one who was more just eye candy in the original [1950s version].
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Yeah, they're bringing a female into the mix and it's interesting because it shakes up the dynamic a little bit. I think it's a good way of separating it because it's not a re-make, it's a prequel so it's a completely different group of people. You're not trying to recreate the same characters that were in the John Carpenter version. We're trying to bring in new ones. Having a female there makes it its own story. The way they interact is completely different having a girl in the middle of all of that.
SheKnows: I'm sure you're a strong girl, though. I'll bet the Scott Pilgrim fight training helped out when you got to the set of The Thing, right?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Oh yeah, I kick all sorts of alien butt! I didn't have to do any training for The Thing. There were a couple of the same producers on that so it was a Universal film as well. So they were like, "Oh, Mary can handle that," so it was cool.
Mary suffers for her art
SheKnows: But, Ellen, you were training a lot before this movie, right? You were already a martial arts expert.
Ellen Wong: Yeah. I was training in Tae Kwan Do and still do. I also was sparring competitively as well but I had to stop during the filming process. I started taking up weapons to do double short swords and Bo Staff. I was so used to fighting Tae Kwan Do style and sparring, so it was actually very difficult to learn how to fight for film because it's so different. You're not actually hitting the people.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: No, you're not allowed to [laughing].
Ellen Wong: You have to stop and it was really hard to control myself so I felt like even though I had the martial arts training, I was the one who was having the hardest time because I would naturally want to go all the way with my move as opposed to stopping.
SheKnows: Be honest. Did you ever blow it and hit Mary?
Ellen Wong: I'm not gonna lie. There was a moment where I'm sitting on top of the pyramid crying because the paramedics had to come to take Mary because I kind of slashed her face with my knife. This is true.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: And it's so funny because, at first, I was kind of freaking out because I was in a lot of pain but as soon as it was over, I was, "Ellen, no, it was my fault."
Ellen Wong: Mary, I'm so sorry. But it's funny because when we were training for it we had this huge space. We had all this room to move around and when we started shooting, we had this little space at the top of a pyramid and we've got an entire crew up there, too, so it was different.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: And it turned out fine but it was a shock at first.
Ellen Wong: You can't have seven fights without an accident.
SheKnows: Whoa, back up. They gave you real knives?
Ellen Wong: They were metal and pointy. You couldn't slice cucumbers and tomatoes with them, maybe faces, but actually I think it was after that incident that they put little foam tips on them and I was like, "I feel so downgraded."
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: They were so careful after that. That's why I felt bad. They were like, "We have to be very careful with Ellen. She's dangerous." I was like, "It's not her fault! It's my fault."
Ellen Wong: Those knives have a life of their own.