Batman v Superman's Christina Wren on what it's like working with Ben Affleck
The beautiful Christina Wren has had some good luck, but she's also paid her dues as a performer. We're excited to see her return in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Major Carrie Farris, but we wanted to find out more about her personal journey.
Wren isn't just an actress, she's also a poet who spends a lot of time writing and performing slam poetry.
"Poetry is such a beautiful way to express emotions and reflect the world around us through metaphor and imagery," she said. "Since it is not an on-the-nose art form, it can discuss and arouse so many themes, images, feelings, with simply the words that are chosen and how they are organized. Slam is also its own beast. You have to use metaphors and imagery and be evocative but also nail the performance or you're dead in the water. It is frightening and also an amazing training ground for reading an audience and responding accordingly."
Not surprisingly, Wren also thinks slam poetry has helped her as a performer.
"The biggest skill I learned was to have a set of options of things prepared and then, depending on the kind of crowd, depending on the order of the poets and where I fit into it, depending on what was performed immediately before me, I'd adjust the pieces I chose and the way I'd perform them. Even in the very moments of performing, if you feel you're losing a crowd — and you can tell, they're expressive — you have to adjust."
Wren landed the role of Major Carrie Farris in kind of a roundabout way. She thinks it was fate. "It's so hard to pin down, but for me, it does feel like something special happened," she said.
While working as an extra in movies and feeling glum about her prospects of having a successful acting career, Wren was cast in a hummus commercial that shot in Athens.
"A few months later the commercial played on TV and went viral. I got an email from a Warner Bros. casting associate saying a Hollywood director had seen the commercial and wanted me to audition for an 'Untitled Warner Bros. project,' would I please send a tape of myself performing the attached sides. I had no idea what it was but I sent in my tapes."
When she found out she booked a role in the new Superman movie, Wren cried. Especially strange was that the movie's director, Zack Snyder, also directed 300, which she had watched while she was in Greece where she shot the commercial that got her all the attention. "It was the thing from the heavens that I needed."
Of course, we had to ask Wren what working with Ben Affleck was like.
"Ben was really focused and in character while I was onset, which I respect," she said. "He's serious about his work and about this franchise and it's paying off. He's an incredible Batman."
Wren also told us that Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Lex Luther in the movie, was super sweet.
"When I met him in the makeup trailer, I was actually leaving set for the day and I was surprised to see him so I got a little flustered! I've always really admired his work — the level of nuance he has and the confidence to work so honestly and in the moment are just lovely. I often feel surprised while watching his work and that's really special."
And we had to get the skinny on Superman himself, Henry Cavill.
"Henry I know the best because we worked closely together on Man of Steel, as well," she said. "I filmed at the very end of the process while everyone was more laid back, and since we were traveling locations and in these small towns, we all hung out a lot after work. He's similarly serious about his character — super disciplined, I mean the training he goes through is no joke — but really kind and aware of what it means to be representing this character that people have such a deep emotional attachment to, that when they meet him, they aren't engaging as if they're just meeting Henry, the man, they're engaging as if they are meeting Superman, and that is a huge banner to carry."
Wren also has a serious side that showed through when we asked her what she would you like to see for women in 2016.
"I'd like to see rape and violence never occur again. I'd like to see all girls in all nations be able to safely attend school and avoid bodily harm, mutilation and forced marriage."
Since the presidential election is heating up, we were curious if Wren would be open to having a female president. "Of course!" she said, adding, "I think women are fully capable and would offer great leadership and perspective as president. I think it has to be the right woman and hopefully, as our nation becomes more used to the idea of women running for president, capable women will continue to prepare for the role and run, giving us many diverse options."
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25.