Amy Smart Charges Us Up for Crank High Voltage
The actress talks about reprising her role for this high-powered sequel
Amy Smart has been winning the hearts of moviegoers ever since playing a young Texas football sweetheart in Varsity Blues, although many will recall her smaller turn as Denise Richards' cadet buddy in the cult sci-fi flick Starship Troopers before that. She quickly built a broad resume, appearing in a wide variety of films from studio comedies such as Road Trip and Rat Race, the Project Greenlight winner The Battle of Shaker Heights and a recurring role on the series Felicity. Smart has been one busy actress ever since and she comes back to the silver screen in Crank High Voltage, which hits theaters nationwide on April 17, reprising her role as Jason Statham's girlfriend, Eve from the 2006 action hit Crank. I was invited to participate in a mini-conference call with the actress where she talked about the new film, and here's what she had to say.
Amy Smart: Well, they definitely have topped it. They basically took the same premise as Crank, but he now has an artificial heart and he has to have friction with his body to keep the battery charged and his heart working. So they found many more outrageous things for him to do to keep his heart rate up.
Any involving you, specifically?
Amy Smart: Yes, there is specifically another type of Chinatown scene.
I just saw an interview with you where you said your character becomes a pole dancer in this movie. I wondered how she got into that and how you prepared for it?
Amy Smart: Well, she has become very sexually liberated and decides to pursue pole-dancing as a way of continuing that exploration. I took a number of pole-dancing classes with this choreographer, to get ready for these scenes in Crank High Voltage where she's pole-dancing happily.
Was it as easy to pull off, or did you have a martini before?
Amy Smart: No, I didn't do any of that, but it definitely takes a lot of practice to get comfortable in your movements. Those dancers and strippers make it look so easy, there's a lot more work than you'd expect. I didn't have any fancy tricks, though and it was very amateur, so I didn't have any standards to live up to.
Can you talk a little bit about working with two directors?
Amy Smart: Yes. Both of them, they actually work really well together, as well as they shoot the movie. I've worked with a number of directing teams and because they wrote it, because they see their vision so clearly with what they want, they were really fun to work with and they both have a lot of energy and they balance each other out.
Bai Ling said that you guys have a cat fight in this movie, and I was wondering if you could talk a little more about that scene and what it was like doing something that crazy?
Amy Smart: She's hilarious. She is the funniest person and we actually have a cat fight in the strip bar. She kind of tags along with Jason towards the beginning of the movie and my character is stripping and has a new boyfriend, played by Corey Haim. My character thinks he's dead, and he just shows up, so there's a little competition now between the girl that's been tagging along with him. It's funny. It's really funny. She's just has this really wild energy.
You talked a little bit about these outrageous scenes, so when they come to you and say this is what we're going to do, how game are you for doing these sort of outrageous, over-the-top sequences? Are you excited and willing to do it or do you have to work yourself up to it?
Amy Smart: Initially, I'm really excited to do it, because it's just so outrageous and I really enjoyed doing the first one, personally. I just had so much fun filming it. It's just another way to live out a fantasy, because it's not in real life and you probably wouldn't do this in real life. Because it's completely over-the-top and funny at the same time, it doesn't take itself seriously. So, half the takes are messed up because I'm laughing since it's so funny and outrageous, but I'm pretty game. I'm not scared to look like a complete fool in front of people. It's just not one of my insecurities.
Getting back to the Bai Ling fight... did you kick her ass? Did you choreograph it or did you both just go for it?
Amy Smart: It was definitely choreographed because, you know, two girls fighting, you never know what could happen. We had to look good in this film, so it was choreographed, a lot of pushing and grabbing of hair, and such.
Can you talk a little bit about working with Corey Haim? I saw a clip of you kind of roughing him a little bit, so how was it like working with him?
Amy Smart: You know, he was a lovely person to work with. He was so so happy to be back at work after so long, so grateful and happy. He himself fit the character. He lost all that weight so he's very much back to a normal body type. He has really good comedic timing and he plays my pimp/boyfriend in the film. He has this really funny moment and he thinks he's such a tough guy.
I think you did all your action sequences without a stunt double in the first movie, correct?
Amy Smart: Yes.
So did you do that in the second movie too?
Amy Smart: Yes.
Did Jason actually give you any pointers on doing these action sequences in the first one or the second one?
Amy Smart: Jason was very protective, almost like an older brother, because he wanted to make sure I felt comfortable and I felt safe. They made sure, with the stunt coordinators, that I really got down all the moves that I needed to make in order to be safe about it. He was just very protective, he just wanted to make sure I didn't hurt myself.
I'm assuming that as an actress you have to be accustomed to these long shooting days where you're working for 20 hours straight and just want to rest or take a break, which is sort of like the ongoing theme of Crank. So do you have any tips for having such a work binge, for being able to stay up?
Amy Smart: I think you have to have fun, or it's just a drag for so long. Laughing, telling jokes, having coffee or tea, having snacks throughout the day, good conversations, a great book, really just anything that you find pleasurable because long days are long days, whatever you're doing.
OK, so you try to keep it natural, and not so much with the energy drinks or anything?
Amy Smart: No, my body is really sensitive. I can't really handle all those power drinks.
Bai Ling also said that she's by Jason's side through the entire movie. I know you mentioned the cat fight, but from a performance standpoint, how does the adding of the jealousy factor alter this experience from the last movie?
Amy Smart: I think she has to fight harder to be with the person that she loves. She thinks he's dead and he comes back and she's just completely baffled why he's still alive and breathing and, yet, why hasn't he called her? It's been three months. But, they're not really a couple. She just tags along with him, so there's definitely the fight to win him back, and then on with the rest.
Do you have any plans for the summer yet?
Amy Smart: Oh, I don't know yet. I did this TV pilot called See Kate Run for ABC and we'll find out in mid-May to see if it gets picked up. If it does, it would start shooting mid-July, which kind of puts a whole kink in the summer vacation plans.
That would be good though. What's the show about?
Amy Smart: That would be great. It is about this young prosecuting attorney who hasn't been taking her career seriously. She works for the D.A.'s office and gets a case dropped on her that everyone thinks she's going to lose but she's naïve to the fact that it could be a losing case and fights really hard, wins the case and gets promoted. Then, through the passion of fighting for people that she really cares about, her career just starts to blossom. The fun part is at the very first opening scene, it takes place where she's possibly going to win the Presidency, so it gives a really great arc to where she can eventually end up. It's comedic and she's a fish out of water. She's smart but she hasn't been trying very hard in her life, so there's comedy and drama and romance.
You've talked about how you're very comfortable and not worrying about being silly on camera and how Jason was protective. A lot of the scenes from the last Crank had both of you in crazy situations, so what is Jason like? Is he always down to get naked and pretend to have sex in front of a crowd of people?
Amy Smart: No, he's much more shy than that. He's a great bad-ass on the screen, but he's definitely very humble and can be shy at times and it helps that we're both being so completely outrageous together. There's definitely that point... it's kind of like in a roller coaster where you're climbing up the tracks and you begin to anticipate that you'll have to surrender to that crazy ride. Well, that's kind of how it's like when you're doing crazy scenes in this movie, where you have to build up that anticipation where it's like, 'OK, we just have to dive into it now.' You just let go and give it all you can and it has that real adrenaline rush feeling because you're putting everything on the line and you hope it turns out O.K.
How does the relationship of Jason and (directors) Mark (Neveldine) and Brian (Taylor) evolved between the first and the second movie?
Amy Smart: I think there's just a greater level of trust. In the first movie, we were all excited and we were wondering if this was going to work. This was so outrageous and we were putting ourselves on the line and hoping it would turn out good, but could just be that it's so out there that nobody responds to it... there was more vulnerability with the first one. The second one, there was already an audience of people who enjoyed the first one and it just gave them that much more confidence in really going for it in the second one.
Has there been any talk, if this film is successful, will a third movie be a possibility, and have there been any ideas thrown around about what the set-up for that could be?
Amy Smart: I know, definitely, that they're talking about the third, but I have no idea what the story is.
You can see the lovely Amy Smart as Eve alongside Jason Statham as Chev Chelios when Crank High Voltage hits theaters on April 17.