Actress Antje Traue takes us through the process of becoming Faora in Man of Steel, opening in theaters everywhere June 14
While this weekend's Man of Steel does feature a slew of big-name actors (Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, and Russell Crowe), there will be a few faces many will be seeing for the first time as well. The most notable of which is Antje Traue, who horror fans may remember as Nadia in 2009's Pandorum. The lovely German actress plays the ruthless Faora, the trusted warrior of General Zod (Michael Shannon) who has quite a presence on screen, although, as I mentioned in my review, I really wish they used her more. I recently had the chance to sit down with Antje Traue to discuss all things Man of Steel, hitting theaters June 14. Here's what she had to say.
What is it like just coming in for something like this? How much did you know about the mythology and Faora, going into this?
Antje Traue: Honestly, I was aware of Superman, growing up in East Germany, but I had no emotional attachment to it. I knew I was signing up for something big, but how gigantic and the meaning it has to the Americans, I had no idea. It was a good thing, because (director) Zack (Snyder) and I agreed we wanted a fresh take on Faora. I didn't want to look into anyone else's interpretations, so it was perfect for me to start from scratch and say, 'Who is she for me, personally?' And then just go from there.
I was on the Smallville set a few years back in Illinois, but we didn't get a chance to talk to you.
Antje Traue: Lucky you! So, you knew what was going on (Laughs)
Yeah, we walk in and there's all this destruction on this little idyllic Main Street.
Antje Traue: It's hard to believe that it's my character who is responsible for that mess and chaos.
We got such a small glimpse of it, on the one day we were there, but to see that whole battle unfold, it was stunning.
Antje Traue: You saw the movie last night? What did you think?
Antje Traue: It is something else, right?
It took me awhile to wrap my head around it, to be honest with you. I've never seen visuals and set pieces like that.
Antje Traue: I felt the same way. I saw it probably two weeks ago, and for me, I'm not a very good objective viewer of the movie, obviously, because I'm dealing with memories, and what it was like to do that, but, I have to say, it's spectacular.
I know there are some actors who don't even like watching their own work, but with something like this, I'd imagine you just have to see this, because there's so much else at play here, with the visuals. I know there was a lot done practically, but there is still a lot of visual effects.
Antje Traue: For me, sci-fi movies and adventure movies, fantasy stuff, it was always something I never really felt drawn to, but since I've done movies like that, I really appreciate it.
I have to ask about the suit that you wear, the big Kryptonian suit. How constrictive was that? Was that a challenge to fight in?
Antje Traue: Yeah, it's a hot, tight, and heavy costume. They tried to make it as bearable as possible, of course, but it's there for a purpose. It's not necessary to feel comfortable in it. It is what it is.
You need it to survive.
Antje Traue: Exactly. So, I just loved to wear this costume. I really appreciated having an actual costume, but there were people like Michael Shannon, who would always just wear the full motion capture suit. I said to him, 'Isn't it funny to you, that you're almost acting in pajamas?' He laughed and said you're going to be envious in a few days, and he was right. It was like, 'Dammit, I wish I had the pajamas.' You were there. It was so hot, the brutal sun, but we made it through, and it's an amazing sequence.
I've been blown away by Michael for a few years now, so it's not terribly surprising how good he was in this. For you, working alongside him, what do you take from an experience like that, working with a guy who has so much gravitas and passion for the craft?
Antje Traue: I have to say, Michael is not only a very fine actor, he is also a very fine man. He just really helped me through this shooting by being himself. I hear people say he's so serious and he's so scary, but I experienced the total opposite. He's very kind, very funny. There were days that I understood his humor, some days I wouldn't, because English is my second language and he has a very different kind of humor. I just really enjoyed it and, for me, his take on General Zod, I just felt when I walked on set, 'There's a man who carries the fate of Krypton on his shoulders.' You really feel it, and it's an emotional take, rather than just being a warrior. You really feel that he wants Krypton to survive.
I was talking with David S. Goyer earlier, and one of the things I mentioned was how they set up the marketing. We've been getting these little bits for the past year, and when I saw it, it was completely different from what I expected. It was amazing, but they set up a movie I wasn't expecting to see. Do you have any sense of that, when you see what they're releasing as it comes out?
Antje Traue: Oh, I'm totally with you. The first trailer, when I saw it, I was in Berlin at the time, and I just thought, 'Wow.' It's just this boy running, and it's all about the story. It was beautiful. I loved that one, and then they kind of built it and built it up. Zack's tone is to balance the real part of the story and the action, and he just made it work. It's stunning.
When I first heard about him signing on, I was really intrigued. I love his movies, but they have such a different style. The style he employed for this was phenomenal. I've never seen action like this. As far as the fight scenes go with him, everything is so fast-paced and kinetic. Was it a challenge to keep up that kind of pace, throughout an extended shoot like that?
Antje Traue: They shot all the fight scenes with our stunt team, so we knew what it was supposed to look like. We had a visual already, to follow through. We took that, and transferred it to our own characters, so it was all very well-prepared.
Is there anything that you're looking to start shooting this summer that you can talk about?
Antje Traue: No (Laughs).
There is, but there's nothing you can talk about?
Antje Traue: Right.
That's my time. Thank you so much. It was a real pleasure.
Antje Traue: Thank you. Have fun today.