During Lionsgate’s recent press day for Dredd 3D during the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, Dread Central had the opportunity to catch up with actress Olivia Thirlby during a roundtable interview alongside other members of the press.
Thirlby may not be a name you instantly recognize around these parts (she’s done mostly indie dramedy work before), but that’s all set to change on September 21st when Dredd 3D hits theaters everywhere and the world is introduced to her character Anderson, the rookie Judge-in-training who happens to be working alongside our hero Dredd (Karl Urban) when a drug bust gone wrong manages to anger a twisted and maniacal gang boss named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who wants them both dead.
Read on for the highlights from our SDCC roundtable interview with Thirlby, and look for Dredd 3D in theaters this September!
Question: What was the appeal of a role like Anderson for you?
Olivia Thirlby: The appeal was the amazing script and the amazing character that Alex Garland wrote for this. Dredd didn’t read like a normal genre script; the characters felt so real and the circumstances felt so realistic. There’s something I really like about the heroes in this film and about this world in general. They are just men and women really; they don’t have superhuman strength, or they’re not gods from a different planet- they’re just really brave and they feel really real to me.
Question: Is there a huge tonal difference between this incarnation and the 90’s Judge Dredd then?
Olivia Thirlby: It is a totally different reimagining of the same source material, but in this version the goal was always to stay very faithful to the comic books, which is in contrast to what the other movie had done. There’s a difference in the creative imagining of these worlds, for sure.
Question: Did you get any other insights into this world other than the script before you began working on it?
Olivia Thirlby: There are the comic books, definitely. Those had the same kind of feel that this version had so they were helpful. I picked up on a lot of the dry humor to this world, too- that kind of humor that comes from desperation where the humor just begins to leak out in very dark ways. All that really informed what we were doing, definitely.
Question: What kind of physical prep did you do to get ready for Dredd?
Olivia Thirlby: There was weapons training and handling sessions; I had never handled a gun before or fired a weapon before so I had to start from the very beginning. Karl (Urban) was an old pro of course (laughs), but I did get better.
There was also some fight training that I had to do for a few fight sequences in the film. I also had to learn how to roundhouse kick, too, which was a great challenge, but I did learn how to do it.
Question: (MINOR SPOILERS) Because your character also has psychic abilities, to what extent are they used and developed in this movie?
Olivia Thirlby: I think that because Anderson is still young, I’m sure there’s a lot more she could learn about her abilities, but she’s also had them her whole life. When she’s “cluing in” on this heightened sensitivity that she has, I think she’s really in her element and she feels more confident because she’s on her own turf, even if she is inside someone else’s mind. That’s where she excels.
She comes at it from a place of compassion, and that’s something that’s rare for a Judge; maybe that’s part of why she had always been disqualified as an unsuitable Judge up until the point of this movie. There’s something about her sensitivities on paper that makes her unsuitable to be a Judge, but you see in the movie that in the field, it’s that compassion which can distinguish her.
Question: What helped you get into the skin of your character, Anderson?
Olivia Thirlby: It was a combination of things: the suit, the weapons, the ability to do a roundhouse kick and hold my own- all of them. It just feels so cool when you’re on set dressed like this; it’s like playing laser tag but with huge production values (laughs).
Actually, it would take a team of people to get you inside the leather body suits every day, which was crazy. But there is just something about being covered in blood spatter, looking mean and having a sub-machine gun in your hands that’s really just so much fun. Oh, and being blonde; that really helped (laughs).
Check out our Dredd review.
Karl Urban stars in the title role along with Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby, and Domhnall Gleeson. Look for it in theatres on September 21st.
The future America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington, DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury, and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture: a 200-story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.
The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and director Pete Travis bring Dredd to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film. Filmed in 3D with stunning slow-motion photography sequences, the film returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.
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