Surrogates: Interview with a Doll

Surrogates takes place in a world where people stay at home and let their doll like robots go out and interact on their behalf. Even the police. Radha Mitchell places a detective who is paired with Bruce Willis when a huge mystery falls on their laps. With the Surrogates Blu-ray & DVD about to be released, here’s a lovely chat with Australian actress Radha Mitchell. How does the action star handle stunts in high heels? What’s it like to be a sex symbol? Read on for Radha’s insights into bruises, bungee jumps, Bruce Willis and lots more…

What can you tell us about your new Blu-ray & DVD, Surrogates?

The movie is a sci-fi, action thriller and I play an FBI agent called Peters. The device of the story is that there is a surrogate technology being used in the world and the population is addicted to using it. You plug into a device, which is basically a robot, and that robot goes and performs all of your daily tasks for you. When that happens, you can manicure your life. You can organize and control how you want to live and how you want to feel. However, something goes wrong in this society and my character works alongside Bruce Willis’ character to figure out who committed a murder.

Tell us more about the surrogates…

When the story begins, the technology of surrogates has been around for years. It has been promoted because it’s considered extremely safe. You can have any kind of experience and not feel a thing. For example, you can jump out of a plane, but you’ll never be in physical danger because it’s all done vicariously. However, something terrible has happened to shake up this world – and it’s up to my character and Bruce Willis’ character to find out how and why this murder has occurred.

What would you use a surrogate to do for you? Perhaps you’d like to jump out of a plane?

I think you’d lose part of the experience if you used a surrogate for something like jumping out of a plane. Part of the experience is about risking your own mortality. I’d love to use a surrogate to do all of the boring things in life that I’ve done thousands of times before, like cleaning or household chores. However, I think I’d want to do all of the exciting stuff for myself.

Are you a daredevil at heart?

I haven’t jumped out of a plane, but I did consider it in the past. A friend of mine jumped out of a plane when I was in high school and I remember him coming back with the video, so I thought about doing it back then. Since then, I feel like there’s enough uncertainty in my life as it is without needing to add to the drama. But who knows? Maybe if the opportunity came along, I’d consider it again.

Would you ever consider a bungee jump?

Bungee jumping? No. My most daredevil experience has involved motorbike riding. I survived a motorbike accident because I fell off one, but I’m not too much of a thrill seeker in that sense.

Did you have many action scenes in Surrogates?

I have one action sequence, which was a lot of fun to shoot. I had to drive around downtown Los Angeles on the top of a bus – and my character had to jump from the bus to a car. It was all done in purple high heels, too. That’s the only way to do action scenes!

How much of the stunt work were you allowed to do?

I did some of the stunt work, but there was also a stunt girl on hand. The girl who did my stunts had to swing from ropes between buildings and things like that. There were lawyers on the set making sure I didn’t do too much, but I was allowed to run around in between fast cars and I was strapped to the top of the bus driving through the city. I discovered that I can jump from elevated sections onto targeted marks in high heels, which was fun.

Did you get any bruises along the way?

Yes, I did. I even got a scar. I got scratched jumping onto the back of a car where all of the windows had broken, but I was fine. You live with these things.

Are you an action fan?

I’m not a huge fan of action, but I like it when it’s well done. I like Asian action.

Do you like action roles where you get to kick butt?

I do. I filmed another movie recently where I got to shoot a fight sequence with a zombie and that was a lot of fun. Stunt men really shine in fight sequences and I got to fight a guy in full zombie regalia in a car wash. It was very dramatic and very fun, but I wasn’t in high heels for this one. If you can do it in heels, that’s always a plus.

How does it feel to be a sex symbol?

I don’t think I am a sex symbol. If I was a sex symbol, how would I feel about that? I think that it’s all other people’s projection. It can be fun, but it should never be taken too seriously.

What do you find sexy?

What do I find sexy in the world? I think I find the sun sexy. I think it’s sexy to lie around on the beach all day and have absolutely nothing to do. I think that’s sexy.

What are sexier scenes like to shoot on a movie set?

They are awkward. I wouldn’t wish love scenes on people. They are way too difficult to process. You just have to do them and not think about them.

How much fun did you have shooting Surrogates?

We shot a lot of the movie in Boston, which is a real gritty city where the people are great. I had a driver who had a duel life as a cage fighter, so he was certainly a lot of fun to hang out with every day. We were also near New York, so we could always disappear and visit the Big Apple if we wanted to. It was a big movie, so the sets were elaborate and it was bizarre to play these robots.

Why is it difficult to play a robot?

It’s difficult to play a robot and still keep drama within a scene because what’s robotic is not necessarily dramatic. However, it’s certainly interesting to watch a bunch of robots sitting around talking to each other. It’s an interesting concept to say the least. Playing a robot was a tricky challenge because you have to cut out any idiosyncrasies we have as human beings. You can’t slouch or shake your arms when you move. Robots are clipped, manicured and purposeful in their movements – and there was always someone on set to tell us if we weren’t doing it right.

What was it like to work alongside Bruce Willis?

That was a great experience. He’s the consummate action star and he’s a very funny man. He’s very similar to a lot of the characters he plays and it was a lot of fun to work with him. It was really interesting to see him in the dynamic of the set when he was there.

With the Surrogates DVD and Blu-Ray released soon, how much of a fan of DVDs and Blu-Ray are you?

I’ve just bought a Blu-Ray player and I’m looking forward to using it more. You know what? I love being able to watch movies whenever I feel like it, which is one of the joys of DVDs and Blu-Ray. You can just put on a movie whenever you fancy, which is a luxury that we take for granted – and it’s great.

What DVDs should everyone have in their collection?

I love the way that you can watch a whole season of a TV show in one sitting on DVD. In that respect, I really like shows like True Blood and Mad Men. However, when it comes to movies, everyone should have Blade Runner, The Matrix and Surrogates in their DVD collection.

Does this mean you are a big fan of sci-fi?

I’m not really, but Blade Runner and The Matrix are epic movies that have changed modern cinema. You should have some other classics in your collection, too.

Surrogates is Available on Blu-ray & DVD January 26th!

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