Feature: Aylet Zurer in Angels and Demons
Fri, 15 May 2009 11:40:37
Ayelet Zurer Videos
Rome is nice any time of year.
When you're there shooting Angels and Demons with Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, it's probably even a little nicer. Ayelet Zurer has quite a few intriguing on-location stories, but one instantly stands out.
"One night we went to watch a soccer game in a bar," says Ayelet. "I found myself with Tom and Ron walking into Piazza Navona. There was a beautiful choir in the middle of the square singing songs, and they sang “Happy Days” to Ron. [Laughs] We went to the one little restaurant that stayed open late. While we were there, Tom and Ron talked about the making of Apollo 13. As I sat there listening to my new friends, I felt like I was on top of the world. We were surrounded by culture, panini and a capella singing. [Laughs] That doesn't happen every day."
However, such seemingly surreal occurrences—at least to Zurer—were commonplace on the set of the film. The hotly anticipated prequel to The Da Vinci Code is bound to make a big splash with filmgoers this summer. This time around, there's a lot more action as Robert Langdon (Hanks) and Vittoria Vetra (Zurer) attempt to prevent the murder of papal candidates and a nuclear explosion aimed at the Vatican.
“Vittoria is an intelligent, well-educated modern woman. I really liked that sense of awareness.”
For Ayelet, Vittoria was quite the heroine. She explains, "Vittoria is an intelligent, well-educated modern woman. She's very driven, but she's plunged into a strange and dramatic situation in the movie. If she has a question, she wants the answer and she'll find it no matter what. I really liked that sense of awareness."
Her awareness comes from a combination of deep scientific knowledge and heightened empathy. She stands alone—a woman of science scouring the Vatican for a weapon. Ayelet was able to explore the friction that Vittoria experiences in the setting.
"Faith is a mystery for her," she continues. "If she can be in control, she will be for sure. She's not really in control when she comes into the Vatican though. She got used to expressing her ideas because she's grown up an equal in the field she's in. Though science may still be male-dominated, if you have the brains you're equal—even if you're wearing heels."
The film leaves open the faith debate between science and religion, causing viewers to think a bit more than the average thriller would. "It raises the question, but it definitely doesn't give an answer. However, there is a possibility of the powers merging—brain and heart, faith and science. I like that."
Rome also helped bring the character out of Ayelet. She continues, "The fact that you can find beauty and history everywhere in Rome is incredible. You get lost seeing fountains and churches you'd never thought you'd see before. You never know how things create emotions and ideas in you. In Rome, it really is happening to you every single moment you're out there."
"I had to create a depth and sense of reality for that character,” she concludes. “I thoroughly investigated specific women in that field, and I learned a lot. The science aspect was very interesting to me. I was also happy I could understand some of it,” she laughs.