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  • Feature: The Cast of Push

    Fri, 30 Jan 2009 17:13:18

    Feature: The Cast of Push - Dakota Fanning joins Camilla Belle, Chris Evans, and Djimon Honsou in a visually-stunning, futuristic thriller [an error occurred while processing this directive]

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    For Dakota Fanning, making Push was a blast—literally. "I took some shrapnel," laughs Fanning while discussing one action-packed sequence from the sci-fi thriller. "There was this little plastic sign that exploded right as I ran by during the sequence in the fish market!"

    Co-star Chris Evans (The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) adds, "She took it like a champ, and she kept going!" However, Fanning was merely immersing herself in the movie's landscape of double-crossing, psychic espionage, fast-paced futuristic melees, and high-octane chases. Push follows Evans' Nick Gant, a telekinetic "mover" who is on the run from a shady government organization. Nick can move objects with his mind, and it comes in handy when fighting off bad guys. He's on the lam alongside Fanning's future-telling Cassie Holmes and Camilla Belle's mind-altering "pusher," Kira.

    For Belle, even though she didn't take any shrapnel, Push offered quite a workout. She explains, "It was a very physical film, and a lot of us had some intense fight sequences. At the end, I'm running around shooting guns with all of these explosions going off. Physically, it was challenging, but it was so much fun. For me, it was quite empowering to do all of the fight scenes and to really get dirty and do my own stunt work. Sure, you get bruises, but it's the most gratifying feeling."

    Belle's character also personified many qualities of classic femme fatales. "I think she definitely had those [femme fatale] qualities. [Director] Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) had talked about that a lot. He kept asking, 'How can we keep her really mysterious? How can we keep the audience guessing?' The film is more cerebral than anything else, which made it more fascinating for all of us to be a part of."

    Especially cerebral is Djimon Honsou's villain "pusher," Henry Carver. Carver's hunting Cassie, Nick, and Kira. For Djimon, the appeal of Push came from the relatable nature of the characters. Even with their superpowers, they're still conflicted people. "There's more of a humane approach to the notion of a superhero, and there's a human understanding of it. They seem much more tangible and normal. They come from somewhere, and they're heading somewhere."

    Belle delves further into these heroes' complexities. "[The premise] is almost feasible. Chris' character doesn't really have a grasp of his own power at the beginning, but it develops over time. Even Dakota's character has issues. Her powers don't always work. It applies to each character on a case-by-case basis, which it makes more feasible and more of a human experience as the characters grow."

    In addition to the complex storyline, the film is visually entrancing. With its modern Hong Kong setting and down-and-dirty shooting style, Push definitely nods to Blade Runner in terms of aesthetic. "I don't think anyone has ever seen a movie that's visually like this one before," exclaims Fanning. "It's really different. I love the categories of abilities. I think that's something that's new as well. There are a lot of things that people won't expect. It's something that I wanted to see."

    'I took some shrapnel,' laughs Dakota Fanning while discussing one action-packed sequence.

    Evans has a similar view. "Most of these [sci-fi, action] movies usually have a pretty glossy veneer. They're pretty polished. This is film is kind of dirty with guerilla, documentary-style shooting. It's a pretty interesting way to see this world, too. It was one of those scripts [where] I didn't get bored while reading! It was a page-turner."

    It'll no doubt instantly pull viewers in, primarily because of the actors' strong portrayal of these heroes. The 14-year-old Fanning saw the film as a challenge, as it truly stood apart from her other work, such as The Secret Life of Bees and I Am Sam. "I'm definitely not as rebellious and sassy as my character is. That's the thing about acting—you get to play people that aren't like you. She was very different from anyone I'd played before. I really got to develop her. It was all new and interesting."

    Fanning's been in the Hollywood game since she was six-years-old, so acting's no longer new to her, but it's no less exciting. "Acting has made my childhood so amazing. I don't think I've missed out on anything. I couldn't ask for a more enriched life so far. I got to go to Hong Kong already!"

    However, Hong Kong did require some adjusting for Evans. He laughs, "I didn't think I was a picky eater, but apparently I am. In Hong Kong, the redundancy of the food became a bit of a challenge, but we did have a Nobu in our hotel. We were surviving off Nobu."

    Well, it is the breakfast of champions.

    —Rick Florino

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    Tags: Djimon Hounsou, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Chris Evans, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Push

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