I first met Alexa Davalos when she was four years old – my brother, Michael Sloan, was producing a TV movie called Riviera in the South of France and Monte Carlo, which starred Alexa’s mother, Elyssa Davalos. She was an adorable child who has grown up to be a beautiful actress.
In Clash of the Titans she portrays Andromeda, a princess who is doomed to lose her life if Perseus (Sam Worthington), the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), is unable to stop Hades (Ralph Fiennes) from unleashing hell on earth.
I spoke with Alexa about her new role and working with Sam Worthington, who has become an overnight sensation with Avatar.
Were you a Greek mythology girl?
Oh yeah, big time. My name is Greek, my bloodline actually isn’t; it’s a very long story! I loved Greek mythology, I love history, I’m a big reader of the past, and to see the evolution of it to see it suddenly in 3D is something I never thought I’d see.
How aware were you of the original film?
The original was something I hadn’t grown up with and I hadn’t seen prior to this coming about, and I waited until the end of the film (to watch it). I’m very sensitive to imagery and I wanted to have the script of what we were doing be fresh in my mind, and so I waited and saw it afterwards.
The technology of that time and what they were doing is equivalent to what we’re doing now in terms of the 3D. It was just as mind-blowing to them as it is to us in different circumstances.
Can you talk about your character, Andromeda?
She’s incredibly strong, she’s willful; we talked a lot about her being very similar in many ways to Perseus, the kind of mentality that is willing to fight to the end, whether it means to give ones life or to save another’s life. There were a lot of similarities there, that’s the connection between them.
But there’s a vulnerability that goes along with those qualities. She’s fighting the history and the royalty of her family and forging her own way. She’s fighting against the grain of her entire existence, the heritage; she goes completely against the massive elements of her entire life and intuitively follows her own path. She’s truly connected to the people in a way her parents aren’t.
Were you excited to start working on a blockbuster film like this?
Absolutely, right from the very beginning, starting with rehearsals and going through the whole process and really working on the characters and the script and the dynamics between all of them.
Were the action sequences hard to do?
I was mainly underwater. I fell in love with it, but it was difficult. It was a completely different situation, you’re never in a calm and silent environment on a set, and (being underwater) is very much a silent and calm place, which for me was extraordinary. (Sam and I) were in there about a week tethered to things, and you are trusting someone to be a lifeline, so in those circumstances it’s intense. But I enjoyed it.
It’s different from films we have seen you in, the scope of this movie is immense. How does one wrap their mind around something like that?
I think in a way you kind of isolate yourself to a contained environment at first, you’re thinking about the character, you’re thinking about all the different dynamics inside this microcosm of what you’re actually doing, and then when you set foot on those sets is when you start to see this is huge. Fear and panic happens and then a childlike excitement happens.
The movie has an incredible cast – what was it like working with Ralph Fiennes?
He’s unlike anyone else, he’s somebody who is completely unaware of everyone around him and yet he’s so powerful. In one scene there were 200 people who got to witness this performance from him, and there was applause between takes. They would lose track of the fact that we were (supposed to be) afraid, because they were so taken by him. He’s extraordinary.
Talk a little about Sam, he’s in the biggest film ever now with Avatar.
He really surprised me, because when I met him I was so blown away by his honesty, no matter what the situation was, so there’s a trust that happens instantly when you know someone is going to tell you the truth. He’s amazing that way.
H’s a constant force of creativity, all he’s doing is thinking about the story and rethinking the story, how do we build this and change that, he’s constantly making it better. So to be working with someone like that gives you this immense sense of freedom, because there’s all this room to play and try and fall and get up again and work it out. I really had a good time with him.