Braga’s keep­ing it real

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - NEALA JOHN­SON Ely­sium now show­ing Vil­lage Cinemas

AUS­TRALIA is about to get a ma­jor boost in its spunk­i­ness fac­tor. Brazil­ian ac­tor Alice ( pro­nounced Ah- lease- ee) Braga, who has held her own on the big screen op­po­site Will Smith, Jodie Foster and Matt Da­mon, is headed this way next month to star in Kriv Sten­ders’ new thriller Kill Me Three Times.

Braga had been at­tached to the movie long be­fore Si­mon Pegg’s cast­ing was an­nounced in May.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited,” Braga said. “I have to learn how to surf, which is go­ing to be awe­some.

“I love Aus­tralia. You guys do amaz­ing films. My sis­ter lived there for five years. I would love to work there.”

Be­fore plan­ning on hit­ting the waves Down Un­der, the well- trav­elled Braga was in Ar­gentina mak­ing a film with Gael Gar­cia Ber­nal: “The di­rec­tor calls it a western in the mid­dle of a jun­gle,” she said. “It’s a very in­tense film.”

And be­fore that, she was in one of the world’s largest rub­bish dumps in Mex­ico City shoot­ing Ely­sium, the new sci- fi flick from Dis­trict 9 di­rec­tor Neill Blomkamp.

Though she laughed at the mem­ory of co- star Matt Da­mon get­ting cov­ered in poo while work­ing at the tip, she said the lo­ca­tion brought a stark re­al­ness to the film.

“The mas­sive dif­fer­ence about shoot­ing in places like that is the whole crew doesn’t get the point of view from out­side, but in­side. Like, the guys em­braced get­ting real s--- on their face. It brings to the au­di­ence how real it is. It’s not a set made in Van­cou­ver try­ing to match up with Mex­ico City.”

Braga plays a nurse in the film, which imag­ines what Earth would be like if the su­per- rich one per cent ( led by Jodie Foster) lived in a utopian space sta­tion, called Ely­sium, leav­ing the ru­ined planet be­low to the re­main­ing 99 per cent.

Braga, who shot to fame in her home­land a decade ago with City of God, fought for the role of nurse Frey San­ti­ago by email­ing Blomkamp “at least 100 times”.

“He must [ have thought] I was re­ally an­noy­ing him,” she said.

Braga has done the tough sci- fi/ ac­tion chick thing be­fore, not least along­side Will Smith in I Am Le­gend. But Ely­sium was dif­fer­ent enough to in­spire her to chase it.

“When you do ac­tion films it’s fun be­cause you’re al­ways run­ning and shoot­ing and shout­ing … and Ely­sium, of course, has all of it,” she said. “But this char­ac­ter is dif­fer­ent be­cause I don’t hold a gun – I’m the girlie girl in the film, which is awe­some.

“I re­ally love this char­ac­ter be­cause I think she re­ally rep­re­sents our young peo­ple in the slums nowa­days – how they don’t have many op­por­tu­ni­ties in life, how hard they have to fight to get their dreams to be­come true.

“She rep­re­sents the young women we see in third- world coun­tries who have a kid when they’re young and life makes you ma­ture faster than you nor­mally would.”

Braga said her char­ac­ter sits apart from the sci- fi chaos of the story.

“She’s just a girl fight­ing for her life and for her kid’s life in this hard world.”

The 30- year- old had strong fe­male role mod­els grow­ing up in Sao Paulo. Her aunt, So­nia Braga, is a leg­endary ac­tress in Brazil.

“So­nia was an in­spi­ra­tion not only for me but for many ac­tresses in Brazil – she was a phe­nom­e­non,” Braga said.

But it was Braga’s mother, Ana, also an ac­tress, who re­ally got her hooked on the busi­ness.

Braga’s first pro­fes­sional gig came as an eight- year- old, do­ing a com­mer­cial with her mother’s friends.

And she said her mum still of­fered a guid­ing hand.

“Ev­ery time I jump on a plane, be­fore I go do a film, we al­ways have the same talk, it’s al­most like a prayer: ‘ Do it with soul, do it with pas­sion. Be­lieve it, be­cause if you be­lieve it, ev­ery­one’s gonna be­lieve it. I hope it works’.”

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