Braga’s keeping it real
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’.”