NEW YORK – Jude Law (search) seems funnier and more freewheeling than I would have expected. Gwyneth Paltrow (search) giggles easily and still has a glow from the recent birth of her fruit-inspired daughter, Apple.
The co-stars sit in a midtown Manhattan suite eager to discuss "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," a major motion picture that was inspired by a 6-minute short film.
"Sky Captain" is unlike anything most audiences have seen before. It uses no sets, only computer generated imagery. The actors performed in front of a green screen, and all the amazing scenery around them was put in later.
One thing is real though: Paltrow and Law's characters slap each other around in the film.
McCuddy: Who got to hit who more?
Law and Paltrow: (Laugh)
McCuddy: You get to clock each other pretty good.
Paltrow: He hits me more. (To Law) Do I hit you? Oh yeah, I do, I do.
Law: You mean who took the longest? To get it right? Number of takes?
Law: Gee, I don't remember.
Paltrow: I don't remember either.
Law: I think it was pretty evenly balanced.
McCuddy: And no actors were harmed in the making of this film?
Law: Everyone keeps asking, 'Did you really hit her?'
Law: I was like, 'Are you kidding me? It's make believe!'
McCuddy: This film is all make believe. Do you think we're coming to a time when there won't be any sets anymore? Everybody will just make films in a room in George Lucas' basement?
Paltrow: (Laughs) I don't think so. I mean I think it depends on the type of film. (Computer generated imagery) is a great way to make a film like this.
Paltrow: It's quick, it's efficient, the director can fully execute his entire vision, you know, basically painting the whole film around us.
McCuddy: But at the end of the day do you think, 'What did we just do?'
McCuddy: Until you see it the first time?
Law: Yeah, a little bit.
Law: I mean, there was a kind of blueprint we could follow. And there were loads of references — visual references that we could use — but after a while we didn't even bother using those. We just kind of 'gone along with our thing,' knowing, hoping, trusting that what was going to be added would work.
McCuddy: Isn't that a leap of faith?
Law: It's just like being in a different type of film. Some people like comedy, some people like drama, some people like action, you know? It's the same with how those films are made. Each one requires a different approach.
McCuddy: It's just a new process?
McCuddy: And fun because the first time you see it is the first time you see it?
Law: Yeah, that's true.
Paltrow: It was a great surprise. I was thrilled because, I mean, we had an idea of what the quality of it would be and the tone and kind of texture from the short film that Kerry (Director Kerry Conran) showed us. But we didn't know how it would work in a feature film. And I waited until the movie was completely finished before I watched it so I was just 'gobsmacked' by how it looked.
Law: And part of it, when we did see that 6-minute film, I remember both of us saying or agreeing it was like, 'God, I want to be in that!'
Law: It was weird to see something finished that was close to what you knew you were going to be in. I mean you gotta say, 'Oh yeah, I want to be in that, it looks really cool.'
McCuddy: Now Gwyneth, you weren't pregnant during principle photography?
McCuddy: But you had come back for some additional shooting and you were pregnant?
McCuddy: And they put you in chains for a scene?
Paltrow: (Smiling) That's right. We were chained to a...hmmm.
Law: Robot probably.
Paltrow: (Laughs) We don't know. It was a blue something. They were going to make it into something.
Law: And they didn't.
McCuddy: The scene was cut.
Paltrow: Yeah. And I was pregnant.
McCuddy: Would you be surprised to learn it was a giant Dali Lama?
Law and Paltrow: (Laughs)
Law: A robotic, giant, Dali Lama.
McCuddy: Shifting gears a bit, how active should actors be in politics?
Law: I think in the right forum, I mean if you're an actor, if you're an anyone, doing anything and you put yourself in a political forum then obviously you're doing something as a human rather than an actor. As a fireman, or a teacher with a political opinion, I think there's a time for everything.
Paltrow: I definitely don't think it's a responsibility if you're a public figure — in whatever arena — that you have to share your political views. I understand if people want to do it. I think it's great if they have issues that they want to talk about or stand behind or encourage people to vote. But I think it's better to encourage people to think, and let them sort of decide for themselves what are their important issues and therefore which candidate they're going to vote for.
"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" opens Sept. 17.