Hip-hop star Common has made a name for himself as an actor in recent years, starring in gritty crime dramas like "Smoking Aces," "American Gangster" and "Street Kings." He's also been connected to several comic book movies including last summer's "Wanted" as well as being cast as Green Lantern John Stewart in the never produced live-action Justice League film. Now the performer is taking on another beloved sci-fi property with next month's "Terminator Salvation," in which he stars as Barnes, a member of John Connor's human resistance squad.
Former model and LA Lakers cheerleader Moon Bloodgood was first noticed for her acting in a string of time-travel-themed TV shows, "Day Break" and "Journeyman." Since then she has appeared in several films including "Eight Below," "Pathfinder" and "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li." Next month, Bloodgood will be introduced to a whole new audience as Blair Williams, a no-nonsense, battle-hardened pilot and member of the human resistance in "Terminator Salvation."
CBR News had an opportunity to speak with Common and Moon Bloodgood back in February at San Francisco's WonderCon. The actors discussed the new film, their careers, the franchise's long history and what it's like to work with Christian Bale.
CBR: Did either of you have to do anything special to prepare for your roles in "Terminator Salvation?"
Common: I guess for me, I just really started learning my character. Because my character was initially not really written too much, he was really just a badass guy. You know, he was really the big heavy of the movie and [director] McG wanted more to the character. I was glad he wanted more because I didn't want to be the big bulky guy there. So I worked on different things, thinking about how it would be in a world that was post apocalyptic? You know, in a world where things have been destroyed and we're really fighting for survival. Emotionally, that took me to different places. Then each situation is different. Each scene takes you to different places emotionally.
There was a scene, I don't' think it's in the movie anymore, where I didn't know if Marcus is a machine or not. None of us know what he really is and it's like I was letting out all my fury because I'd encountered a being from this other world. I let it all out on him and you know that scene was emotional in certain ways. It got kind of deep when we were doing it. Sam is a great actor. Moon and I were talking and we were really impressed by what he was doing.
Moon Bloodgood: It was hard because when I came on I was first up, Sam and I. I had done all this work on my back-story. I made notes and figured out my character. We had rehearsals for two weeks but then Christian came on and the script was changing. Things were changing and there needed to be a spot of spontaneity. A couple of my story parts changed and I thank god I had worked on who I was and what my relation was to Marcus. But at the same time, I sort of had to be in the moment because it would be like, "Oh, your father was a crop duster. Oh wait, no he wasn't." I was like, okay? And literally you're shooting in an hour. You had to be like, "Okay, lets go."
As an actor, the technical part was a really big learning experience. How to not be set in your back-story; who you think you are.
Common: I remember one day they came and told me, "Yo, this is the scene where your brother got killed." I was like, "I didn't know I had a brother?" By the time I got to the set they were like, "He's not your brother anymore." I was tripping. You got to be ready.
Moon, were you a Terminator fan before being cast in the film?
Bloodgood: Oh yeah. I mean, it sounds like we all say that but I really was. I loved the first and second films they're my favorites.
It's been said that this film pays homage to the first two films of the series but why not the third? What was wrong with that film in your opinion?
Bloodgood: I can't say... I don't know? How do I answer that?
Common: You know, people have different opinions. It's art. Everybody ain't going to like everything.
Bloodgood: It's perspective.
Common: Yeah, it's perspective and stuff. You know, obviously most of the people that you hear speaking about it must not have a connection with the third movie, that's why they say we're paying homage to the first and second. No disrespect to the third but the first and the second is what we love.
Bloodgood: Great, I didn't even have to answer that. I get it though, why you asked.
What was it like working with Christian Bale?
Common: My first scene with him was actually one of the first scenes I had dialogue in so it was exciting and I was charged up. It was the scene I was talking about, where they told me that my brother or one of my comrades had died. John [Connor] is coming back from war, an actual battle, and he's telling us what happened. It was good. It really was a great expression for me and I really loved it. For me, it was kind of an emotional thing that he was saying, "Yo, this dude just died. He didn't make it." My whole thing was like, "Hey if you die fighting what's real than that's the way it had to be." So you know I had to pull that solider out of me on that one and it was fun.
One time Anton [Yelchin] and I were talking about it, you want scenes where you really do something as an actor not only just running around and shooting. So any scene where I'm getting any type of emotional expression I dig.
Bloodgood: Especially with Christian Bale.
Common: Yeah, with Christian Bale. I was really serious about wanting to work with him. Christian Bale is on that list of actors I wanted to work with.
Common, after you appeared in "Wanted," you were set to play Green Lantern/John Stewart in the Justice League movie that never happened. Now you're in "Terminator Salvation," which has a similar fan base. Are you yourself a fan of comic books and the sci-fi genre?
Common: Yeah, I was into comic books. I can't say I was like a fanatic of them but I definitely loved "Super Friends." I was in to Aquaman because I'm a Pisces and he was the water guy. You know, I loved "Terminator" and "Star Wars" and movies like that. Sci-fi movies have transcended every genre in a way. When I would go see those movies I wasn't thinking, "Oh man this is a science fiction movie." I'm just like, "I'm going to see a good movie. Damn that's C3PO and Luke Skywalker." I just connected with it.
It seems that you've become the go-to-guy for these types of movies, is that something you're happy about or are you worried about being typecast?
Common: I feel grateful and blessed to be cast in the movies that I'm in right now. But I definitely want to open it up because I want to do everything from drama to independent films, love stories and romantic comedies. But right now I just started building a niche and building a name for myself in this world so I'm grateful to be in "Terminator Salvation."
What's your opinion of the upcoming Green Lantern movie that's beginning production?
Common: I think it's going to be really cool man. I mean, obviously I wish they were doing the John Stewart character. But they're paying respect to where Green Lantern came from with Hal Jordan. He was the first Green Lantern so I think it's going to be great. The director that they chose, Martin Campbell, he did that "Casino Royal" and he rocked that so I think it's going to be good.
Finally, Moon, there's been some controversy over a nude scene you have in the film and whether that will be cut or not. Do you know anything more about that?
Bloodgood: It's a really pretty shot. I'm very sarcastic about it but I'm actually being really serious. I wouldn't have done it, first of all, if I felt uncomfortable. Secondly, it wasn't a sexual thing. Obviously it's sexual but it's a silhouette and there's rain. It's this moment where I'm lustful. I'm drawn to this man and I just don't care anymore. Its like, if you see me, see me naked, see my vulnerability, see my emotions see, my body because I'm not that girl. I just want him to see me.
It depends if it's PG-13 or if it's R. There are scenes where it's all my hand and I'm covered. I don't know. It doesn't bother me. I think sometimes as an actress you're seen as sexual but you probably don't have a lot of depth. You're probably not that bright. I've just given up and said, "You know, I know who I am. I know that I'm not just about sex, tits and boobs. I know that I have depth." Are my boobs going to be seen, I don't know?
"Terminator Salvation" opens May 21.