With "Sucker Punch," Zack Snyder's latest visual spectacle, the director wanted to travel to the opposite end of the spectrum from his all-male testosterone-fest "300." Bringing together elements of Baz Luhrmann's red curtain trilogy and "Inception," this tale of five female inmates in a 1950s mental institution fighting for their freedom in an "Alice in Wonderland"-by-way-of "Sin City" action adventure has been building major buzz since the first footage was shown at Comic-Con earlier this year.
"Sucker Punch" features a comely cast of young actresses, led by Australian actresses Abbie Cornish and Emily Browning, alternately kicking ass in fetish wear and lounging in costumes seemingly leftover after "Burlesque" wrapped.
In order to get his cast in pristine shape, as well as ensure they could believably wield swords, guns and fists-of-fury, Snyder had his leads train with Navy SEALs and the men responsible for choreographing the "Bourne" series five days a week, six hours a day, for three months. When audiences buy a ticket to "Sucker Punch," theyre also getting one for the gun show because these girls got jacked.
"So much of the training was really enjoyable," Cornish tells PopcornBiz. "Guns, MMA, the wire work, it was all so amazing."
Browning is more willing to admit she had some struggles pushing her body to the limit day after day. "My least favorite [exercise] was the rowing machine. It's my nemesis," Browning sneers. "It makes me dizzy, I can never get my technique right; it was awful."
But she also had triumphs. "My favorite was when I finally got to the point where I could do pull ups," Browning grins. "We'd go into the gym at lunch when we weren't even training and see how many we could do, because it was such a great feeling. Plus, it's tougher for girls because our center of gravity is lower."
"We're just not built up like that," Cornish adds.
"We were!" Browning laughs.
"Oh yeah we were. I remember looking at onset photographs the first week and going, 'My arms are as big as my head,'" Cornish smiles.
"It was cool, as a woman, to be training not to be thinner but to be strong. It was so empowering. There was nothing superficial about it. We were just trying to be as tough and strong as possible."
"Sucker Punch" opens this Friday.