INTERVIEW: Djimon Hounsou On “AIR”
I had this great chance to talk to this twice Oscar nominated actor who works in front of the camera in addition to voice acting in animated films.
Air Official Summary: In the near future, breathable air is nonexistent and two engineers (Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou) tasked with guarding the last hope for mankind struggle to preserve their own lives while administering to their vital task at hand.
Tony Tellado: Your character of Cartwright kind of sees the big picture of things while Norman Reedus’ Bauer is all about survival. How did you see Cartwright ?
Djimon Hounsou: I saw him really very much like that.One who is so much more cultured and carries much more integrity as to what the job required and obviously he’s the scientist (Norman Reedus’s Bauer) so he’s the one for me to even exist, to have any existence for that matter, I have to cater to him. I think ge comes from that mindset.
Tony Tellado: The movie is really about making choices and there are some very hard ones. Coment on that and the journey that these to men have to make those choices.
Djimon Hounsou: We were limited to a confined space, driven to service humanity with a great amount of uncertainity if this task is even feasible. Given the confined environment I think it brought those two guys together as to what their aims are. That’s really the study of this film how two individuals could survive in such a confined space and challenging conditions like that.
Tony Tellado: You’re working with Norman. Did you gentleman have time to rehearse beforehand ?
Djimon Hounsou: In some movies there is very little time for rehearsal. There’s very little time to prep. And there’s little means to tell a story. So again you do what you can.
Tony Tellado: Would you say that there’s hope in this movie ?
Djimon Hounsou: Oh Absolutely. A great amount of hope.
Tony Tellado: And your character of Cartwright embodies that.
Djimon Hounsou: Yeah. Cartwright embodies hope. Absolutley.
Tony Tellado: And he’s driven by love very much as well
Djimon Hounsou: Yes. In a way yes. He is very much driven by love.
Djimon Hounsou: That’s the only way that he’s able to keep his sanity.It has kept them together in a way.
Tony Tellado: You were great as Korath in Guardians Of The Galaxy. You’ve done a few Sci-Fi films. Is that a genre that draws you to it ?
Djimon Hounsou: I like Sci-Fi. It’s literally thinking…doing Sci-Fi is basically thinking of our future.The future of mankind from this stage on.
Tony Tellado: For this project how did it come to your attention ?
Djimon Hounsou: I think it was something that came through my manager. This kind of project is hit or miss. But we’re creating something interesting.
Tony Tellado: The director, Christian Cantamessa also wrote the story. Did he give room to play, to get your characters down ?
Djimon Hounsou: Plenty, Plenty..
Tony Tellado: (Laughs)
Djimon Hounsou: Plenty of room to play but limited to time.
Tony Tellado: What was the shooting schedule like for you gentlemen ?
Djimon Hounsou: Hectic. Every day for thirty days.
Tony Tellado: Did you ever feel claustrophobic working in the same kind of environment ?
Djimon Hounsou: Of course. Especially for me. That was the reason why Norman didn’t play my character.
Tony Tellado: There is a haz mat suit involved. I think that it’s a first time you wore something like that. Is that right ?
Djimon Hounsou: Yeah. I’m pretty sure you’re right. I don’t recall another time I did.
Tony Tellado: So you’re like the character and have a problem with clausterphobia ?
Djimon Hounsou: No. But everyone has a problem with clausterphobia. Some cannot deal with it at all and some to some extent.If faced with life and death you’re going to have to come to some understanding very quickly with clausterphobia.
Tony Tellado: Did you get a chance to meet Robert Kirkman who is the producer ?
Djimon Hounsou: Yes. He was on the set.
Tony Tellado: I guess you are familiar with The Walking Dead ?
Djimon Hounsou: Yes I am.
Tony Tellado: Cool
Djimon Hounsou: Very successful show.
Tony Tellado: I really like the choices that Norman made for his character. I liked they way you played off each other. It seemed very natural watching you two act.
Djimon Hounsou: Thanks buddy.
Tony Tellado: This is a great part for you.
Djimon Hounsou: Yeah. With a little more budget we can do so much more.Again time and limited financing limits your creative input.But it is a great character and great storyline.It was great to explore that.
Tony Tellado: I think it helps that the budget wasn’t big.
Djimon Hounsou: Kind of like the guerilla filmmaking kind of brings people together very quickly.You’re very more engaged in the creative side.
Tony Tellado: It has to be a character study more than anything
Djimon Hounsou: It sure was a character study.
Tony Tellado: Is there anything else you have coming up ?
Djimon Hounsou: Yes. I do have Knights Of The Roundtable with Guy Ritchie directing coming out next year. I have Tarzan directed by David Yates coming out next year as well. Same Kind Of Different As Me directed by Michael Carney with Greg Kinnear and Renée Zellweger.
Tony Tellado: Well you’re busy. That’s a good thing.
Djimon Hounsou: Yes It’s a good thing. (laughs)
Tony Tellado: I have always admired your work . This is a movie that I really liked and everybody should see it.
Djimon Hounsou: Thanks very much so. Thank you for the support. Hopefully we can talk again when Tarzan and Knights Of The Roundtable come out.
Tony Tellado: I would like to see what you do there. Your bring a fresh perspective to all your roles.
Djimon Hounsou: Thanks buddy. Thank you very much.Take care Tony
Special thanks to Automatik Entertainment and Prodigy Public Relations