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Interview: Alexa Davalos for "The Chronicles of Riddick"

By Paul Fischer Tuesday June 6th 2006 09:30PM
Alexa Davalos for "The Chronicles of Riddick"

The Chronicles of Riddick may be about Vin Diesel kicking butt, but fans of the now defunct Angel may see the film for another reason: The beautiful Alexa Davalos. Born in France, Davalos won a cult fan following with her recurring role as Gwen Raiden on Angel. Beautiful, athletic and sexy, Alexa's acting career is just taking off with the key role of Kyra in the Pitch Black sequel Chronicles Of Riddick. She sat and down with our Paul Fischer in Los Angeles.

Question: How awkward was it to play to step into the shoes played by a different actress originally?

Answer: You know what, at first it was definitely daunting and I think to step into the shoes that someone else has worn is always going to be a bit awkward but she, Rhianna gave me a real gift, a real gift in the foundation of this character and all I can do is thank her and hope that I did her justice.

Question: What were the particular challenges that you had in bringing her to life?

Answer: There are so many elements to her and so many different layers. Just from the very beginning someone who portrays herself as a boy to protect herself is very telling of her character and I think to bring that element throughout the story and throughout her challenges within herself. I think she's got a lot of internal emotional battling going on and so to try and make those things clear was definitely a challenge.

Question: How hard did you have to train for this?

Answer: So hard you wouldn't believe it. I had 2 months of training prior to this film starting and everything from wire-work to fight choreography and weapon training and shooting guns and everything you could think of.

Question: Did you get injured at all?

Answer: Nothing serious. I had lots of nicks and cuts and bruises and things but I have my Riddick war wounds to prove my hard work, so it's ok.

Question: Are you a very physical kind of person normally? Do you work out a lot?

Answer: I did not before this. I danced for a bit as a child, I did ballet and I was a bit of a swimmer but I was never an athlete until this and now I love it.

Question: So how do you keep in such amazing shape now?

Answer: I worked throughout this whole film. I think for 6 months, you're doing this every single day and so that was the maintenance and then since we finished the film, I've been keeping it up a bit because it kind of sticks with you, the feeling that it gives is nice.

Question: What part of the training are you sticking with?

Answer: I'm doing a bit of boxing here and there, which I did train with for the film and yoga to kind of counteract that. Just the little things here and there.

Question: shooting guns or?

Answer: No, no shooting guns.

Question: Had you done any training for the Angel episode that you had fighting in?

Answer: We had 5 minutes of training. 5 minutes before the thing went on; I thought I was going to have a heart-attack. No, not at all. No, we had Mike stunt coordinator there who taught me everything in 5 minutes.

Question: So this is really your first experience?

Answer: Yes, entirely.

Question: What does a show like Angel do to prepare you for something like this?

Answer: They are such different, different, different things and the process is so different working in film versus television and the length of time that you have and the time that you have to explore everything because it's so different. It's just more experience, it was more experience to get me here I guess.

Question: Did you prefer your outfits in this movie to your outfit from Angel?

Answer: Yes. 150 thousand percent, yes.

Question: Why?

Answer: Because latex is very uncomfortable to wear. It's very hot, it's very uncomfortable. Yes, it's like wearing a balloon just that you can't breathe. So yes I prefer the Kyra outfit by far.

Question: What was the most challenging stunt type thing that you had to do for this film?

Answer: None of it was easy, definitely. I mean the wire stuff is most difficult because there is so many people involved and there is one stunt where Riddick flips her around and she's kicking all these different people and the wire had to be wrapped around me in a very specific way to get my body to do that, so that was hard.

Question: You're pursuing a full time feature career, you want to try and put television behind you, would that be a fair assessment?

Answer: Yes. [Laughs] I mean I would never close any doors to anything and if it were a character that I loved regardless, I would definitely give it thought but that is my first love, film.

Question: So the idea of doing the Kyra television-show which apparently is in development is of absolutely no interest to you?

Answer: It's a difficult thing. I love playing this character and I feel so blessed of being able to play her once. I don't know. If there is going to be a C2 and C3 which is what they're telling me, so I hear, rumor has it, you know, then I would love to play her again but I don't know if I would be able to commit to 5 or 7 years on television. It's a different thing.

Question: Did you not die at the end of this?

Answer: Yes it's a science-fiction movie.

Question: What was it like fighting - um was he - did he surprise you? What were your expectations?

Answer: I didn't really have any, I didn't know much about him before going into it and he did surprise me in that he gave me so much time and energy, all of us, all of the actors just had a sort of safe haven with him of 'what do you think about this' and you know. He was very generous with his time and his knowledge of this whole process and in such a genuine and humble way that he was wonderful.

Question: Different working with Antonio Banderas. Was it very different or was it kind of the same?

Answer: I didn't have a lot to do with Antonio so I didn't get as much exposure to him but Antonio was very gracious and wonderful as well but different. A very different environment.

Question: What was it like fighting with him?

Answer: A blast, we had so much fun. This character is going toe to toe with Riddick. I mean this is a big - it's funny to see the two of us, but it was great. He was careful.

Question: How do you embody a character that obviously is supposed to be on a par with Riddick? Looking at you that's not the first thing that comes to mind so what do you have to do to transform yourself into that?

Answer: From Pitch Black the character really looked up to him and he was a bit of a mentor, there was a sort of mentor apprentice sort of energy there and she very much wanted to be like him as we see with the shaved head and all the different things, so in The Chronicles Of Riddick she really does want to be like him and move like him and be as good as him and make him proud and make him know that she can handle herself and so that was part of the character work as well.

Question: What did you think of the Angel finale?

Answer: The Angel finale?

Question: Yes.

Answer: I didn't see it. I don't know. I'll find out. I'll see it and let you all know.

Question: The science fiction fan base is quite a unique fan base. What are your experiences like with the sci-fi fans?

Answer: I haven't had much yet. I know that they're incredibly loyal which is wild, it's wonderful but I haven't.

Question: They're kind of creepy too, right?

Answer: Well that whole aspect is a little bit funny, you know. You deal with it differently in every circumstance but I haven't had much exposure to that so I don't know yet.

Question: Would you do a convention and appear at a science fiction convention if they asked you to?

Answer: I haven't done anything like that. I've never really thought about it but I don't see why not.

Question: Have you seen your action figure?

Answer: Yeah.

Question: How cool?

Answer: It's so bizarre. I like it. It's a funny thing to look at this little miniature toy, this tangible replica of yourself is funny but it's a huge compliment really, I'm flattered by it.

Question: What's your take on the Hollywood scene, are you involved in parties and that sort of stuff?

Answer: No. I'm a big dork.

Question: So what's your normal life like?

Answer: My normal life is, I love to travel and I travel as often as I can. I don't stay in one place too long. But I'm an avid reader; I guess you could say I'm a bit of a bookworm.

Question: What do you like to read or what are you reading now?

Answer: Right now I'm reading Mutant Message Down Under which is a story of a woman, this aboriginal tribe in Australia, and I read a bunch of different things at once actually.

Question: Where would you like to travel? You mentioned you like to travel where do you like traveling and where would you like to travel?

Answer: Being raised in France primarily as a child I spent a lot of time in the south of France and all through Italy and we traveled so much. I think that's why I'm so used to being all over the place but I'm desperate to go to Australia.

Question: You are? Well I'm Australian so I like that.

Answer: Are you really. That's great. I'm always working on my Australian accent.

Question: You are? How's it going?

Answer: It's going ok. [Using an Aussie accent].

Question: That's not bad actually.

Answer: Thank you

Question: It's actually better than mine

Answer: But my kiwi accent is better though.

Question: The casting process on this, was it like you and 500 girls or just you and 3 girls or how did it work out for you?

Answer: I don't know how that was. They are very respectful that way, it's nice. We don't end up all in one place, I think that would be just traumatizing. But it was a long string of auditions though the first one there was a lot of time between the first one and the rest of them.

Question: Which scene?

Answer: 'How do I get eyes like that'? That one scene.

Question: When your film career takes off and you get huge how are going to maintain your normal life?

Answer: I think it's a choice. I think it's a conscious choice of how you you're your life and what you allow to affect you and what you don't. But I just hope to just carry on one step at a time and allow it to take its course really.

Question: What are you working on at the moment? Anything?

Answer: Not right this second, no.

Question: You're taking meetings?

Answer: Oh yes.

Question: What kind of music are you into?

Answer: What am I listening to right now? - Nina Simone is one of my all time favorites. The Gypsy Kings. A bit off beat my collection of music.

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