It might just be 2009's most anticipated movie, and if "Watchmen" is half as good as it's classic source material, it could become the best superhero movie of all time. So, for more reasons than usual, it was a thrill to recently bump into the stunningly sexy Carla Gugino — meeting up on the red carpet at the recent SAG Awards, we were both excited to break her silence and engage in some red-hot, non-embargoed Sally Jupiter action.
"It was really one of the craziest, most fun roles I've ever gotten to play," marveled the "Sin City" star, cast as the burlesque dancer who proves to be the most PR-savvy of the complex superheroes. "I start at 25 years old in the 1940s, and I age to 67 years old with full prosthetics in the 1980s. [Sally] is a larger-than-life character. She's a costumed crime fighter, but her idea of a costume is very Bettie Page-meets-[Alberto] Vargas."
As those who've read Alan Moore's beloved 1986 comic know, Gugino's character dubs herself "The Silk Spectre" and becomes a de facto matriarch among the alternate-reality antiheroes. Years later, she'd pass the torch to daughter Laurie ("The Heartbreak Kid" star Malin Akerman) and retire — but not until after she might have been raped by another so-called "hero."
"The rape scene is pretty crazy that Jeffrey Dean Morgan and I have," Gugino insisted. "Not that I would say that's the one I really want you guys to see. ... The title sequence of this movie is going to be extraordinary. We spent many weeks over the time of the shoot shooting it. That's going to be a very, very special thing that wasn't scripted, that will be really empowering."
In those opening credits, Snyder is mixing CGI and real-life footage to establish the close-but-not-quite reality of a "Watchmen" world that mirrors our own. "It incorporates real history and the fictitious world of Watchmen, and so it's very cool," Gugino explained. "We meet Nixon and all sorts of people."
And once those credits conclude, Gugino gets to squeeze into a famously skimpy costume and re-create the character's superhero heyday. "I kick a small amount of ass. I don't kick as much ass as some people do in the movie, however," she sighed. "But I get to play an old lady, which was just, for me, the most fascinating thing. To start as this young crime fighter and end up an alcoholic woman in her late 60s was for me enough of a challenge; let's put it that way."
The actress also got to don Sally's trademark hairdo, albeit a slightly more plausible version. "We did our own take on the poodle [haircut]. It's not quite as poodle-y, though it's an homage to the poodle," Gugino laughed. "I wear red wigs; I've been in many hairdos this year, on many things. Sometimes I have to look in the mirror to remember which character I'm playing."
On March 6, 2009, however, it seems quite likely that Gugino and many of her co-stars will be appearing in the most unforgettable roles of their careers. "It was really great," she remembered of the Canadian shoot. "The cast is extraordinary; we all really bonded with each other. [Director] Zack Snyder has such a very strong and clear vision for this piece."