Paula Patton is a talented actress who has quickly established herself as a leading Hollywood performer with roles in movies such as Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol, 2 Guns, and Precious. Now, Patton is stepping into the fantasy world for the very first time in the widely anticipated Warcraft: The Beginning. In celebration of its release, Patton spoke to eniGma’s Mahmoud Al Badry about her experience while shooting the movie, her character, and how it was surprisingly lovely being green!
Warcraft is one of the biggest and most popular video game series in the world. As such, to finally see it adapted on the big screen comes as no great surprise. Warcraft: The Beginning was released internationally on the 25th of May in both IMAX and 3D. This thrilling fantasy’s premise revolves around the conflict between the human realm of Azeroth and an army of Orcs seeking to find a planet to call home. In the movie, Patton plays Garona, a woman torn between two worlds having been born an enslaved half-human, half Orc. In the face of such all-out war, though, Garona might just be the only person capable of bringing both sides together. This demanding part was a very welcome one for Patton, who seemed to relish playing such a dramatic role in what promises to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters.
Q: Who is Garona, and how does she fit into the movie?
She’s the slave of Gul’dan (Daniel Wu). She then finds herself in the human world of Azeroth, an incredible, culturally diverse region. It’s not just inhabited by humans; a lot of magical creatures live there as well. It is really unlike anything that you can find in Orc. Garona herself is someone who never really fits in anywhere. It’s sort of like a ‘fish out of the water’ story as she finds herself in this human world. That obviously affects her and changes her emotions a lot. You don’t really know where her loyalties lie; after all, she’s half-half so to speak. She’s the survivor who gets on with wits. She’s stronger than a human, but not as strong as an Orc. She’s extremely adaptable and has managed to survive in both the Orc and human worlds.
Q: How did you come to play her?
I heard that the director, Duncan Jones, wanted to meet with me about the role. I read the script and even though I didn’t know anything about the game, the screenplay simply moved me. When we finally met and discussed his vision, I was intrigued beyond words. I was scared, and knew it would be a challenge, but I was very excited about it.
Q: Was there something in specific that you wanted to bring to the role?
For me, part of how I prepare for roles is by studying the person that I’m supposed to play. I pay a lot of attention to what her personality is like, what she does for a living, and all the quirks that she’s supposed to have. With Garona, it was really difficult for me since there was no real life template of what she’s supposed to be like. I really wanted to make sure that her Orc-ness was there, and I wanted to show that she was a warrior and a survivor. I knew that there was an audience of people who already loved the character, so the challenge was in honoring and respecting their idea of Garona and then putting that into the character. I just took a leap of faith in that respect, and I really hope that it resonates with people.
Q: How was the process of bringing her to life?
Everything was done the day of; my makeup would take hours to be completed before every shoot day. As for skin colour, we kept testing different ideas on how she would look like. In the end, we thankfully decided on green. Her skin tone could best be described as olive-green, although it does change slightly based on circumstances around her, just like ours. I loved everything makeup-related because it made me feel very un-human like, like an animal really, in the way I saw things. Once I put the contacts and tusks on, I couldn’t help but feel like Garona. Even though I would naturally complain occasionally about how long it took to get into character, I really am grateful and thankful for it because it helped me feel her that much more. Ever since we finished shooting the movie, I can only remember the good stuff about these moments.
Q: Did you have any Orc movement training?
The challenge was to somehow be Orc-like, yet still be inherently human. To shoot the movie, I really had to get in touch with my body, the way an animal would, and tap into that side of my personality. In the beginning, you think you’re doing it right, but you’re really not. Once I started being able to do it, though, it was an extremely fun and invigorating challenge; that was one of the most compelling aspects in the movie for me.
Q: How was it like to speak in the Orcish language?
That was really challenging. I worked with a dialect coach to do the language, and with the tusks on top of it, it was really another challenge for me. Nevertheless, I loved it. I would even speak it around the house with my son. I can’t remember any of it now, but I worked and worked on it throughout, because I wanted to seem conversational.
Q: How would you say Duncan Jones fared as the director?
He’s incredible; he had such tremendous vision. This is a truly big movie, yet I don’t think he ever raised his voice. He just had a very calm demeanor throughout. He knew what he wanted, he knew what it was supposed to look and feel like and then he still gave you room to create your character and do what you needed to do.