Dianna Agron discusses her new sci-fi movie based on the popular book.
Actress Dianna Agron is best known for her role as Quinn Fabray on the popular TV show Glee, but next year she will be making the leap to the big screen in I Am Number Four. The film is based on the popular sci-fi novel by Pittacus Lore and is directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia), and produced by directors Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay.
The movie revolves around a group of aliens, sent to Earth to hide from their enemies. These nine aliens can only be killed in numerical order. And with the first three already dead, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) discovers that he is Number Four. Torn between his love for Sarah (Agron) and his own destiny, he must team up with Number Six (Palmer) in order to unlock his secret powers, if they have any chance of survival. We recently had a chance to sit down and speak with Dianna Agron about her new film, her character, and how this movie will be different than other aliens films. Here is what she had to say:
For starters, what was it about this story that intrigued you to enough to make you want to work on the film?
Dianna Agron: This film was something that came full circle in the most wonderful way. I met Steven Spielberg in January of last year and I didn't know what to say to him but he mentioned, "There's this film and we've been thinking about you but I don't think you are available." I was just so blown away that he knew whom I was and that I wasn't some stranger crashing his party. So it started off that way and towards pre-production of the film they realized that my schedule could permit enough time to do the movie. I was given the script and it just had such a wonderful feel, all the characters were so rich and strong. There was that feeling you get when you watch Rebel Without a Cause or The Breakfast Club, with these characters that find each other in interesting ways, bond together and go on this exciting journey. I met D.J. as well and he was so warm and I was terribly nervous. I had been working for a year and half on (Glee consistently so I wasn't auditioning. I was going in to see this big director and I thought, "Oh my god, he's going to hate me." He was just so friendly and typically when you meet a director whatever their energy is that's probably what their crew is going to be like. So, sure enough with D.J. most of the crew had worked with him in previous projects and it was great. We were in Pittsburgh and kind of oblivious to anything else in the world. It was a wonderful experience from start to finish.
Did you decide to read the book that the film is based on prior to filming?
Dianna Agron: We had been given the book a couple of weeks into production. So it was that hard place where I started reading it and some things were the same and some things were so different. So I put it down until I was done shooting. Although, the author came out and he kind said everything was as it should be in his mind so that was refreshing.
What sort of stunt work did you have to do for this movie?
Dianna Agron: Well, I do some falling and running. It was so much fun! For some reason, I don't know why but I've never been skydiving, bungee jumping or any of those things yet it interests me so much, particularly when I started doing the stunt training. They asked me if I was afraid of heights and I said, "No, come on, let's go." I got on the harness; we were practicing on this real house where we ended up shooting it and it's four stories high. My joke with them was to go faster because by the time you're falling from four stories you are already slowing down. By the time your body realizes it's falling you are already slowing down because it's only four stories not ten. It was so much fun but at the same time I kept wanting more, you know, I'm watching Alex and Teresa and they are doing these awesome stunts and I got to fall. There was this one experience where we are running out of this alcove and I was supposed to be leading the way and I'm thinking, "Oh god, I was a ballerina growing up so I hope I don't trip and fall, what if I can't run really fast?" They were filming in high speed and all of a sudden they yell cut and everybody is laughing hysterically. I'm thinking what did I do? Do I look like an idiot running, what's going on? They show us the play back and I am running so fast, especially on the high speed, and no one is next to me. It's just me taking off like a mad woman. They were like maybe you shouldn't run that fast.
How would you compare Sarah Quinn, your character on "Glee?"
Dianna Agron: They are both teenagers in high schools, some people that have read the book know that she is also a cheerleader and she was popular, but those are things that are not really touched on in the film. She loves photography and she likes the idea of escaping the smaller pond that she has existed in for so long. What I loved about her is that she's strong and sensitive at the same time and when Alex's character John comes into town, it's kind of a new beginning for her. She finds this guy who interests her so much and sees her for her and doesn't have all those preconceived notions or experiences that perhaps her other peers had with her. So, it's a really great bond that they form and fall in love with each other right away. With Glee all of our characters are on this hyper reality and everybody has real emotions but everything is so poppy, granted there are real moments, but this character in particular is an old soul.
can you talk about Sarah's relationship with John and how that affects him?
Dianna Agron: When you find somebody that understands you you're able to challenge each other much more. So, I understand him even without knowing his whole back-story. He's in some ways very mysterious to me because I'm meeting him at his seventeen or eighteen year old and not ten years prior to that, so like I said we have this instant connection. I think because Sarah is struggling to really express herself the way she wants to be seen. It forces both of them to do the same with each other and to drop all the walls. They do instantly, they let each other in and that's the best type of support.
How is this movie going to be different from other films about aliens?
Dianna Agron: It's interesting because I was trying to describe this movie to my mom and my friend and I said to them it's sort of Rebel Without a Cause with aliens. I think my mom was picturing Mars Attacks with aliens coming down and lasers. From what I've seen of the cut D.J. has its really grounded within this world. It's easiest when you see it to understand. The imagery is so amazing. You've got these bad guys hunting down Alex and Teresa and the other kids, yet they don't have pointy ears, or a pointy nose or an alien head. They are very sophisticated. This is a very different vehicle that I think has never been driven before. Hopefully people will like it.
Finally, can you talk about how the characters in the movie, are really able to bring out the best in each other and what you found appealing about that?
Dianna Agron: Oh, definitely. It's funny because some of my friends now will look at pictures of me in high school and say, "Oh, you were cool," but it's so hard to slap a label on someone especially when you are going through your formative years. What's cool to somebody isn't cool to another person. I was well liked because I was really nice and I wasn't confrontational but at the same time I had no idea who I really was as a person. I had strong inklings but you know you're trying new things and you don't feel quite comfortable all the time. You are just discovering the most true self that you can find to live and existing with. I definitely feel close to those characters because I still feel like a huge nerd and if you hang around with me long enough you will realize that I am one. I have a great team around me to kind of defuse that.
I Am Number Four was released February 18th, 2011 and stars Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron, Callan McAuliffe, Kevin Durand, Jake Abel, Jeff Hochendoner. The film is directed by D.J. Caruso.