“Blade Runner 2049” opens this Friday, Oct. 6. The movie advances a dystopian environment and continues to ask some very fundamental questions about humanity, although there’s a bright spot in the gloom that pervades the storyline.
Cuban actress Ana De Armas portrays Joi, the girlfriend of protagonist K, played by Ryan Gosling.
We caught up with the actress, and she revealed the motivation and drive behind her character.
Q. What’s Joi like?
She’s very complex, emotional, intelligent and strong. She’s easy to talk to and she shows love. She’s very important in K’s life. She’s the only one he can trust and a light at the end of the tunnel for him. She’s there to put out some details he’s missing.
Q. How did you step into her character?
Denis (Villeneuve, the director) was looking for someone warm and capable of showing vulnerability. He didn’t mind my ethnicity and wanted to keep my accent. Someone who is grounded and has that feeling of home – those are qualities Denis saw in me. It was a blind audition; I didn’t have a script or anything. It was a very intuitive process. It was my interpretation of the scene and those qualities came out.
Q. Sounds like the character unfolded in an organic way.
This was a very new character and there was very little research we could do on her. In a way, that was freeing – a blank canvas where we were able to build something new. Everything was possible. What’s fascinating about her and the movie is the scope of it is enormous, but that never affected the humanity of the story. We were shooting in the apartment for a while, and it was very small and felt claustrophobic, but at the same time it was the best place to be because it was home. Even though outside was so chaotic, sad and lonely, that was our little paradise; the place we feel safe.
Q. It seems that although Joi offers K that warmth and space for him to be a regular person, he’s still so shut off.
He’s very conflicted. He’s searching for his own identity. What will he do with those answers that may change everything? Will he actually have the courage to look for it and find it?