In Elektra Luxx, the follow-up to writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez’s 2009 film Women in Trouble, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui plays Bambi, a sexy stripper who has gone on a getaway trip to Mexico with her best friend, Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki). While away, porn star Holly Rocket decides to finally get up the courage to tell Bambi how she really feels about her, truly shocking the unexpecting Bambi.
At the film’s press day, Emmanuelle Chriqui did this exclusive interview with Collider, where she talked about revisiting this character, how much she has enjoyed working with Adrianne Palicki, and how Sebastian Gutierrez is great to work with because he just innately understands her, as a person. She also talked about voicing a character on the ThunderCats reboot on Cartoon Network (update: we’ve spoken to the studio and confirmed it’s Cheetara) and the Tron: Uprising animated series (set to air on Disney XD in the summer of 2012, with a preview on the DVD/Blu-ray release of Tron: Legacy), her role on the upcoming Showtime series The Borgias, and what she’d like to see happen with her character on the last season of the HBO series Entourage. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI: I got introduced to Women in Trouble through Sebastian [Gutierrez] and Carla [Gugino], who are very dear friends of mine. When I read it, I just was floored. I had never played a role like this. It was the opportunity to sink my teeth into something, totally let loose and be crazy in a really controlled way because Bambi is actually not crazy. In Women in Trouble, you see her and she kind of looks crazy, with her little wig and her purple chaps, but she’s quite sensible, very smart and very efficient. There was just this great banter between Holly Rocket and Bambi that made me think, “Oh, I would love to do this.” It ended up being a great experience, working with Adrianne [Palicki], and then it continued into Elektra Luxx. I’m so happy.
When you knew that you would be revisiting this character, did you talk to Sebastian about aspects of Bambi that you’d like to explore this time around?
CHRIQUI: The thing that’s so amazing about Sebastian is that he already had that sense about it. He already knew that we had to show different aspects. Bambi is always so controlled that you want to see her be out of control, you want to see her flustered, and you want to see her at a loss and vulnerable because we don’t ever see her that way. And then, it puts Holly Rocket in this place of taking the bull by the horns, and you never see her do that either. It was just there, in the writing.
Was there anything that really surprised you about Bambi, this time around?
CHRIQUI: Yeah. I would say that, with the scene in the bathroom – as much as I could work the beats out in my head because that’s what we do – I never imagined that she’d be quite as flustered as she was. In the moment, it somehow works even more because you can see the potential of their relationship. She’s knocked so off kilter that you’re like, “Wait, maybe this was lurking underneath. Maybe she does have all this patience for Holly because she actually, subconsciously, totally loves her back, in that way. It’s so fun to explore a character that is flawed and has those vulnerable moments ‘cause that’s the thing that makes them human. That’s the point where people just go, “Oh, my god, I so get this person.”
CHRIQUI: Oh, my god, totally. She’s my team player. We’re such a team together. It’s effortless, her and I. From the beginning, it just was right there. So, when I had to be in my bikini, doing my thing, she was so my cheerleader. She was like, “You go, girl! Shoot, you’re hot!” I was like, “Thank you! I need to hear that right now.” It wasn’t easy, but Adrianne and Sebastian made it easier. He has the ability of getting his women to do stuff that I don’t think, necessarily, we would trust someone else enough to do. That’s the thing about him. We’re all friends. We all know each other and we all respect each other and we’re all inspired by each other, and it actually makes it safe. Sexuality in Hollywood is a real fine line, between being cheesy, being gratuitous and actually just celebrating it.
What is it about Sebastian, as a director, that makes you work so well together?
CHRIQUI: I feel like Sebastian innately just understands me. I have another film with him, Girl Walks into a Bar, and the character I play is Teresa the Astonishing, and only Sebastian could have written that role for me because he knows me so well. Teresa is that stripper/dancer. When you first meet her, she’s spewing all this information. She’s another smart woman. The thing is, though, she’s also a total tomboy. It’s one of those things where, when I read that, I was like, “Oh, my god, that’s because Sebastian knows me.” He could access that. That makes for an interesting character. So, it’s about admiring him, as an artist, and then having that love and trust, as friends.
CHRIQUI: It’s perfect the way it is because I think we can also stand in our own way sometimes. I’m a very cerebral person and I like to do my homework and break it down. I like to feel like I did my due diligence. It’s a confidence factor for me, as an actor. But then, there’s something so liberating about just jumping in and knowing that I actually have a really solid instinct. I’m not going to be floundering because, with my instinct and Sebastian’s guidance, we’re totally fine. There’s really something thrilling about that. Sometimes I just want to get out of my head, and stop over-thinking and over-complicating, and just do it. When we have quick shoots like that, you get to. You get to just dive in and have fun, on every level.
How did you get involved with the Tron: Uprising animated series, and what do you enjoy about doing voice-over work?
CHRIQUI: Yeah, I suddenly have a budding career in voice-over work. I’m doing ThunderCats right now, and I did the pilot for Tron. It supposedly got picked up, but I have no idea when we’re going to be filming more. But, Tron was the first time I read a pilot for voice-over work where I was like, “I have to do this.” I love doing voice-over. It’s so fun. But, the audition process, obviously, isn’t the same. It was the first time where I was literally like, “Did I get it? Did we get feedback yet? I really love this part!” It’s really well written, like a real television show.
CHRIQUI: She is Page, who is basically the female lead that gets involved with Elijah Wood’s character, Beck, and works at the facility. We just get to know her and we get the sense that she will become involved. She’s also kick-ass. She really is tough as nails. It’s great. She’s a total bad-ass.
What was the experience of working on the upcoming Showtime series The Borgias like?
CHRIQUI: It was beautiful. It was in Budapest. It was really awesome for me. It was a really new experience for me. I had never done a period piece. The costumes were insane. I got to play a really wonderful character. I got to play the Duchess of Naples and, in a political move, she becomes Borgia-fied. She marries into the Borgia family. She marries the youngest Borgia, who’s 12 years old. It’s a crazy dynasty. It’s unbelievable, but it was really fun.
With this next season being the last season of Entourage, are there things that you’d really like to see Sloan get to do before the show is done?
CHRIQUI: The list is endless. I have had a blast working on Entourage. It’s the guy’s show, but I have had amazing moments on the show. You could do the same show with the women on the show and explore their characters. I’d love to know more about who Sloan is and who here dad is and how she’s been raised in this business. There would be stories for days. Having said that, though, I do think that the last season will be full of really good surprises.