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Diane Kruger & Janelle Monáe Interview: Welcome to Marwen

Diane Kruger has played a wide range of roles from Helen in the epic fantasy Troy, to Dr. Abigail Chase in National Treasure, to Detective Sonya Cross in FX’s The Bridge. Her most recent film is Welcome to Marwen, directed by Robert Zemeckis.  In it, Kruger plays, Deja Thoris, a witch in the fictional world of Marwen.

Janelle Monáe is an acclaimed singer, songwriter, and actress. She made her film debut in 2016 appearing in two films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Her latest project is Welcome to Marwen, where she plays Julie, who is trying to help her friend Mark through physical rehabilitation.

Screen Rant: Amazing performance. Welcome to Marwen has so much for everybody. And you guys have such a strong, strong cast. And both of you guys are polar opposites for Steve Carell's character, Mark.

So, your character Julie is helping Steve's character Mark along the way, helps him gain his confidence back and everything else. And your character, Deja, is almost the exact opposite. So, can you talk to me about how you affect Captain Hogie in the world of Marwen?

Janelle Monáe: Sure. Well, I am still supporting this man who was walking in his truth. And also a hero in his eyes. If you think about it, although you see this fictitious world that Mark is using, or he's created in real life, women are always saving the day. You know what I'm saying? I also don't think that in real life, if I saw Mark being bullied or especially some Nazis bullying him in real life, I would jump in immediately and try to protect him. Or anybody going through that. And so, I think in this world, in this World War II Belgium world, what I'm doing is doing what I would do in real life.

Screen Rant: And how about you? Because your character is, first of all, it's more fantastical but also not based on a person. So, can you talk to me about how Deja influences Mark, or Captain Hogie, I guess?

Diane Kruger: Well, I think Deja is everything that's wrong with Mark, or in life. As a metaphor for being dependent on a bad relationship, or bad medication, or medication period that influences your state of mind, I guess. So, she is obsessed with Hogie. He's obsessed with her. He thinks he can’t live without her. And yet, once he frees himself of that dependence, he becomes free and he can start over. And so, it's a great metaphor too.

Screen Rant: And there's also a great message behind this film as well, almost like a phoenix rising again. Right? Can you guys talk to me about the MOCAP, or performance capture I should say, stuff that was going on? Because that stuff looked very innovative to me. And, the technology’s mind-blowing.

Janelle Monáe: Oh, yeah. It was so much fun to get into our costumes every day and put the dots on. And we were in green screen worlds. So, we really did have to use imagination.  And Bob was such a great director and a collaborator. He would just say, “Okay, imagine you're in this church. And you're here.” And it's not really there. So, we had to go into our acting mode, in our artist mode, and our child-like mode, which is always fun to do.

Screen Rant: What was your reaction when you guys first saw yourselves as dolls?

Janelle Monáe: I thought my doll was amazing. It went through different stages though.

Diane Kruger: Oh, it did?

Janelle Monáe: Yeah. Because for me, I was like, “Okay, can we do just a little bit there?” And everybody was so excited to just accommodate and collaborate and say, “What could we do more?” And I helped design my doll.

Screen Rant: Oh, really?

Janelle Monáe: Yeah, like the outfits and everything. When we went into a wardrobe and costume and they would always say, “What do you think? What do you think? What do you think about this?” And I would just say, “Nah. Yeah.” So, it was really great to see the finished product. Because it was a collaboration.

Screen Rant: How about yourself?

Diane Kruger: I think when I first saw it, I was like, “Oh my God, she looks so mean.” There's so much makeup and then the severe hair. And I don't like to see myself like that, I guess.

Janelle Monáe: Because in real life you’re one of the nicest people.

Diane Kruger: Oh, thank you. So, I definitely felt… I was a little sad that I wasn't part of the group. But it's so fun to be mean, to be honest. And just like the crazy, crazy accent and character. And like you said, it's more fantastical. So, I got to fly. And I do weird stuff. And that felt really fun.

Janelle Monáe: And it’s true. That's what I love about this movie too, is it remained true to Mark's story. I don't think that Zemeckis tried to water it down or make anything more or less than what it was supposed to be. That's what Deja represented, this is what the women represented in his story, this is based on a true story.

Screen Rant: Well you guys knocked it out of the park. Thank you guys, so much.

Janelle Monáe: Thank you for watching.

More: Leslie Zemeckis and Merritt Wever Interview for Welcome to Marwen

Key Release Dates
  • Welcome to Marwen (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
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