We’re always told that the brain is the most complex instrument in the world and new movie “Lucy” proves just why it’s such a force to be reckoned with. The high-octane action film takes vulnerable title character Scarlett Johansson from unsuspecting drug mule to superhuman in a story that straddles the worlds of ruthless narcotic dealers and artificial intelligence. Directed by Frenchman Luc Besson (“The Fifth Element”), the movie shows the paradox between mental evolution — gained through the explosion of a new party ‘superdrug’ in Lucy’s system — and human emotional devolution. Johansson is of course no stranger to rough-and-tumble action flicks, having starred in a clutch of Marvel Comics blockbusters as Black Widow. But the 29-year-old actress tells us she never expected to be a gun-toting super-heroine she’s evolved into today.
They say the average person uses about 10 percent of their brain capacity. How much do you reckon you actually use?
At any given moment, I’d say between two and 12 percent… it depends. On an every day basis, I’m going to go with nine or 11 percent.
What do you think would be different about you if, like your character, Lucy, you had full access to your brain capacity?
The idea of the film is that as you evolve in one way, you kind of devolve in the other — you dehumanize, I guess. Because the experiences that we treasure as human beings are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things… It’s really that we exist purely to survive and pass on information at a genetic level.
It’s like living in a world with zero emotion…
Right, because you have no judgment of the things that you’re feeling because you can’t relate them to yourself in any way.
I guess the message here is that it’s not that good for us to be too intelligent.
Well, I don’t know! ‘Good’ is a relative term… maybe we’re able to live more of a ‘life’ by being blissfully ignorant.
If you could wake up one morning and be an expert in something, what would you want to be?
Lucy’s teleportation ability seems pretty convenient.
Where would you go?
I’d use it for getting around New York so that I wouldn’t have to bother with a train or a taxi. You just imagine yourself uptown and you’re there. And an instant vacation would be good. You have a couple of hours off and you decide to teleport yourself to Paris in the Roaring Twenties.
And what about a dream skill?
I’ve always admired musical virtuosos. I want to be the first violin.
Why the violin?
It sounds like the most complicated! Either that or something bizarre like being the world’s greatest Theremin player.
There’s a hell of a lot of kicking and shooting going on. What kind of training did you do for this movie?
Luckily I’m pretty well versed in that. It’s in my job skills just from working on so many Marvel movies. I’ve handled a lot of weapons and done a lot of fighting. When I came to do “Lucy” I think I’d just finished the second “Captain America”, so I was pretty set for another full-on action experience.
So what’s the trick when it comes to handling weapons when you’re not exactly super buff?
You gotta drive it like you own it! And have a lot of confidence. But I’ve spent so many hours in weapon training that at this point I have a fairly good handle on guns.
Good thing to put on your resume: “Can hold a gun”…
Yeah. I never expected that to be the case but here I am, four Marvel movies later… and now with this one under my belt I guess I’m the reluctant action hero.
Part of the movie takes place in Paris, so how good is your French?
Pretty unacceptable. But I’m getting better!
The movie really kicks off the moment your character gets handcuffed to a briefcase. If you had to be attached to something for 24 hours, what would you rather it be?
I think being attached to anything becomes annoying after a while. If I had to be stuck to something hopefully it would be cute and cuddly like a French bulldog puppy or something I wouldn’t mind carrying around for a whole day. I’d rather a soft little kitten than an inanimate object.