Paula Patton will be the first to admit that she didn’t know much about the video game “World of Warcraft” when she picked up the script for Duncan Jones’ film adaptation of it. So wrapping her head around the idea of playing a human-orc hybrid was more than a little daunting. Luckily the actress, now 40, had a director she trusted and an unending amount of patience for all the makeup tests to get her signature look.
How did Duncan Jones ease you into the world of “Warcraft”?
The way he explained this world to me and the passion he had, I was so moved. So in the room, before we got lawyers involved he was like, “Do you want to do this?” and I was like, “I want to do this!” I got in my car and I went, “Oh s—!” I was like so scared. I wanted to do it justice but how I will I become a half-orc half-human? Then I realized that the thing that you are most scared of doing, you should do, you know? It’s all those things that compelled me to be a part of it. I didn’t really know what I was in until I watched the movie. I had this whole new respect for Duncan. I was in awe of him.
It must be daunting, though, bringing a movie like this out into the world.
It’s about having no fear. Sometimes you feel as though you’re in competition. But if you have no fear and you have faith in yourself, then you can achieve that — and you can achieve it with partnership, with a team. I believe it is mind over matter, just like in the fantasy film — imagination. You can will it to yourself. You have to have faith and believe and not let [in] any bit of negativity or doubt or what came before you or what people say. You have to decide your own reality and make it possible.
What was the process of getting into your very elaborate costume and makeup for this film?
That process began way before we started shooting. We did a lot of tests to find it and make it. It’s trial and error. I had a moment, I’m not going to lie to you, when I had signed on to do the film and I went to the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror for the first time and I almost had a panic attack. I was like, “Wait, I can’t f—ing do this!” [Laughs]
That look could definitely give you pause.
My friend talked me down. I came to embrace it because I was afraid. I didn’t know how I was going to become this half-orc, half-human. But it became a collaborative effort: costumes and makeup and hair, all with Duncan’s vision. Then you put on the finishing touches, the tusks and the contact lenses — which really obscured my vision — and that was that last bit. I didn’t feel human. Certainly not wearing much clothing while everyone else wore clothing made me feel like I didn’t fit in. I came to embrace it.