Directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”), “Sucker Punch” takes us into the vivid imagination of Babydoll who has been locked away against her will, but has not lost her will to survive. Her dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, and her incredible adventures blur the lines between what’s real and what is imaginary.
“The words ‘baby doll’ make you immediately think of something really fragile,” Browning says, “but she’s not at all. That’s what was so cool to me about this character—she’s actually pretty tough, with an unexpected stoicism.”
Delving inside Babydoll’s psyche led Browning to discover what might have influenced her and made her so resilient.
“I think the people in her fantasies represent her experiences, the oppression she has had to put up with throughout her life. She has this almost simplistic view of the good guys and the bad guys, the bad guys being men like her stepfather and, later, some of the monsters in her fantasies. And the Wise Man in her dreams represents the ideal father figure, strong but really caring and able to guide her and help her make the right choices.”
“Babydoll symbolizes that transition between thinking like a child and thinking like an adult, when your perception of the world changes,” Zack Snyder says. “She is a warrior, both delicate and strong at the same moment, and Emily really personified everything I had envisioned about Babydoll. She has this mystic, timeless, almost unquantifiable look and completely brought the character to life for me.”
Browning felt the full support of Snyder as she worked to embody a character so dear to him. “Zack obviously had a clear vision and knew exactly what he wanted, but at the same time he was really collaborative and was totally open to other ideas,” she notes. “He always wanted to make sure that I was happy with my performance.”
Prior to filming, Browning had to prepare for the physical challenges presented by the demanding action sequences in the script. She found herself pushed to her limits in the capable hands of stunt coordinator and action designer Damon Caro and training coordinator Logan Hood, both of whom had previously worked with Zack Snyder on “300.” Caro supervised her martial arts, fight and weapons training, while Hood oversaw her general body conditioning.
Because Browning had to expertly handle multiple weapons simultaneously, the right-handed actress had to learn to shoot with her left hand so she could brandish a sword in her dominant hand. She relates that she felt especially empowered by the weapons training. “Learning to fight with Damon and the boys was the most fun I’ve had preparing for a film. The fact that I can wield a sword and fire a gun like it’s second-nature is a little scary but also pretty cool in a really unexpected way.”
Opening worldwide beginning Friday, March 25, “Sucker Punch” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.