On June 10, Jurassic World Dominionthe last movie in Jurassic World trilogy, premiering in theaters nationwide. In a recent section for The Hollywood Reporter, writer Richard Newby called the film “a clear demonstration of the strengths and weaknesses of the blockbuster business”. This installment in the franchise sees DeWanda Wise (plane pilot Kayla Watts) emerge as a necessary and unlikely hero, whose cockpit ingenuity reorients the course of the game. movie.
More recently, Wise has entered the universe of a classic Western American in Jeymes Samuel’s The harder it is, the more they fall, a comedy directed by Stella Meghie’s Weekend and Brooklyn’s reimagined series updates to Spike Lee’s hit classic She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. Each genre has its own set of requirements and creative freedoms, and Wise’s approach to all of them is strategy and trust in equal parts: “I’m very visual,” she says. In front of Jurassic World Dominion premiere, Wise talks to CHEAP about how she’s preparing for her latest role and looking to leave her mark in the decades-long franchise that uses dinosaurs and current events to squeeze time.
How prepared are you to join a franchise that is not only successful, but also leaves a mark on the audience’s mind?
On the one hand, I am super step by step. So I try not to think about things in a way that would freeze me. I talked to [director Colin Trevorrow] from the outset on what it takes to build a character that makes an impact. And when I get the script, I just start to prepare basically for certain real-life situations. As it pertains to the larger franchise of all, it’s a very heartwarming franchise that has a very loving fan base. It’s also a place where, you know, the stars are dinosaurs. So it relieves the pressure.
How does it feel to step into the action, adventure genre, being given some of your previous roles? You have occupied very different worlds. How did you build the character Kayla Watts?
I saw [the 2017 film] Logan and I realized that there’s room in the action space for characters that have a little more depth of humanity, of life, of personality – even if it doesn’t have to be on screen, you still can feel the difference. I won’t say that I saw myself in the action space until that kind of movie sparked something in me. But I’ve been meaning to get into the action space for 10 years.
As a pilot, it seems like the real plot revolves around Kayla’s support. Especially as a Black woman in the film, for example, what do you think of the Tuskegee Airmen’s legacy and how history might have influenced her?
I am a Maryland girl. It’s a very military-focused place. I studied JROTC in high school. Most of my step-family served in the military… so it’s just been a military-centered family for generations.
Part of what I built into Kayla is that this concept comes from the line of matriarchal women who served in the military – and then just think about history about when women were actually allowed to fly fighter jets. in military. I mean, like early 90s history, very recent. [Note: Congress removed the legal ban on women in combat aircraft by passing Public Law 102-190 in December 1991.] So who is her composition, it doesn’t just live in [the space] when you see her in action, that’s everything about her – if you’re serving, it changes the way you perform yourself, the way you live your life. In my imagination, she lives on that plane. She is a woman who can get up and go at any time. That’s why she has braids. (Laugh.)
As for the dialogue, we don’t seem to understand too much about Kayla’s story to me, or learn much about her outside life. But she still feels like a full character to me.
That’s because you were introduced to her in her world. As soon as you meet her for the first time, when you’re in the cockpit, you get the idea that Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) are a bit disoriented because it’s not their territory anymore. . And for the duration of the movie, she went to Biosyn, she was their guide. A lot of action isn’t just hinges, “I need to get these people out because I’m the only one who can fly, I’m the only one who drives.” It’s also the fact that you really get the feeling that once you step into her world, you’re in she world.
I was struck by the tension between the past and the future in the film. Were there any topics that stuck with you during filming? Anything that feels particularly urgent or relevant, in retrospect?
Naturally, the core of her arc is a very classic hero’s calling. Usually, when you’re in this space – when you’re in action space – the hero just To be. And this is one of the first times in this series where you meet a hero called to arms.
What really touched me deeply with Kayla was the concept of an imperfect hero who can essentially start and serve from where you are, and return home… because in my mind, after there, she’s going home to Detroit. And she returned home with her wholeness.