Oscar nominated actress Naomie Harris does not want to fit in a box. No typecast here. Expertly balancing James Bond’s Eve Moneypenny, to Paula, the drug addicted mother of Moonlight, last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, to her latest adventure as Dr. Kate Caldwell, the discredited geneticist in Warner Bros. newest action roller coaster Rampage, Harris can do it all. And well.
Alongside wrestler turned Hollywood juggernaut Dwayne Johnson, as primatologist Davis Okoye, Harris battles to find a cure after a genetic experiment goes rogue, creating raging- and incredibly unfriendly creatures of enormous magnitude in Chicago.
The British bombshell, who began acting as a child star on “Simon and the Witch” in 1987, dropped jaws at the Rampage premiere in Los Angeles last week.
We caught up with the England native as she dished on her new project, her embarrassing moment while filming and her fabulous advice to women. – Angela Wilson
The Source: Last time we spoke was at the Moonlight press junket in Chicago a few years ago, how have things been since then?
Naomie Harris: This is the movie I did straight after Moonlight.
I wanted to do something completely difference from Paula; something lighthearted and playful. I had enough of playing harrowing roles.
Give us some background information on Rampage and your character Dr. Kate Caldwell.
The movie is a fun, action adventure with incredible special effects. It has a lot of humor and a really big heart between Dwayne’s character and a giant silver back gorilla who’s infected with a virus. And my character Dr. Caldwell is the genetics who’s responsible for producing that virus that effects his friend, and because of that I feel incredible responsible and I want to find a way to find a cure. So I team up with Dwayne’s character and we go through this journey in Chicago to save his friend.
That sounds exciting!
It is so exciting! I watched it for the first time at the premiere last night and I was at the edge of my seat and normally I’m never like that; when I’m in a movie, I’m always highly critical of it because I know what’s coming next, I know the story. But the special effects in “Rampage” is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s so fun and it has a lot of humor as well- it’s a very enjoyable movie.
Nice! Any funny stories from shooting on set you can share?
I have an embarrassing one, instead of funny. *laughs*
There’s a moment in the film where Malin Akerman– she’s plays the baddie and [my character] is to punch her. It’s supposed to be a screen punch where you stop about 3-4 inches away from a person’s face. I misjudged it and I actually punched her in the face. I still feel guilty about that to this day- although she says she’s fine, but still I feel incredibly embarrassed about that. It’s one of the hazards of doing all these stunt movies with lots of action and adventure someone always ends up with bruises.
Lately the conversation has been all about diversity. Do you think this is just a trend; a hot topic just for the moment then a year from now, we’re on to something else?
I don’t think so. I think there’s been a real change. I think the town in terms of entertainment in general is run by money. And I think for so long diversity has been seen as not profitable and now they’re waking up to the fact that it’s highly profitable; that’s there’s a whole audience that’s been largely ignored who want diversity and needs material that reflects them. And that’s hugely exciting and I don’t think that’s a trend that’s going to reverse itself- it’s just going to get better and better.
Better late than never, right!
Yes, exactly, true! And Black Panther just has it all!
That movie was a game changer!
Your co-star Dwayne Johnson recently opened up about his battle his depression. Could you relate to his experiences and how did you handle it?
I haven’t really experienced depression as such or real anxiety but I think it’s so fantastic that Dwayne has opened up and showed that no matter what your level of success you have we are all vulnerable to those illnesses and feelings and no one is immune and we all have to find ways that work for us. For me, I try to keep a work/life balance- which is very important to me. I’ll do one to two movies a year and I’ll take a break and take time off to find myself and to enjoy life and de-stress. Other wise this business is intense- it’s a wonderful business and it’s greatly rewarding and I’m very lucky to be apart of it but it’s also very draining at times. That’s how I cope and I look after my mental health.
It’s easy to talk about that but its hard to put that in place- to just jump off the merry-go-round we’re on to and just say enough.
It’s definitely easier said than done.
What’s something every woman should try at least once in her life?
I think every woman- and every man actually, should try going on a trip on their own, with no agenda and with no safety net. And I say that because I’ve did it twice now; I’ve gone off to India and to Thailand 2 years ago, both by myself, and it was such an amazing experience I think so often we live a lot in fear and when you kind of jump and you allow life to take care of you, you realize life has your back, and that everything you feared just works out. And you meet amazing people along the way and you learn incredible lessons about how strong you are. The most important thing you can learn is to just trust life more. You can allow life to lead you exactly where you need to be.
That’s awesome advice! Any destination recommendations?
You should go to this one place – Bana it’s in Dehradun, just outside of Deli in India and it’s a magical place! I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Rampage roars into theaters nationwide on Friday, April 13. Get your tickets here!