An Interview with Naomie Harris
By Wilson Morales
August 4, 2008
Outside of either playing the wife or girlfriend in a film, there aren't that many leading roles for women, let alone a strong role. Most times when you see a female in a leading role, she's probably playing a character who's going through some type of depression. To look for a strong role, some try action films because it gives them the chance to flex 'their muscle', sort of speak. Just ask Sigourney Weaver or Pam Grier and look at their film credits. For Naomie Harris, she's looking to join that group. With roles in '28 Days Laters', 'Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Miami Vice' to name a few, Harris has had not just good roles, leading or supporting, but strong roles that others can follow.
Coming up next for Harris is a leading role in another action film that has her cast opposite one of Tokyo pop stars, Rain in 'Ninja Assasin'. Directed by James McTeigue, who last did 'V for Vendetta', Raizo (Rain) is one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them
and vanishes. Now he waits, preparing to exact his revenge.
In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti (Naomie Harris) has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow (Ben Miles), Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders.
While at San Diego Comic Con to hightlight the film for fans before its release next year, Harris spoke to blackfilm.com about her role in the film and taken on strong roles.
What role do you play in the film?
Naomie Harris: I play Mika Coretti and she's a forensics researcher and she has this obesssion with ninjas because she happened upon a piece of evidence which proves to her that ninjas exist, whereas everyone else believes they don't. She continues with this obession until her fantasy world becomes real and she becomes sucked into an adventure with Rain's character.
What led you to take this film?
NH: There were various reasons. One is working with James McTeigue. I didn't know how fabulous it was going to be until I started the movie. It was the script really. It was a great character, and it was well rounded. Action movies have really rounded central characters that you really care about or can go on a journey with.
How much physical work did you do for the film?
NH: For me, very little at all, which was great, but for Rain, he had 4 months, everyday, six days a week. I had one session where they worked me out to know what Rain was going through every day, and I actually couldn't keep. It's so intense. He went through a lot.
What was the most challenging aspect of the film?
NH: I found the physical demands actually challenging. Whereas Rain is in his body as a dancer, I'm quite the opposite, and I realize that this is important in an action movie. In a film that is heavily chereographed, if you mess up, someone can get injured.
Between '28 Days Later', both 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films, and this film, where does the love for action films come from?
NH: I love action movies because I actually don't love action movies to be quite honest with you. I like strong women and you usually strong women in action films.
Why do you think you are getting these roles?
NH: It's interesting because I never see myself as a strong person, but my friend said to me the other day, 'Why do you think you get cast in these types of films?' and he answered himself by saying that I am a strong women. I may not see myself as that but's that who I am, and I thought about that and realized that I have always done what I wanted to do and I think that's why they choose me because that strength is ine me.
Some have called you the new 'Pam Grier' because she always played strong female characters.
NH: I liked that idea. I'm flattered by that statement.
NINJA ASSASSIN OPENS IN 2009