“A polar bear fell on me.”

Exclusive Interview: Paul Becker – Choreographer on Sucker Punch and Cabin In The Woods

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Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch will be with us soon. It promises sexy girls fighting samurai robots, dragons and more in a fantasy set in the mind of one girl. Here is the full synopsis.

Close your eyes. Open your mind. You will be unprepared.

“Sucker Punch” is an epic action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl whose 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.

She has been locked away against her will, but Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls—the reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), the outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), the street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and the fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung)—to band together and try to escape a terrible fate at the hands of their captors, Blue (Oscar Isaac) and Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino), before the mysterious High Roller (Jon Hamm) comes for Babydoll.

Led by Babydoll, the girls engage in fantastical warfare against everything from samurais to serpents, with a virtual arsenal at their disposal. Together, they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive. But with the help of a Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their unbelievable journey—if they succeed—will set them free.

It also features a number of dance numbers and I was lucky enough to speak with choreographer Paul Becker about the film.

First of all can you give us some history on your career? How did you end up as choreographer?

I have danced and trained martial arts for most of my life. I realized at a young age that I loved creating and would always see visuals and shapes coming together to create a picture.

My first gig as a choreographer wasn’t planned. I was a dance partner to Kate Beckinsale and the choreographer did not show up. I quickly volunteered.

What other films and shows have you worked on?

Right now I am the head choreographer on the hit series “Hellcats.”

My past credits include:

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID 1 & 2
MUPPET CHRISTMAS
MUPPETS WIZARD OF OZ
CAPRICA
THE JONAS BROTHERS
MICHAEL BUBLE

How did you become involved with Sucker Punch?

I had worked with the producer, Jim Rowe, on Hot Rod and Are We There Yet, so he called me in to have a meeting with Zack Snyder.

What was your brief for the film? Did you have much discussion with Zack Snyder about the look and feel of the film?

My brief for the film was very short because it was hush hush.

Once I got in the room with Zack I learned that he is a genius. This movie had so many crazy concepts that everyone had a hard time grasping it. Once we fleshed out the ideas it became clear. I spent hours with Zack during the concept phase.

How do the dance routines fit into the film?

Each female lead in the film has persona and objective. We meshed the objective and persona of each character to the tone and concept of each dance. Because the film takes place in a brothel it calls for these huge production numbers.

What was the training regime for the actresses?

On top of their daily routine of working with the Navy Seals and the stunt coordinator they came to me to dance. Everyday we drilled their routines. We also had over 40 dancers in the production numbers. Jenna Malone had to learn how to pole dane, Vanessa Hudgens had to belly dance, Abbie Cornish does contemporary and Jamie Chung does a tango. On top of all this Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac perform a 6 minute song and dance.

How did each actress cope with the dance routines?

Each actress jumped into their dances full force. It was a breath of fresh air after they spent the day fighting.

You recently worked on Girl Walks Into A Bar and, according to Wiki, you choreographed the whole film. How exactly did that work?

I enjoyed working on girl walks into a bar. It is the first star studded feature for youtube. I choreographed a beautiful all female sexy dance scene.

You also worked on Joss Whedon’s much delayed Cabin In The Woods. What can we expect from that film? What are the creatures like?

You can expect a crazy twist at the end!!!

I can’t say much about this film otherwise I will be killed. But….I did create movement for creatures and a crazy deadly family.

Would will you be working on next and will we be seeing you on the big screen anytime soon?

I am currently directing a docu-musical on song and dance legend Ben Vereen. It is a blast. I also make a cameo appearance in Sucker Punch.

First film you remember watching?

The Muppet Movie.

If you were killed by a movie monster which one would it be? What would your final words be?

A Werewolf. “5,6,7,8.”

Salted, sweet or butter popcorn?

Sweet and salty.

Paul Becker thanks for your time.

Sucker Punch is released in the UK on 1st April and the US on 25th March.