Interview: Olivia Thirlby from “Dredd”
Interview: Olivia Thirlby from “Dredd”

The Massie Twins recently had a chance to sit down with Olivia Thirlby, star of the new movie “Dredd 3D,” opening wide September 21st, 2012. In the film, she plays a Judge (law enforcement officers given the power to be judge, jury, and executioner all at once) in training, Cassandra Anderson. Her abilities are being assessed by the most feared Judge of all: Dredd (Karl Urban), a permanently masked, hulking figure who betrays no emotions. Their routine mission goes haywire when Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) locks them in a 200-story building brimming with gun-toting criminals and puts a price on their heads. The film is a dark, violent, action-packed adaptation of the stories and characters created by John Wagner of the famous British illustrated anthology “2000 AD.” It goes to great extent to recreate the no-nonsense attitudes and explosive adventures of outnumbered and outgunned cops in a post-apocalyptic, futuristic wasteland overrun by gangs, as illustrated by artist Carlos Ezquerra.

The interview itself was in the Club Bar at the Ritz Carlton in Scottsdale, Arizona, a massive, elegant, and quiet room with dim lights, a glowing chandelier, ominous wood walls and floors, and brown leather everywhere.


The Massie Twins: This is kind of like a therapy session!

Olivia Thirlby: I know, right? (She stretches out on a long leather loveseat, pretending to be a patient.) When I was six years old, I didn’t get a pony for Christmas… (laughs)

MT: What’s it like playing opposite to a character who never reveals his face?

OT: I think because Anderson has psychic abilities, it doesn’t affect her so much – it doesn’t matter that she can’t see Dredd’s eyes. She doesn’t have to visually read any emotional cues, not that he gives any away ever, but it’s what makes their partnership unique. She has this awareness of him and his internal world that nobody else has, and I don’t think he appreciates it at first.

MT: Have you seen Sylvester Stallone’s version of Judge Dredd? Did director Pete Travis show it to the cast and crew and say that that was what not to do?

OT: I actually haven’t seen it. It’s something that I would really enjoy watching at this point, just because I’ve been talking about it a lot. It’s probably about time to see it.

MT: Did he not want the cast to see it?

OT: It really wasn’t an issue on set. I think that what they were doing was in no way a response to that film – it was so unconnected to that film in every respect, except for the source material. Nobody talked about it all that much.

MT: If the script had called for a 30-minute, hand-to-hand-combat fight sequence with Lena Headey [the film’s villainous druglord ringleader], would your pre-shoot training have prepared you? Would you have won?

OT: Absolutely. Although you’d have to ask Alex Garland, the screenwriter. It’s not up to me – but we could have done an improvised scene. (laughs) The training that I had was very specific to the sequences that we used. I was doing a lot of boxing and stuff like that, but I worked on the actual sequence most, which started with a kidney punch, and then there was an elbow… it’s still in my body language.

MT: Were you familiar with the Judge Dredd comics before getting the role? Did you get those materials for research?

OT: No, I wasn’t. I heard of the comics, but I had never read one. As soon as I arrived in Cape Town to begin shooting, they just handed me a giant binder and I referred to it a lot.

MT: How do you reach out to your fans? Do you use the internet for fan reactions or feedback?

OT: I don’t reach out to my fans very much, except in person. I do answer fan mail. I’m not that into social media. I don’t have a Facebook account, I don’t Twitter. I’m really into being as present as I can and even just having an iPhone for text messages and emails is enough of a diversion.

MT: In the past, they’ve made action figures for the Judge Anderson character. If they were to make a new one with your likeness, what would that mean to you? And would you own it?

OT: (pause) I didn’t say anything just now because there were curse words of excitement flooding my mind. I stopped myself. But it would be friggin’ exciting to see an action figure with my likeness!

MT: Would you play with it?

OT: Yeah, I’d play with it! I would definitely play with it! (laughs) I would revisit my youth and bring her home to meet all my Barbies!