Does Netflix have gunpowder milkshake?
Gunpowder Milkshake is now streaming on Netflix. PolygonGunpowder Milkshake: Netflix’s action-thriller is an open, awkward copycat
14 July, 2021 - 08:02pm
Gillan leads the film as Sam. Back when she was just 12-years-old, Sam’s mother Scarlet (Lena Headey) was forced to abandon her, leaving Sam to be raised by The Firm, the crime syndicate her mother worked for. Now as an adult, Sam’s a successful and very skilled hit-woman, just like her mother once was. However, when a job forces Sam to choose between The Firm and an innocent young girl (Chloe Coleman), Sam opts to do what’s right, putting a massive target on her back in the process.
“I’ve had a few lows, to be honest. I would say that the one really early on, it was for a horror film and I forget what it was, but it was for a part that was Scottish and I felt like, ‘I’ve got to get this. I mean, I’m Scottish!’ There’s loads of Scottish actors, but I for some reason thought because I’m Scottish I’m going to get it. And I didn’t get it because I went in and I didn’t know the lines as well as I should have, and I was looking at the script. That’s not completely unusual to look at the script, but I’ve never done it since this audition.”
“Basically I’ll record the other peoples’ lines in the scene and leave a gap for mine on Voice Notes on my iPhone. That’s pretty usual. So I’ll do that and then I have to go through the scene 10 to 20 times the night before, but I’ve done a lot of work prior to that point as well, but the night before, it’s probably like 20 times, making sure that I know it inside out. And then I go over every single line 20 times as fast as I can so that if I forget the lines, my muscles are going to remember the lines. And that also helps me because I’m usually acting in a different accent, and so I kind of need to get my mouth around it, otherwise I’ll be struggling slightly if I don’t know the sounds inside out … And then in the morning of the audition, or the day of the audition, I just don’t look at it at all or think about it. I just walk into the room, don’t look at it before, don’t look at it when I’m in the waiting room, nothing. Just walk in and trust yourself.”
Clearly that process is a winner for Gillan who’s amassed quite the list of titles over the years including Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, a substantial run in the MCU, the hugely successful Jumanji franchise and now headlining Gunpowder Milkshake with an epic ensemble around her. Given the stellar talent in this one, I had to ask Gillan who she was most nervous to work with:
“I feel like I was geeking out a little bit over Carla Gugino because - you’ll appreciate this - the Flanigan stuff. She was in Gerald’s Game, his movie, and I thought she was so amazing in that movie, and that would have been such a demanding role and so I was like, oh my god, I wanted to talk to her about it, but then I also wanted to play it cool.”
“I feel like with each movie I’ve gotten gradually better at fighting and I’ve now graduated to a full hardcore action movie, and it was a different ballgame. Because it wasn’t just one or two fight sequences. It was like the whole movie [laughs], and so it was a huge challenge. And I think the first section of the first fight sequence that I do in the movie, the director was like, ‘I want it to be just actors, no stunt doubles, all one take and a wide shot so you can see everything.’ So there’s like nowhere to hide, because this new style of filming action sequences is super handheld, cut really quickly so it’s hard to take in exactly what they’re doing. Apart from John Wick. They don’t do that. But everybody else does. [Laughs] And so they were like, ‘Oh wow, so we really have to deliver the energy and everything has to be precise and so that was a huge challenge for me to fight three guys with a suitcase.”
14 July, 2021 - 04:53pm
Directed by Navot Papushado, Gunpowder Milkshake stars Gillan as Sam, a lonely hitman who makes her living by killing people — something she's very, very good at. Before long, however, she finds herself targeted by her shady former employers, and to survive, she's forced to team up with her assassin mother (played by Game of Thrones' Lena Headey) and a trio of savvy, weapon-wielding librarians (Angela Bassett, Michelle Yeoh, and Carla Gugino).
Here, Gillan opens up to EW about stepping into the action-movie spotlight.
KAREN GILLAN: Initially I was drawn in by the title. I was like, "What is this movie? I'll watch this movie based on the title alone." [Laughs] Then as I was reading, I got to the second action sequence of the script, and that's when I put the script down and rung my agent. I was like, "Can you please just make sure I'm in this film?" Because it was so original. The whole concept of [that scene] is I've lost the use of my arms because they were paralyzed by these guys who were trying to attack me, so I have to fight three guys without the use of my arms. It's very creative, using a lot of things in the environment, using my legs and whole body to gather the momentum to move my arms. It was just something I haven't seen before in a film. I felt like we were in new territory.
I think it was already there in script form, actually. It was humorous at times and it didn't take itself too seriously, but it took the action seriously enough that we had to work extremely hard to make that believable and violent. The tone rested with our director, and I trusted him to lead me through it. Then for the comedic moments, we just had some fun.
It was definitely physically demanding. I've done a few action sequences in films before, but it's usually one or two [scenes] that I can really focus on. But this was nonstop action from start to finish, and sometimes it was all in one take with no stunt doubles. It was just much more of a challenge, but it's fun because I feel like I've been building up to something like this. Now I finally graduate to a full-blown action film.
I would say the biggest challenge was my first fight sequence in the film. That's the first time you see this character fight, and there's a long buildup, talking about how good she is. That always adds to the pressure, when other characters are setting you up, like, "Ooh, remember who you're dealing with!" So you better deliver on that first fight sequence. [Laughs]
The director said, "I want this all to be in one take, and I want it to only be the actors," so it was me and three other actor guys. We had to just rehearse that so much so that we were able to do the whole thing in one take. There were no cut points to hide behind, no editing, nothing. We had to get one perfect take. I remember that was quite nerve-wracking but exhilarating, and the adrenaline was going. Right before "action," we were all just looking at each other, like, "It's going to be okay, right?"
But it was really fun. The stunt coordinators did a really good job with being inventive and using different props that you don't normally see. I mean, I never thought I'd be fighting with a panda suitcase.
Oh, she was one of my favorite people I've ever worked with, to be honest. Just as a person, she is as silly as I am, so we just had such a laugh together making videos for Instagram and probably annoying other people by being too loud. But that's where our connection started, and I think that translated onto the screen. It was just fun and freeing to work with someone who wants to just have a laugh off camera.
Oh my God. The acting nerd in me was just squealing with joy when I was watching them act. There was a part of me that was just really starstruck the whole time. I will tell you what: There is one person you don't want to fight in front of, and it's Michelle Yeoh. She's an action legend. I'm like, "Oh God, please don't make me do this in front of the best person in the industry."
She actually really helped me though: She was like, "Use your height more." I was like, that's a great note, because I am really tall, and it is a source of power when I do use it, but I don't always because I'm awkward and hunched. So that was a really cool note. And then Angela Bassett has the most gravitas and power and is just so amazing to watch. [She has that] can't-take-your-eyes-away type of magnetism. And Carla Gugino, just a brilliant, brilliant actress. It was like everywhere you looked was an amazing, legendary actress.
There was one scene with the three librarians, where you first meet them properly. It's all one take, and it's really long, and it's all talking. They do most of the talking, and I had to stand there and do a lot of reacting — which was really cool because the pressure was off me, and I just got to watch them do what they do best, which is just absolutely kill the delivery. It was probably one of my favorite days on set of any movie I've ever been on, just because it was watching three absolute pros just knock it out of the park.
I'm probably more understanding of directors now, just having been in that position. I have more empathy towards them, and I think I maybe understand why they're asking certain things of me a little bit better, rather than just purely coming from the actor's perspective. But the main thing I took away from it was just how absolutely vital it is to support your director's vision. I think if you don't, you're just in danger of having a watered-down, more generic version of the film.
When I met Navot, it was extremely easy to get behind his vision. It was like his personality was the vision, almost. His enthusiasm was infectious.
The most difficult day on set was probably when I did that fight sequence where I don't have the use of my arms. It's hard to isolate certain limbs and not move them at all — when you're also trying not to be killed.
Although I will say that fight sequence is closer to me in real life just because I'm gangly. So I got to embrace the goofy gangliness. [Laughs] I didn't have to suppress it to be an action hero.
I'm excited to explore Nebula post-Thanos, just because Thanos steered so much of her life and informed her character so much. He was the source of abuse to her. But now he's been eliminated, so what happens after the source of the abuse is gone from someone's life? What are those emotions. I don't know the answers yet, but I cannot wait to start diving into all of that psychology.