guy pearce

Giy Pearce stars in 'Lockout'

*Could “Lockout,” starring Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare, Lennie James and Jacky Ido — putting in a small, yet critical appearance — possibly offer a solution to the handling of the failing penal institution, or a lesson of some sort? That’s the quest The Film Strip posed to Pearce.

“Probably,” Pearce pondered. “Yeah! I mean it’s funny isn’t it if you look back at ‘Star Trek’ and all of them talking to each other on these little things [looking at his cell phone]. And hasn’t different administrations called in sci fi writers to talk about ideas and things like that? It seems like a lot of things that end up in a sci fi movie manifests and become a reality on some kind of level.

“So I’m sure there are all sorts of things we learn. I mean, you look at something like ‘Lockout’ and you look at the fact that there’s a prison in outer space with all the  prisoners all asleep and you go, ‘wow, this is so inevitable isn’t it? The prison system is pretty screwed and it’s really not working at all in this country or a lot of places around the world. In the places that I do know about, it doesn’t seem to be helping or working on any great sort of level. So I guess as our world population increases and increases and we become more and more crowded, the same thing occurs with prisons and they probably will end up putting prisons in outer space and putting these people to sleep. It’s a strange idea but again, like some of the other sci-fi ideas, it might happen.”

Pearce is quite buff in “Lockout,” especially since his prior roles, specifically “Memento,” were that of a very lean individual. Pearce, however, assured the directors that his slim build would not be a problem for the athletic, muscular role of Snow. In this futuristic film about the experimental prison MS-One, Snow must rescue the president’s daughter in the midst of 500-escaped prisoner rioting. Because he was a very lean, thin kid, Pearce began bodybuilding at age 15, and at age 16 he came in first place in a bodybuilding contest.

“It true what they say about muscle memory,” Pearce says. “It comes back quite quickly. I only had a month to hit the gym.“

With a proven track record of some very impressive films, Pearce says he chose “Lockout” because of its appeal on two levels.

“The character Snow was amusing and amused people around him. I just didn’t want a character saying smart one-liners. People use humor quite often dealing with very dark or emotional stuff. Even though it’s a light character in a way, his lightness is repressing some heavier emotional stuff. “

Maggie Grace, Pearce’s co-star, told The Film Strip she also believes “Lockout,” like many sci fi movies, can offer some ideas or the future.

“I think with all science fiction there is a seed of truth and kind of warning. I think when you look at the state of the prison system in our country and globally, there are things to be concerned about and had we had the opportunity to outsource that to an extra planetary station, we probably would wouldn’t we? This is not really a message film or a cautionary tale in the true sense of it.

“It was a fun movie. It’s unabashedly fun and funny and there’s a lot of chemistry with the leads. It’s a popcorn film and I loved that it kind of embraces that retro-feel like when action movies were fun.”

Quite the busy actress, Grace starred in the hit movie, “Taken,” and will star in it follow-up as well as “Twilight: Breaking Dawn” 1 and 2. Of “Taken,” which was one of the best films released, was astounded by its success.

“We were just hoping it wouldn’t just go to DVD and shocked and pleasantly so when it blew up like that. It was incredible.

“I hope ‘Lockout’ does the same thing for Guy because I think the action genre needs these really grounded wildly incredible leading men. They bring so much to it. I think we would’ve been lost in ‘Lockout’ if it weren’t for Guy, whose sense of humor and his certain brand of smarts was invaluable.”

Quite an astute observation from someone so young!

Syndicated columnist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at thefilmstrip@gmail.com.