‘Sucker Punch’ photos: The women of Zack Snyder’s epic fantasy

March 28, 2011 | 1:34 p.m.

Abbie Cornish, left, as Sweet Pea, Jena Malone as Rocket, Browning as Baby Doll, Scott Glenn as Wiseman, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie and Jamie Cheung as Amber in "Sucker Punch." (Warner Bros.)

Vanessa Hudgens, left, as Blondie, Jamie Chung as Amber, Jena Malone as Rocket, Emily Bowning as Babydoll and Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea in "Sucker Punch." (Warner Bros.)

Jena Malone, left, as Rocket, Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie, Emily Browning as Babydoll and Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' "Sucker Punch." (Warner Bros.)

Jena Malone, left, portrays Rocket, Abbie Cornish portrays Sweet Pea and Vanessa Hudgens portrays Blondie in a scene from "Sucker Punch." (Warner Bros.)

Jena Malone, left, as Rocket and Emily Browning as Babydoll in Warner Bros.' "Sucker Punch." (Warner Bros.)

Abbie Cornish, left, as Sweet Pea and Jena Malone as Rocket in Warner Bros.' "Sucker Punch." (Warner Bros.)

Emily Browning, left, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish and director Zack Snyder. (Warner Bros.)

Jamie Chung, left, as Amber, Emily Browning as Babydoll, Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea and Jena Malone as Rocket. (Warner Bros.)

Jena Malone, left, as Rocket, Oscar Isaac as Blue Jones and Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea. (Warner Bros.)

What are we to think of “Sucker Punch? The movie did not do well this weekend — it finished second to the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” sequel, which suggests that Zack Snyder’s film was far more sucker than it was punch. Worse, the reviews of the film were crushing and many of them went after Snyder himself although they couldn’t agree if he is an art director pretending to be a filmmaker, Hollywood’s cynical hack of the moment, a derivative dullard or, worst of all, the man who put a nail in the coffin of strong-woman action movies.  Much of the debate (and the consternation about Snyder’s sinking stature even as he takes on the Superman revival)  points to the presentation of women in “Sucker Punch” and to help you make up your own mind we bring you a photo gallery above with the heroines in the film (which Snyder believes represent a statement about female empowerment)  and the Associated Press story below, which speaks to Snyder’s off-screen life as a husband and father of six and his views on this especially polarizing film.

When director Zack Snyder was finishing his first film, a “Dawn of the Dead” remake, others in the edit bay inquired: Who was that woman barging in with helpful rejoinders like, “You know what, that sucks. You should change that”? “That’s my girlfriend,” he’d sheepishly reply.

Snyder married TV commercial producer Deborah Johnson in 2004, the same year “Dead” was released. The couple has been mixing business with romance ever since, exchanging costume or set design ideas over glasses of wine. Deborah produced each of his movies since “Dead,” including the surprise hit “300,” the new female-focused action fantasy “Sucker Punch” and the next Superman franchise reboot.

The couple can’t imagine not working together. “In Hollywood, there’s a lot of hidden agendas and people are out for themselves. We go to battle with each other,” Deborah Snyder said.

The duo has a lot riding on “Sucker Punch,” Snyder’s first film not derived from outside source material and his most unhinged. It features a mélange of over-the-top movie-geek eye candy: jet packs, dragons, samurai swords, zombies, plus heroines in pigtails and stiletto heels packing heavy weaponry. The mix-and-match insanity of it all is intentional, Snyder said.

“I want the net result to be like the movie ends and you’re just like ‘What the…’ ” he said, smiling.

Young Australian actress Emily Browning stars as a girl trying to break herself and others out of an insane asylum while escaping into two levels of fantasy. Snyder’s signature swirling camera movements and stylized, computer-generated sets are paired with a bombastic rock score. “It’s pretty fearless,” said Oscar Isaac, who plays the villain Blue in a beard and eyeshadow. “In the sense that he is unashamedly putting everything that he thinks is cool, every idea that he’s been wanting to see in a film — he puts it up there and does it very boldly.”

But actors on set know that each decision also goes through Deborah. “They take risks together. They make really simple decisions together. Every little thing, they’re creating together, whether it be in the same room or not,” said Jena Malone, who plays a character named Rocket. “She approved all the costumes, all the hair and makeup. Everything went through the both of them. So you have the ultimate imagination and the ultimate kind of grounding.”

The Snyders’ Cruel and Unusual Films production company has at least four other projects churning — a constant stream of meetings and logistics updates. “I’m always sitting there drawing or whatever,” Zack Snyder says. “I’m always working. Because it’s a family business, it’s all hands on deck all the time.” The couple treasures whatever escapes they can get. They go for walks with their two Labradors, spend time with his six children, and recently wrapped a yearlong renovation of their post-and-beam home in Pasadena. Their three vacations in the last five years were post-wrap trips to beach resorts: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, after “300,” Turks and Caicos after “Watchmen” and Bora Bora after “Sucker Punch.”

They don’t expect another break any time soon. The Superman film, set to star Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, is in pre-production. The Snyders — working with another husband-wife team of Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas have cast Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Superman’s parents. Zack Snyder says he wants his Superman to be “immensely physical” and to face “a credible threat” from whatever villain is featured, “because I feel like that’s a thing that I’m not sure I’ve seen for a while in the Superman world.”

His biggest challenge, ironically for a superhero movie, is adjusting his own filmmaking approach to be more down-to-earth, more realistic. “I’d say that Superman in some ways is divinely different from the movies that I’ve made in the past,” Snyder said. “Only because it doesn’t exist in a stylized world. It exists in the real world.”

– Associated Press

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Comments


16 Responses to ‘Sucker Punch’ photos: The women of Zack Snyder’s epic fantasy

  1. snarkysmachine says:

    It's a stinker.

  2. Brian says:

    http://www.squidoo.com/sucker-punch

    Great visual effects and scenery.

  3. Dan says:

    It's fantastic, and those who criticize it take themselves and their movies too seriously.

  4. Tim says:

    Sorry Zack Snyder, but gobs of slow-mo, upskirt shots, pricey FX and borrowed sci-fi/fantasy characters does not a movie make…..What a joke. The only thing worse that this film is going to be the SORRY EXCUSE FOR A REMAKE of Arthur with Russell Brand. What a joke of an actor that guy is?? Do you really think anybody can replace Dudley Moore as Arthur….NOT?? You people really need to stop remaking classic movies and turning them into garbage. Use your brains and write some new material. It’s getting pathetic!!!

  5. Tim says:

    Sorry Zack Snyder, but gobs of slow-mo, upskirt shots, pricey FX and borrowed sci-fi/fantasy characters does not a movie make…..What a joke. The only thing worse that this film is going to be the SORRY EXCUSE FOR A REMAKE of Arthur with Russell Brand. What a joke of an actor that guy is?? Do you really think anybody can replace Dudley Moore as Arthur….NOT?? You people really need to stop remaking classic movies and turning them into garbage. Use your brains and write some new material. It’s getting pathetic!!! The criteria for talent in this country has hit an all time low…..mostly thanks to Disney. All these no talent Disney actors that can’t dance act or sing but are making more money than all the other celebs in this country put together. It is PATHETIC.

  6. steve999 says:

    The bad news is this is better the most “Hollywood System” types of movies. The good news is it will be replaced by the next “Hollywood System” movie soon.

  7. deepwater805 says:

    Hot chicks in hot pants! What’s not to like? I am so there….

  8. Monica says:

    This movie was awesome!! It’s amazingly visual & the characters are great! I’m going to see it again!!

  9. Tmiller says:

    This movie was not good. Snyder seems to do the same style and camera tricks in each movie since "300." I wonder if the new Superman will be more straightforward. Also, all those girls were terrible actresses. They should have cast pornstars; the acting wouldn't have suffered and at least they would have more curves than a Justin Bieber fan.

  10. Carlos says:

    I loved this movie, especially the girls and visuals will definitely see it again and buy it when it’s on dvd….

  11. Karas 38 says:

    I loved this movie, what’s not to like? Hot girls kicking ass? I love that we need more Sucker Punch movies. Definitely will see it again and buy it when it’s on dvd. I would see Sucker Pumch a million times before I see any of the Twilight Movies or Beastily or Justin Beiber….

  12. Bella says:

    This movie was the best one I've ever seen beside Deathly Hallows part one. I don't know why you all think it was so bad… I loved it!

  13. Baddawiyyah says:

    Sucker punch…

    I loved it too. And it was the best birthday gift too. Been raving about it ever since. He really had me on that “What the…” angle at the end, Sucker punch had so much depth and sent a very clear message. You have to use your weapons – whatever they are – to make your dreams come true. So y’all should stop hatin’ and start ‘fightin’. Peace…

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