There might be many parallels between director/co-writer Gavin O’Connor’s festival of emotion and creative MMA bloodsport, “Warrior,” and 1976’s “Rocky,” but the character of Tess Conlon as played by Jennifer Morrison is a far cry from the put-upon Adrian Pennino. She’s a woman who is fully secure in her intelligence and beauty who knows what she wants. What she doesn’t want is her husband, Brendan (Joel Edgerton), risking his neck, or her and their children’s future, by getting involved in UFC-style fighting.
Bullz-Eye writer Bob Westal met with Ms. Morrison during the “Warrior” press day at L.A.’s celebrity friendly Four Seasons to discuss the new film in addition to projects past and present. Check out a sample of the interview below and then head over to Bullz-Eye to read the full transcript.
Bullz-Eye: We’re a men’s magazine and obviously MMA cues in pretty closely to our demographic. But your director, Gavin O’Connor, is saying that, after the testing on “Warrior” was done, an executive told him he’d made “a chick flick.” Women are liking this movie.
Jennifer Morrison: I know. Isn’t that crazy?
BE: What do you think about that?
JM: I think there’s any number of elements to it. There’s certainly the appeal of watching manly men be in a film like this. Both Joel and Tom are solid guys who are incredible actors who give incredible performances. You have this opportunity to watch two great men be very manly, which is appealing for women. But within that, it’s such a heartfelt story that really is about family and really is about fighting for family. I think women really do relate to that. It’s sort of an unexpected element.
JM: The fact that there’s this interesting marriage between Brendan and Tess where you really want to [root] for them and you want them to be together. Yet they have very real problems and a very authentic conflict that’s going on. I’m hoping that part of it is that women really do identify with Tess and how she feels in this circumstance.
BE: You don’t see a lot of, in movies or in real life, people who are high school sweethearts who’ve stayed together.
JM: There’s an appeal to that, for sure. My parents are high school sweethearts. They’ve been together and are still together. So, I’ve witnessed it actually work.
BE: You’ve got a significant role in the film, but your part is not gigantic. How do you create that feeling that these two people have been together a long time.
JM: We were really lucky. Gavin is incredibly collaborative and inclusive in the whole process. We spent about a week with Joel, me and Anthony [Tambakis], one of the writers, just together in a room going over every detail of that marriage. Ultimately, the script changed as we got through those meetings because we would discover something about them that would really inform the way they would actually converse about what was going on, and would add an element to the scene that we didn’t realize was going on before. Gavin gave us about a hundred questions to answer. There were 30 or 40 just for the marriage.