Dragonball Evolution : Emmy Rossum Interview

The beautiful and talented Emmy Rossum plays the blue haired Bulma ‘the most brilliant woman in the world’ in DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION, a fantastic and thrilling new adventure, based on the hugely popular Japanese manga (comic book). She stars with Justin Chatwin who plays Goku, the hero of the story, a teenager who sets out on an amazing journey to find seven Dragonballs.

Emmy Rossum stars along with rising star Justin Chatwin in DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION, the hotly anticipated action packed film, which is based on the manga that has become a worldwide phenomenon. Chatwin plays Goku, an ordinary teenage boy who finds out that he has an extraordinary destiny. He has no idea what lies in store when he sets out on a quest to fight the forces of darkness – and ultimately to save the planet. To do that, he has to collect seven mystical Dragonballs. The journey is dangerous as Goku discovers his special super powers as ‘the greatest warrior on earth’.

He is surrounded by a group of fascinating characters – good and bad - including Master Roshi, his guide and mentor, portrayed by veteran actor Chow Yun-Fat and James Marsters, who plays the despicable and totally evil Lord Piccolo.

Emmy Rossum stars as Bulma, a beautiful girl who is not only super smart, but also an adventurer and an inventor, with a laser-guided, high-tech magnum pistol and a Dragonball-tracker. She wants to find the Dragonballs for her own reasons.

The actress says making the film was the most thrilling experience of her career: “I got to hang upside down in flying cars and shoot guns, where else would I have that kind of opportunity? It was an incredible adventure.”

The film is based on Akira Toriyama’s DRAGONBALL, familiar to fans across the globe. As well as the manga, (comic book) Anime and TV series, there are video games and graphic novels.

DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION was directed by James Wong and is a fast-paced adventure, with great characters, state of the art CGI special effects and riveting action. There is also plenty of comedy and human drama. The film was shot on location in Mexico.

Emmy Rossum is not only a talented actress, but also a musician. She grew up in New York and discovered that she had a gift for performing and singing. When she was 11, she was chosen to join the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She appeared in twenty different operas in five languages, including ‘La Bohème’, ‘Turandot’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

The actress, who is 22, has appeared in several TV series including LAW AND ORDER and THE PRACTICE. She starred in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, POSEIDON, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, MYSTIC RIVER, directed by Clint Eastwood and the SONGCATCHER. In 2007, Emmy recorded an album, “Inside Out,” writing all her own songs. She is currently working on her second album. She is actively involved in charity work and is the Youth Ambassador for the international organization Youth AIDS, educating young people about the prevention and treatment of AIDS.

Emmy is stunning and very friendly. In costume as Bulma, she has blue hair and wears a high ponytail. Relaxing in Los Angeles for this interview, her long, dark curly hair loose over her shoulders, she was wearing jeans and an Obama t-shirt.

Q: What was it like going to Mexico to make this film, based on the hugely popular manga?
“It was incredibly exciting and a little scary at first, knowing how much the fans care about the manga. At the same time, that provided us with a real sense of purpose, because we were telling a story that we knew so many people would want to watch. I play Bulma who is smart and very ambitious. She is excitable and easily annoyed. I was really excited by the character. She’s a strong girl, this girl is powerful and feisty and sassy and very sexy.”

Q: She has an amazing career doesn’t she?
“Bulma is a brilliant scientist working at the ‘Capsule Corporation’ that’s run by her father. Bulma is obviously the smartest girl in the entire world and she loves telling everyone how clever she is. She honestly believes that she can do everything better than everyone else. Hearing a real person say that is completely ridiculous, so I think that is where the comedy comes from in the role. In the manga, she is boy crazy and she is a little boy crazy in the film too. That is why she is so interesting. It is pretty funny to have a girl who is incredibly smart and well trained in weapons, but completely obsessed with boys. I think that is an awesome combination and makes her an interesting personality.”

Q: What is Bulma’s relationship with Goku, played by Justin Chatwin?
“My relationship with Justin Chatwin is like brother /sister and it involves that kind of sparring that siblings have. It is great fun.

Q: What is Bulma’s journey all about?
“In the manga she is searching for the Dragonballs because if she finds them she will have a wish granted. She wants to wish for the perfect boyfriend. But actually in our film she wants to find all the Dragonballs because she believes if she has all of them, she could harness an unlimited source of electricity and she will be able to power the whole world. She is an amazing scientist, an inventor and actually a complete genius.”

Q: You are quite academic yourself; you studied at Columbia University for a while. You must have a good foundation for playing this very brilliant girl?
“I am quite scientific and academic, that’s true and I was excellent at math at school, strangely I was less good at English, which doesn’t make any sense because now I am very creative and write songs and act. But I think Bulma is more similar to me than I’d like to admit. We are both high achievers. But I discovered at university, where I was studying English and French, that there are many people who are highly intelligent. There will always be a hundred people who are way brighter than you.”

Q: Will you go back to college?
“I don’t know, I didn’t finish and in some ways I would like to, but maybe not, because I think education continues, even outside college. For example, when I was in Durango, Mexico making this film, I was learning about the culture and recipes and history and studying their architecture. I am so lucky to have a job that takes me all over the world. I learn so much about different cultures and history wherever I go. It’s a much more visceral type of learning than you would get in college, when you are in Egypt seeing The Pyramids, for example.”

Q: What were the biggest challenges of the film for you?
“I had to be as strong as possible. I had to learn how to drive a motorcycle without hopefully killing Justin Chatwin in the process. (laughs). I had to ride a Spyder, a three wheeled motorcycle which has two wheels in the front and one in the back. It was amazing.”

Q: How much action was there?
“There was a lot of action. Even though Bulma in the original manga is not the best fighter, it was very important that I had a very strong sense of being a warrior. And I must say that becoming a warrior for the role really changed me, you cannot fake that. It alters the way you walk and the way you think and the way you talk. So we went through a very tough training program. The cast all trained in a group with expert stunt guys at a company called 87Eleven. We became really strong and doing it all together made us become like a cohesive group of real warriors.”

Q: What did you learn?
“I had to learn tai chi and I had to personally train with marines, to shoot guns. My character is a weapons expert, so I had three guns. I went to a shooting range with the guys and it was really fantastic, although I’m completely opposed to any kind of violence in reality. But I enjoyed tapping into my masculine side. Apart from learning to ride the motorcycle, I actually had to shoot off the motorcycle, one hand steering, the other hand shooting.”

Q: How empowering was that training?
“It made me feel very powerful, it was enormously challenging too but incredibly exciting. What other job could you have, other than being a bodyguard or in the army or the marines, where you could learn to shoot guns and ride a motorcycle?”

Q: Were there any scary moments?
“We had a scene in a car that flies, it was one of Bulma’s ‘Capsule’ inventions, it was a custom made Hummer, very military like inside, it has sharp edges made of steel and we all ended up scraping ourselves and cutting our arms. We had to film a scene in which I fall out of the car and somebody tries to save me. I got pretty banged up and my ribs were purple. But I really cannot complain, it was such an amazing experience. I get to hang out of flying cars for a living. It is fantastic. I can pretend to be this crazy, funny character. She is such fun.”

Q: What do you look like as Bulma?
“I have completely blue hair, I am extremely fashionable, because Bulma cares a lot about her appearance. She is always wearing designer clothes. I get to wear a latex cat suit, warrior outfit that is extremely tight. I can only barely breathe and fight in it. I have big combat boots. It really was fun to have that look and to use my imagination to become Bulma.”

Q: How do feel about being a massive Internet pin up for teenage boys who adore Bulma – and you?
“It is awesome, it’s so flattering. Hopefully I can enjoy being sexy for these next fifteen years of my life. Dude, if guys think I am sexy, I am going to milk it for all it is worth.”

Q: What stands out for you from the experience of making this film?
“It was just extraordinary to be part of this film, that is fun and full of adventure. Film is forever, so I will be able to show this to my kids one day and people who like it will be able to show it to their kids. “

Q: You always look stunning, are you confident about your looks?
“No more than any other girl, I think every girl has days when they feel good and days when they don’t feel pretty. I have days when I don’t even want to get out of my sweat pants. But as far as diet and fitness are concerned, I try to be pretty healthy - although last night I did eat chocolate, which was so good I couldn’t stop - that’s the problem. But usually I exercise and eat protein and vegetables.”

Q: Now that you are not doing the intense martial arts, how do you stay fit?
“I dance and I like to run, running is a time when I listen to my Ipod and no one can bother me, I run outside or on my treadmill.”

Q: Can you talk about your style?
“For my everyday life I like to wear things that are affordable and easy from high street stores such as H & M and Top Shop. I can order from the Top Shop website if I am not going to be in England. I like Privacy jeans and Paige Premium Denim. For red carpet events, we don’t have to buy any of the dresses; we just borrow them, which is great fun. I love Chanel, Dior, Valentino, Badgley Mischka, Versace, Doice and Gabbana, it is like being Cinderella. You get to dress up and then the dress goes home at midnight and you turn into a pumpkin. But it is pretty exciting. It is definitely a lovely perk to wear such cool dresses.”

Q: Do you like living in LA having grown up on the East Coast?
“They are totally different, I am not a sun person. As much as I love the LA weather, I love the rain, I really enjoy England because I love the fog, and there is something very romantic and moody about that kind of weather, it gives you a license to be romantic. I always feel very guilty about being moody in LA because everyone is always so happy in the sunshine. But I like LA too, I like outdoors activities, you can drive an hour north and go skiing or snowboarding in the mountains at Big Bear and then you can drive to Malibu and go surfing. There are more opportunities for outdoor activities in LA than in Manhattan, but I enjoy both.”

Q: What is your approach to fame and stardom?
“I do not find it easy, definitely not. I think anyone who says ‘I want fame it is awesome’ is either crazy or lying. It is definitely a little weird. I think it also weird because these days, you can be well known for anything, whether it is pornography or being a model or hosting a cooking show. Then on the other end of the spectrum you could be famous for being an amazing actor like Nicole Kidman or Brenda Blethyn. I think the idea of fame is really different from what it meant when I was growing up. I grew up idolizing Grace Kelly.”

Q: It is interesting that growing up those were your favorite actresses?
“Well my mother had me when she was 39 so she is 62 now. She was not a young mother, so she showed me movies that she loved and had watched when she was little. I grew up watching old Shirley Temple movies and other classics. My idea of fame is very glamorous and very distant. Now you see famous people in Starbucks, it is really different and interesting. I think it is extremely flattering and exciting when people come up to me and have enjoyed a movie I have done or a song that I have written, that is awesome, but I think fame is strange.”

Q: How ambitious are you?
“I am driven and I think that drive comes from a need to survive. We didn’t have a lot growing up. My mom was a single parent. She is a photographer and when I was 12 or 13, she was hurt on a job. She had been traveling and came off the plane in a neck brace and couldn’t work for years, so I immediately said: ‘even though I am 13, there are two people in this family and I am going to work and support my family’. So I did and I think that is where it comes from. That experience made me strong. My mom is a massive inspiration to me. We had a lot of adversity and lived in a one-bedroom apartment, but we managed and she was great. She was very strict with me and very loving and I had a happy, wonderful childhood. We are still close.”

Q: What impact did your childhood have on your drive and career?
“I don’t want to talk about it as though no one else has had a difficult childhood because I think in this day and age unfortunately, it is something that a lot of kids go through. A lot of women have to raise kids without partners, a lot of guys also have to raise kids alone. It was hard for me not having a father there, feeling that rejection that you are going to feel from a parent leaving. But obviously it had nothing to do with me; I know that now I am old enough to understand. But you know I have always been the kind of person who looks at the jar as half full not half empty. Everyone has hardships in their lives. I had a lot of pain growing up and I think it did make me a stronger person. I am so lucky that I have a mother who loved me enough for two people. Even though I felt something was missing, I never felt incomplete.”

Q: I know you worked with some world famous opera stars as a child, you must have learned so much?
“I got the chance to work with people like Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. Just being in that environment and seeing how dedicated those brilliant people were was wonderful. They don’t mess around, they don’t forget their lines, they don’t show up late and that is how I like to approach my work and films. I like to be prepared and I am pretty disciplined.”

Q: You’ve worked with some fantastic directors; can you talk about best experiences so far?
“MYSTIC RIVER and PHANTOM were fantastic, I would not be where I am if those directors hadn’t taken a chance on me. Clint Eastwood was amazing, I have just recently become ok with calling him Clint; I called him Mr. Eastwood forever. He kept correcting me and saying ‘no it’s Clint’. I am so in awe of him, it is hard not to be awe of someone who is so talented and almost seven feet tall. He is such a gentle giant, a wonderful man, a humanitarian and an amazing musician. He wrote all the music for MYSTIC RIVER.”

Q: Did you do any singing with him?
“I was so in awe of him I don’t think I could ever get that far, I was so humbled by being on that set.”

Q: You are so multi talented Emmy, how important is singing in your life at the moment?
“I am very focused on singing and writing music, I am writing a second album right now and it is a great personal way of expressing myself.”

Q: How do you relax?
“Relaxing is usually an evening in rather than an evening out. But if I go out I would go bowling or do karaoke or go horseback riding. I love to cook; I just made cherry muffins last night that were amazing. Cooking is an artistic way of expressing myself.”

Q: What are your dreams?
“I am much more open now to doing anything, I don’t have a game plan, I like doing whatever strikes my fancy. I think having dreams is amazing, but if they are too specific you can box yourself in and not open yourself up to new opportunities. I just want to do projects I care about and manage to put food on my table and pay for my dog’s food.”

Q: What kind of dogs do you have?
“I have a Chihuahua called Sugar who is white with black spots and a Yorkie (Yorkshire Terrier), who weighs about four pounds, his name in Cinnamon.”

Q: Do you have a boyfriend?
“I do have a long term boyfriend and we are very happy together.”

Q: Any other goals?
“Way in the distant future I would love a family. Growing up, my little family was definitely a source of strength and happiness for me, even though it was just me and my mom. But I always wanted to create what was in my mind, a more normal family, with a white picket fence, a mom and a dad, two kids and a golden retriever. I don’t know how realistic that is, in this day and age or if it’s even necessary, it probably isn’t, who knows, but it is my dream.”