Dwayne's million dollar smile lights up the room
In Rampage, Naomie Harris plays Dr Kate Caldwell, a discredited genetic engineer who teams up with Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), the head of the anti-poaching unit in Rwanda, to save an endangered albino gorilla. In a chat, Harris tells us more about her character, working with Dwayne Johnson and what the audience can expect from the film.
It was when the actress was in the middle of promoting her earlier film, Moonlight, that she decided she wanted to play a character that was the polar opposite of her character from the film called Paula.“I spoke to (director) Brad Peyton, who was so full of life and energy. I became excited about Rampage and working with him. I also connected with Kate (her character) because I empathised with her journey and her desire to make a difference in the world and to right the wrong that she has created – a pathogen that has become weaponised,” she says.
Working with Dwayne Johnson was “wonderful,” says Harris, adding, “He has such incredible charisma and his million-watt smile lights up the room. You can’t help but be charmed and moved by it.Dwayne brings such commitment to the set that it changes the energy there. Everybody’s spirit is lifted.
Harris worked with a performance capture artiste for the scenes involving George the Gorilla. Ask her about what that was like and she says, “I didn’t realise we were going to have the privilege of working with an actor playing George. I thought we would have a cardboard cutout as our point of reference. I remember a scene where George is crying. Jason (Liles), the performance artiste, was welling up and his nose was running. He was so in the moment, and we couldn’t help, but be moved by him,” she says.
Although she cannot pick a favourite moment from the sets, Harris signs off saying, “I also had the privilege of having all my friends and all my family visit our set in Atlanta, stay with me, and meet Dwayne, which was an amazing moment for them. He was so generous with his time and took photos with all of them. They won’t forget that experience, and neither will I.”