TR Interview: Antje Traue, Man of Steel‘s Ferocious Faora


Amy Adams’ Lois Lane may capture Superman’s heart in the new movie, as she has in every other, but it’s Antje Traue’s Faora who will more likely find her way to the wall of every hot-blooded male teen’s bedroom. Like Sarah Douglas’ Ursa in the Christopher Reeve films – whose character was based on Faora from the comics – Traue’s Kryptonian criminal looks badass in black, as scary as she is stunning. It’s surely no spoiler to say she goes toe to toe with the Big Blue Boy Scout and acquits herself well; thankfully, when we went one-on-one in conversation, she pulled her super-punches and spared my life.

You may know the German-born actress from Pandorum if you were one of the few that saw it, but it’s safe to say you’ll have no trouble remembering her as Faora.

Luke Y. Thompson: How is it to be in such a huge thing? Are you aware while you’re doing it just how huge everything is?

Antje Traue: I wasn’t aware of how big Superman is, because for me growing up, I didn’t grow up with Superman, as a girl. But then you step into this whole production environment, and you walk to the costume department, and then you go through make-up, and then you go to stunts and everything, and it’s just like the best of the best people come together, and assemble to do something that amazing. Then you feel it, how much love is involved, and how much heart, and everything is just perfect for the movie.

LYT: How much of the costume is real? I heard some of it was produced digitally. How much of what we see on screen were you actually wearing?

AT: My costume was a full costume, so all that was post-production was the helmet, and when we actually walk out of the ship – I don’t know how to describe it in English – what I was actually wearing was the suit, the armor. The rest was CGI. Hot, tight, heavy!

LYT: So even with the full helmet that we can’t see through, that was digital also?

AT: That was digital also, yeah.

LYT: I was doing my homework on the character of Faora, and I realized that there have been a lot of different versions of her. Did you go back and study any of those, or did you take what was in the script?

AT: I sat down with Zack [Snyder] the first time and said “I’d rather not look at any others’ interpretation. I would like to go from scratch and create something very fresh,” and he agreed. He said, “Let’s just do that.” It was actually hard not to do any research, because all that you want to do is to read and absorb whatever you can find, but I really made that decision to say no, I’m not going to look at anything, and just go with my instincts, and what I get from the script.


LYT: So it wasn’t just not looking at other actresses, you also didn’t want to look at comic books either?

AT: Correct.

LYT: Have you seen any of the other Superman movies?

AT: No, never.

LYT: It’s fascinating how many people involved have not seen it – Russell Crowe said he hadn’t seen one either.

AT: No, he hasn’t. No, no.

LYT: So what’s it like coming over from doing German movies to coming to Pandorum and then to this – all of these big Hollywood fantasies? Is it more of a challenge to get into a slightly more heightened-reality character?

AT: It is a roller coaster – a good one, for sure. I mean, for me, coming here and to be part of it, I just try to really embody all of it, and to actually bring it to Faora’s character. You know, to be gone from home, to be gone from everything that’s familiar, to speak a second language sometimes is isolating itself. To actually take all of that – Henry Cavill mentioned the loneliness of being an actor on the road, constantly in some motel room where you’ll just be by yourself. It’s a very solitary sort of profession, and to actually really take that and bring it to Faora – and especially with this one, the size of it all, and the exposure of it all, it’s bigger than life, and it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

LYT: What’s it like to see yourself as a toy?

AT: I just got it, really – like 10 minutes ago! I got a box with my toy, and it’s surreal. It really is. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I just looked at it, and I thought “Wow, it’s done!” They’re beautiful, very detailed – did you see it?

LYT: Yes.

AT: What did you think?

LYT: The little figures, and they also have pretty big statues, too.

AT: Pretty cool, though, right?

LYT: I keep saying, “I want more. I want the clear helmet on, I want the cape” I feel like I want even more stuff!

AT: Oh, I see! Yeah, yeah, yeah! Maybe you should mention that to them!

LYT: If I get the ear of Mattel, I will! How do you see her and Zod’s relationship? We have to guess a lot of the back story. Is it strictly professional, or do you think there’s more there? Did you and Michael Shannon talk about that?

AT: I remember the first camera test we did, in make-up and costume, and we were both there, Michael and I. We hadn’t had hardly a chance to talk to each other up to this point. We’d stand there, and Zack would say “Look to your right,” and “Look to your left,” and “Look towards the camera, action!” And just in that moment, we would move 100% synchronized, without thinking or talking, and it made me happy, because I thought we found that understanding which is very essential to this relationship. They don’t need words; they have the same idea, they have the same mindset. For me, that’s the essential…that’s the essence of who they are together.

LYT: When you’re doing the fight scenes in Smallville, there’s a really huge guy next to you. Was he actually that huge, or was that a guy on stilts?

AT: That’s actually a funny story, because this guy is just a normal person – I mean, he’s a big dude, stunt guy – but he attached something to his head, and just to give us an eye line, they would put something, pin on, like, an eye or whatever, so we had something to look at, so this guy was laughing about himself, because it was such a silly kind of thing sticking out of his head! He was actually a normal guy.

LYT: As far as the actual shooting of that, to get the super speed, is that editing, is that stopping the camera and having you move – how do you achieve that zipping around?

AT: Yeah, you actually – what you do, you do a lot of pretending, like to take off, and to land, and to hit, but it has to be very precise and it has to be powerful, even though you don’t do much more than that, because this is taken care of with the computer. So all you do is taking off and landing, as most realistically that you can.

LYT: One thing in the comics about the character is that she’s a master of the Kryptonian martial arts, and that obviously shows in the movie. What were the Kryptonian martial arts derived from – did you know what sort of fighting style they drew from?

AT: They kind of tried to merge various styles, but for me, it’s not a very feminine fighting style, as you saw. It’s very brutal, it’s very straightforward. But for the training, you’re absolutely right – we’ve done a lot of martial arts training, we’ve done a lot of boxing, just to get the skills, and then we put it together to create that Kryptonian fighting style.

Man of Steel opens June 14th.

Previously on TR:

The 14 Best Quotes From Friday’s Man of Steel Press Conference

WB Shows off Costumes, Props From Man of Steel (Pics)