At first glance, Oliver Stone’s “Savages” might seem like a relatively uncomplicated violent crime thriller that involves good vs. evil. The “good” are two grassroots pot dealers, played by Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson, who share a love interest, O (Blake Lively). The “evil” include Mexican cartel boss Elena (Salma Hayek) and her unruly, cold-blooded associate Lado (Benicio del Toro), who are trying to convince the young dealers to sell their business to the big, bad cartel. The amiable negotiations get really messy (and really violent) when Elena and Lado kidnap O, which forces our protagonists to cross over into evil territory themselves in order to save their love.
When MTV News caught up with the film’s leading ladies, we asked them to explain how their characters’ motivations aren’t as easily defined as “good” vs. “evil.”
“My character’s motivation is the survival of her family,” Hayek said. “If she doesn’t step up when her husband is killed and take over [running the drug cartel], they would have killed her other children, because they had already killed some other people in her family, and she had to step up.”
In stark contrast to Elena, Lively’s character is living a blissful, opulent life as the girlfriend of not one, but two eligible men.
“She’s all about love and hope,” Lively explained. “She’s lacking a father, her mother is always off with a different husband, and she doesn’t have a family. She needs that love and reassurance and she gets that. She creates her own family, and that’s with two men. She’s in a relationship with two different men, and they’re each other’s family.”
Lively said her character’s insatiable need for love and reassurance becomes her tragic flaw. “Even when she’s with her kidnapper, she falls in love with her kidnapper …”
“That would be me by the way,” Hayek added.
“It’s a void that she’s missing,” Lively continued. “In no way other than it fills that emotional void, it helps you understand the things that they do that are hard to understand like, how could you be in a relationship with two people? … When you understand that love is the driving force, people will do anything for it.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Savages.”
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