‘Lockout’ Has A ‘Great Sense Of Humor,’ Stars Say

Picture this: a maximum security prison gets overrun by the inmates, with correctional officers and other bystanders taken as hostages. One such hostage just so happens to be the President of the United States’ daughter — and the only man who can save her is a former special forces operative with an agenda of his own.

Nothing too far outside the realm of blockbuster movie possibility, right? In the case of “Lockout,” it gets better: all that aforementioned action? It takes place in space.

In certain hands, the far-out premise of “Lockout” could easily be fumbled — it could take itself too seriously, or it could wink way too hard at the viewer. Thankfully, “Lockout” was very much in the right hands from the very beginning (the hands of Luc Besson and his EuropaCorp studio to be precise), a fact that was very attractive to co-leads Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace in signing on for the film.

“It seemed so extreme and not ridiculous, but it did have … a great sense of humor about it, I suppose,” Pearce told MTV News when asked what he first thought about the “Lockout” premise. “I think we both responded to that.”

“It had a heightened sense of reality to it, unapologetically so,” agreed Grace. “There was nothing pretentious about it. It was very much embracing this kind of retro action feel with a sense of humor. It didn’t take itself so seriously. The movies in this genre that I remember loving growing up were always like that. They had a sense of humor that was fun. I think that’s what really drew me to this.”

In the film, Grace plays the previously noted daughter of the president, Emilie Warnock, who finds herself forced to transform into a badass virtually overnight in order to survive the horrific spacebound prison riot. Thankfully, she has some help in that department in the form of Snow, the former operative tasked by the government with saving Emilie’s life. It’s not exactly a job that Snow’s psyched about, to say the least, even if he has his own motivations for infiltrating MS One.

“I have absolutely no interest in [saving Emilie] whatsoever, but I find out that my friend has also been held captive in this prison,” Pearce told us about his character. “So that’s really my motivation to get up there and get her out: to get to my friend.”

It’s hardly a spoiler to say that somewhere along the way, Snow and Emilie do indeed link up. And when they do, sparks most certainly fly — but not the good kind of sparks, at least not at first.

“He’s salty. A little cynical,” Pearce described of Snow’s approach towards Ms. Warnock. “Clearly Emilie is someone he finds attractive — she’s a beautiful woman — and she challenges him as much as anyone has in his life. He does his utmost to offend her from the moment he comes across her.”

“And succeeds, largely,” Grace added with a laugh.

Directed by James Mather and Stephen St. Leger, “Lockout” hits theaters on April 13.

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