Carla Gugino was living in New York in September 2001. Every day she would look at the Twin Towers from her window, and then, one morning they were gone. The rush of emotions she felt on 9/11 stayed with her as she filmed her new movie, the earthquake disaster flick San Andreas.
“I thought about it a lot in the way Dwayne Johnson’s character and my character reconnect in this movie,” she says.
In the film she plays Johnson’s estranged wife who teams with him to rescue their daughter from a devastating earthquake that rips California in half.
“What I found so smart and well done is that they connect not in a cliché way or in a sentimental way; they reconnect because they may not be alive the next day. In those moments, which was very much the case with 9/11 and what happened that morning, you realize you want to go help people. You want to be with the people you love and you want to not sweat the small stuff. It contextualizes life in such a radical way.”
Warner Bros chose not to change the release date of San Andreas in light of the recent deadly earthquakes in Nepal. Instead they’ve used the film’s trailers and ads to raise awareness about relief efforts and have vowed to match donations made by their employees. “There were always going to be public service announcements after the trailer and the film,” Gugino adds, “but then they were specifically geared toward Nepal.”
“This is a movie that does not take Mother Nature or her tics lightly,” says Gugino, “and I think it’s about the triumph of the human spirit, which is what always amazes me. At 9/11 and seeing this terrible situation in Nepal the thing you are reminded of is the resilience of the human spirit.”
The actress, best known for her roles in Spy Kids and Sin City, lives in New York but spent twenty years living in Los Angeles on top of the shaky San Andreas fault line.
“I’ve been in a couple of big ones in LA and they are intense,” she says. “The first one I ran outside which is exactly what you are not supposed to do. That is a good thing about San Andreas, you actually learn some stuff too—the whole under a doorway, or under a desk ting. Or under Dwayne Johnson. That is one of the advantages of his size.”