Laker Girl, check! Back up dancer for Prince, check! Ass-kicking female in a post-Judgment Day world? After this weekend, star-on-the-rise Moon Bloodgood can cross that one off her list too.
By Harrison Pierce
Actress Moon Bloodgood is having a moment. The striking Korean, Dutch and Irish beauty has her first big starring role in Terminator Salvation, which opened Thursday in over 3,500 theatres. The feverishly anticipated continuation of the blockbuster Terminator series takes place in the post-Judgment Day, machine-ruled future only glimpsed at in the previous Terminator films. Moon’s character emerges from this dystopia as an ass-kicking babe in the grand tradition of Linda Hamilton in T2 and Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. After this weekend, moviegoers previously unfamiliar with the actress might make the mistake of labeling her an overnight success, but as she’ll attest, hard work over time is the more common route to any kind of success in Hollywood.
In fact, since her late teens, Moon’s been paying her dues as everything from a Laker Girl, to a backup dancer for music stars like Prince and Brandy, and as an aspiring actress humbly willing to accept parts with non-names like “Stripper” and “Gorgeous Woman.” Recently, she’s managed to win bigger and better roles, including one opposite Paul Walker in the hit adventure film Eight Below, and another in last year’s Hollywood satire What Just Happened?, starring Robert De Niro. For Moon, it feels like it’s all been leading up to this moment, and naturally, she’s an expectant mix of excitement and fear.
Advocate.com recently chatted with Moon on the eve of her big break to discuss everything from her role in the new Terminator film, to her days in purple and gold as a Laker Girl, to her feelings about the imminent Judgment Day decision by the California courts regarding marriage equality.
Advocate.com: Tell us about a little about your uniquely cool name, because, after this weekend, I think it’s one a lot more people are going to know…
Moon Bloodgood: [Laughs]. Thank you! Well, my real name is actually Korinna Moon Bloodgood. Moon is my middle name and my Mom gave it to me, because I’m half Korean. My last name, Bloodgood, is Dutch.
Before being cast in the new Terminator, were you a fan of the series?
Oh, huge, huge fan, especially of the first and second ones.
So, how’d you feel when you found out you got the part?
I think it’s one of those moments you wait your whole life for as an artist. I mean, you love the process, but you just get so excited because you get to be a part of something you grew up loving!
In the film you play a tough, post-Judgment Day survivalist named “Blair Williams.” Did you feel pressure to get Linda Hamilton-ripped?
I had a personal trainer and he did a lot of weight training with me. But I didn’t want to get too big. I just wanted to get a little stronger. Anyway, I’ve gotten some comparisons [to Hamilton] and it’s always flattering because — like her and “Ripley” in Aliens you love those female characters that are strong and likeable.
You have a relationship in the film with sexy Australian newcomer Sam Worthington’s half human, half robot character “Marcus Wright.” Ever dated someone you suspected was part robot?
I’ve definitely met guys that made me think Why can’t you feel anything? I don’t understand you! [laughs]. Interestingly enough, in the movie, I sense that the Marcus character has a lot of emotion and I’m surprised to find out he’s half robot.
On set, did you call your director “McG” [real name Joseph McGinty Nichol] or something a little more formal?
Well, he’s called that because his father’s name is Joseph, so it just became his nickname a long time ago. I actually have known him for a while, so he’s just McG to me. I mean, my name’s Moon so, between [co-stars] Common and Anton [Yelchin] and Bryce [Dallas Howard] — we all had crazy names on that set.
McG previously directed the Charlie’s Angels films — do you think your character could take those girls?
I definitely don’t think my character is as fun as them, but, yeah — I’d like to think I could take them. My character, I mean. I don’t think Moon could…I wouldn’t go that far.
In the machine-ruled world of Terminator Salvation, things are a bit drab — where are the gay robots to glamorize things up?
I know, where are the gay robots? Actually, you don’t know what those robots are into.
It seems like no one has time for sex in Terminator world…
Who has time to think about it when you’re just trying to fucking survive? [Laughs] Even my character doesn’t have time for sex and, believe me; I’m thinking Blair hasn’t gotten any in a while.
You know, gay audiences love hot, ass-kicking women on the big screen — are you ready for your big gay fan base?
I would love to have a gay fan base because, you know, I grew up as a dancer, so a lot of my friends were gay. When you grow up and you’re into musicals and stuff — I love that artistic world — you find a lot of gay men and women love that world too, so I hope I get a lot of new fans. I’m down…I feel it, I want it.
What was it like being a Laker Girl?
Being a Laker Girl was a dream of mine since I was a kid. But there was a time when they would warn us not to hang out with the players and it just sometimes felt, like, even though it was a job, they were telling us what to do with our private time. That felt a little restricting. I was 18 and thinking, What I do with my personal time is my business! I was a little rebellious [laughs].
Did the Laker girls get along or was it catfight city?
Ninety nine percent of the time everyone got along, but any time you get a group of girls together there’s gonna be some drama. There were never any physical fights but there’s always gossip and a couple girls who don’t get along.
Did that gig prepare you for the acting world?
Yeah, it did. In some ways it’s a similar medium and in other ways it’s very different. But it helped me develop my physicality, which later helped me with stunts. [Doing Terminator] I wasn’t afraid to run, jump or hang from harnesses. I wasn’t fearful of executing those stunts because I have that center of gravity from dance.
What was it like backup dancing for the Purple One?
I had a show at his club and I worked on some of his CD Roms — I did a lot of different things for Prince. I worked with a lot of different artists as a dancer, like The Offspring, Deborah Cox and Brandy. So yeah, I was a backup dancer for a while and wanted to do music, but five years ago, I segued into acting, which I’ve fallen in love with.
Early in your acting career you played characters billed as “Stripper” on TV’s CSI and “Gorgeous Woman” in Win a Date with Tad Hamilton — did you ever ask if your characters could have a name?
At that point, I was just happy to be working. I was like, “Fuck it, if I’m a stripper, that’s what I am.” Like, what am I gonna say? I was so used to being treated like shit as a dancer, where they saw us as a group and not as individuals. Now, I wouldn’t want to be just called “Stripper;” I have a little more of an ego, I have to admit.
When you work with a hottie like Paul Walker in Eight Below, how do you control yourself from jumping his bones?
You know, I was with somebody at the time — being in a relationship usually helps with monogamy, you know [laughs]. I recommend it. But Paul, in person, is quite stunning and, believe me, it definitely helps with onscreen chemistry. I’m lucky I got to do a kiss with him.
Speaking of jumping bones, you played a film executive trying to seduce Robert De Niro in What Just Happened? Who was more nervous filming that scene?
I think people would be surprised at how shy Bob was — well, people call him Bob, I’ll call him Robert De Niro. I think he was more embarrassed than I was and when I had to flash him some good ole’ titty, he was looking away. I think it was a courtesy to me, because he didn’t want me to feel uncomfortable. He’s quite the gentleman. You think he’s this badass actor who’s fearless, but he’s quite shy in person.
Have you had a chance to meet the original Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger?
I haven’t met him, no, but I did meet his kids at the premiere. They’re beautiful.
Do they look more like him or the Shrivers?
I gotta say, they’re like a really good hybrid.
I remember seeing his son somewhere and wondering how much pressure that poor kid must feel to be a body builder…
Or a politician. He’s like, “I’m fucked either way” [laughs]. I think they should just go into psychology or something.
For the gay community, the imminent decision by the state courts about Prop 8 is a bit like Judgment Day — what are your feelings on the issue of marriage equality?
I’ve always believed that people who are against gays getting married are people who don’t have gay friends. If you had a gay friend, you’d support it because you’d want him or her to get married because, you know, nobody chooses to have a life that people have prejudices against. It’s always baffled me, because my cousin was gay growing up and I was always around it.
Do you think there’s really such a thing as overnight success in this town?
I rarely see it. Everything I’ve seen — nine out of ten times —is people working really hard and taking little baby steps toward it. Once in a while somebody pops off and they’re an overnight success, but they’re very few and far between. I think all of us worked really hard to get where we are.
Was there ever a time you wanted to throw in the towel?
Are you kidding me? Almost every other day [laughs]. There are moments that I’m so happy and can’t think of doing anything else and other moments where you get why people marry and move to Montana and raise cattle. I remember being at the premiere [for Terminator] and thinking, ‘I am so overwhelmed by all this.’ You wonder, ‘Do people really like me for me?’ or ‘What game do I have to play?’ and ‘How much is this about my talent?’ It’s a really tough business and there’s a reason people crumble and have a hard time. Yeah, there are times I’m like, “Fuck it, throw in the towel? I’m gonna throw in my whole career, my car, my everything” and I’m just gonna get up and go away.
Will there be another Terminator sequel after this one and will you be involved?
At this point, and I’m being totally honest, no one knows. We’re kind of waiting to see how the movie does and how people respond to it, but hopefully they will and I’d love to be in it.
The Terminator billboards are everywhere in Los Angeles — do you love it?
I do love it, but this is my first thing of this caliber so I’m nervous and I hope people like the movie. I have a lot of emotions running through me right now.