Her rise to stardom has been slow and steady, but Olivia Munn has come a long way since making her debut on G4’s popular tech and gaming series Attack of the Show! back in 2006. After leaving AOTS in 2010, Munn landed a coveted gig as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show even as she sought opportunities to expand her big screen credentials. She appeared briefly in films like Iron Man 2 and Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, co-starred in short-lived NBC sitcom Perfect Couples, and eventually earned a spot in the cast of HBO’s The Newsroom. Just last year, X-Men fans saw her tackle the role of Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalpse, and she’s already signed to return as the character in the next film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
This week, Munn lends her voice to the next entry in the budding LEGO movie franchise, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, as Misako, the ex-wife of the film’s villain Lord Garmadon. She took some time to speak with RT about her Five Favorite Films, pulling nuggets of wisdom from movies like Groundhog Day and Forrest Gump. Read on for the full list!
The Royal Tenenbaums. The style of the movie is so brilliant, and it just had so much character and intrigue, and the characters are all so specific, and funny, and heartbreaking, and as heightened as the world is, everybody’s so grounded. There’s just so much going on in that movie, and it just keeps moving. When you sit through it, you’re never bored through any of it, and I just think that [Wes Anderson] is one of the best directors of all time. I love pretty much everything with Bill Murray in it, so yes, that would be the first one.
The second one would actually be, going off of Bill Murray, it would be Groundhog Day. I watch that movie as if it’s Groundhog Day. I watch it all the time. It is so good. It is one of the best movies ever, and it’s just so clever. Every time I watch it, I just find little things that are different, or I think about something different. I mean, it was a movie that, as seen on paper, may be hard to do, but he is just such a brilliant actor and he’s so lovable without being annoying, and Andie MacDowell was so great in it.
Watching it multiple times and kind of noticing different things, have any of your opinions about something in Groundhog Day changed noticeably over the years? Like, opinions on maybe a character or an event?
Yes, actually, I watched it the other day, and even though I’m sure this is something that everybody else has thought of, it just hit me in a way that… I guess, especially as you get older and you understand life a little bit better, and you’ve had more experiences and stuff, I was like, the whole movie… You know, in the beginning he wants to learn piano, he’s got his money, and he wants to sleep with this girl and that girl, and he’s about the notoriety, and he’s living that life and getting to be amazing every day and never having to worry about tomorrow. You know, when you don’t have to worry about tomorrow, you get to be who you want to be, sleep with who you want to sleep with, spend what you want to spend, and not worry about it.
After he does that time and time again, and day after day, he starts to realize what the real purpose of life is, which is not consuming everything for yourself but to help others. When he starts to give his money away, or wants to go and save this guy, or be there to save that kid. His time is filled with service to others.
Somebody said to me once our lives are like a blank book, and this book is filled with blank pages, and every day is a page. Every day you get to decide what you’re going to write on that page, and whatever you write on that page is that page, and that’s it. Once you turn that page, that’s it. So let’s decide how we want to spend our days. You only have so much room to fit on that page, and so in this movie, in Groundhog Day, it hit me the other day, I was like, at the end, it’s being a service to other people that really was how he wanted to spend his time and his days.
Hearing you say that makes me feel like I would pay attention to that aspect more right now, too, because I feel like that’s exactly what our world needs more of at this moment.
Right, well, I think, even people who aren’t spiritual, if you talk to just your regular run-of-the-mill therapist, everybody will encourage people to give back. You give back, give back. Donate at your charity, donate your time, just give back. It just enriches your life in ways that it’s hard to explain, but you just have to do it. You have to have an element in your life where you’re giving back and you’re in service to other people.
I’m a fan of this. Now it makes me want to go back and watch the movie again, so thank you.
Yeah, you’re welcome.
Forrest Gump. That is the longest movie ever, but I will watch it as Forrest is learning how to walk, when his braces fall off of him; when he’s like, going through the swampy puddles of Vietnam; when he’s like, ping-ponging through China. I could watch that movie on Netflix or throw on a DVD, but I’ll end up sitting eight hours, watching it through commercials. I’m sitting there, like, “This is a lot, but I can’t leave. Forrest Gump is on!” “Yeah, you can watch it any time that you want.” “I know, but I’m gonna sit here through these commercials and watch Forrest Gump.” It is like the longest movie ever and becomes the longest movie ever when you sit there through commercials, but I’ll sit there through every stage of Forrest’s life. I will be there.
It kind of feels like it needs no explanation because it’s Forrest Gump. I mean, there are so many stories in one, and it’s just so beautiful. You have a man who lives his life with only love and loyalty, loyalty for the ones he loves, and that’s what drives him. It’s so beautiful to watch how that all unfolds. That part at the end when he goes and he sees Jenny after all that time, back there towards the end, and then he’s this little boy and he’s like, “Is he smart or is he…” She’s like, “No, he’s really smart.” Then he goes and sits down next to him — which is a little, tiny Haley Joel Osment — but then they’re both watching the cartoons, and then they both turn their head and tilt it, and it’s just…
It’s such a beautiful story, because at the end, you know, Jenny’s finally kind of gone through a life and exorcised all of her demons. She goes through this whole thing in her life, where she has this little boy, and only through love and wanting to take care of her child does she get her life together and reach back out to Forrest.
It’s so beautiful at the end. She finally is there, but they don’t get much time together because she’s sick. Then at the end he’s got his little boy with him, and it’s just such a beautiful… It’s such a beautiful movie, and story, and you really feel like you’re with him through all these different stages of his life. The one thing that never changes is his heart. He never gets jaded like the rest of us. The rest of us in the world, we get jaded, we get hardened. Not “we,” but there’s a lot of people who go through the world and feel like they’ve been hurt, they’ve been betrayed, they’ve been beaten down, and so they’re allowed to live life angry, and you just have to give them a big old pass on being upset and angry, but that’s just the story we tell ourselves. S— happens to everybody, and a lot of s— happened to Forrest, but his heart never changed. I think that’s a beautiful story and something we can all take with us.
Bridesmaids. It is hands-down… That’s like the funniest movie that I’ve seen in a very long time. Girls Trip was really funny the other day. I loved that; I saw Girls Trip in my hotel room. Bridesmaids, I remember laughing out loud in the theater, like dying laughing over it. I mean, to watch how all of the actors interact, and the improv, and I love that they interact the way that my girlfriends and I interact. There’s a specific realness to it that I thought was depicted so well and I loved it so much. And I mean, we get to watch Melissa McCarthy in her Academy Award Nominated performance. I mean, she’s genius, she’s brilliant, and Kristen Wiig — all of them, every single actor in that movie is brilliant. I just loved that movie.
Maya Rudolph almost made taking a dump in the middle of the street classy.
Oh, I know! Oh my God, when she did that, I screamed. I was like, “This is the best.” I was howling in the theater. It was the funniest freaking moment. And then she does the thing where she sits down, and she tells the van, like, “Go over. Keep driving.” That moment you know where she’s like, “Ugh.” At that moment, even her shame was s— out of her. She’s like, “I have no more shame. I have nothing. Just keep going. Just move along.”
It’s a newer one, but John Wick or John Wick 2. I’m obsessed. I’m obsessed. I grew up doing martial arts, and I know that Keanu did all of his own fight scenes in it, and then I was working on Predator when I watched John Wick 2, and… I have a gun in Predator, and they were teaching me how to do certain things, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh! Keanu did this really cool thing. Teach me how to do it!” I love… Like, back in the day in kung fu movies, they filmed the fight scenes in wide angles so you get to see everybody doing it, but nowadays, everything’s like cut, cut, edit, edit, close-up of this, close-up of that. But we actually got to see Keanu in these wide shots because he’s doing his own stunts, and he’s kicking ass, and he’s amazing in it.
I just love that, and I feel like we don’t get enough of that in American cinema anymore, or actually ever. You have to go back to, like, old kung fu movies and stuff. I just love watching that movie and the action of that. It’s a good one.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie opens everywhere Friday, September 22.