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Ed Skrein On How He Developed The Look And Voice Of His Mona Lisa And The Blood Moon Character - Exclusive

From the moment he first appears on screen, it's hard not to be intrigued by Ed Skrein's "Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon" character, Fuzz. The character, a tattooed New Orleans native, is standing outside a corner store, likely doing something questionable. Yet even though he exists outside the mainstream, Fuzz rarely seems tough or off-putting. Instead, he's a chill dude who's also surprisingly warm and generous. That's especially the case when he meets the movie's title character (Jun Jong Seo), a young woman who has just escaped from a mental hospital. Fuzz interprets the straight jacket she's wearing as a fashion statement, and between that and her odd demeanor, decides she's supposed to be part of his life.

In a conversation with Looper, Skrein made it clear that creating and playing Fuzz was a joyful and artistically fulfilling experience. In collaboration with "Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon" writer and director Ana Lily Amirpour, Skrein has created a fully realized, remarkably unique individual where every detail, including the character's look and voice, was deeply considered. Skrein described exactly how the pair came up with the style and sound of Fuzz.

'We really expressed ourselves through Fuzz'

To bring his "Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon" character to life, Ed Skrein had to stray from his native English accent. "[Fuzz is] written as street New Orleans, so we knew he was going to [sound like] Louisiana and New Orleans, [which is] in some ways a city like London," Skrein observed. "What is London as an accent? If you look at the intricacies and nuances, every accent is different [in] these international places with a lot of influence."

Thankfully, Ana Lily Amirpour found the perfect inspiration for Skrein in a New Orleans local who worked on the production. "Ana Lily had this street casting guy called Brett, and she said to me, 'You know what? There's this guy and I feel like his voice is Fuzz's voice.' I said, 'Yeah? Let me get a recording,'" Skrein recalled. "We got him to record some Charles Bukowski poems, and he sent over this stuff and I was in love with this voice. It's uncanny when I listened back to the recordings — we really did copy his voice ... I met up with him and it was the most surreal thing to be speaking to this guy who I've been studying his intonation and audio frequencies in such depth. He's not Fuzz, but his voice is Fuzz. It is really interesting."

Meanwhile, Amirpour and Skrein put their heads together to come up with Fuzz's singular look, a memory Skrein looks back at with great fondness. "In terms of the style and the look, that was a collaboration. [Amirpour] had ideas, but there was this whirlwind costume fitting that I did where I went in the first night and it was electric," Skrein shared. "We were trying everything on, putting on the candy ring. I'm like, 'Give me those chokers.' We're trying on all these glasses ... We had that amethyst earring hanging down. We really expressed ourselves through Fuzz in every way. We had a lot of fun. We love Fuzz, man. Me and Ana Lily, we're trying to be more like him."

"Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon" is available in theaters, on digital, and on demand.