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Ariana Greenblatt On Adam Driver And Their New Sci-Fi Venture, 65 - Exclusive Interview

Ariana Greenblatt is a pro at navigating sci-fi entities that want to kill her. Between her stint as young Gamora dealing with megalomaniac Thanos and starring alongside Dylan O'Brien in "Love and Monsters," Greenblatt is more than familiar with running for her life. Naturally, there was no other choice than Greenblatt for the role of Koa in "65."

Greenblatt stars alongside Adam Driver in this mashup between history and sci-fi that poses the question, what would happen if an interplanetary astronaut discovered Earth 65 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the planet? While humans are a long way from existing on Earth during the film's events, not all of the universe's planets are prehistoric. Driver and Greenblatt take center stage for most of the movie — though their characters speak different languages, making communication a complicated hurdle for the characters and actors alike.

Greenblatt exclusively spoke to Looper about sharing a sense of humor with Driver, befriending his dog, and the nuances of her on-screen communication with Driver's character, Mills, in "65." She also went down sci-fi memory lane to uncover why extraterrestrial beings always try to kill her characters.

Befriending Adam Driver (and his dog)

Most of the film is just you and Adam Driver. What was it like getting to work with him so closely? Did you learn anything from him about acting or life in general?

I've loved Adam's work for a long time. I think he's brilliant, as many people would agree. Working with him, especially one-on-one every day, was really nerve-wracking and intimidating. But we got into the hang of it, and we definitely bonded with the weather conditions that we were living in for a while. Adam and I have a very similar sense of humor, so anytime we saw a little light in the situation, we'd make a sarcastic joke together. I learned a lot from him. He doesn't even know, but I would watch and observe him do his thing, and it was so crazy to watch how he does it and how he fully commits. He's in it to win it, and that's definitely something I took away from filming that.

Is there anything that you can remember specifically, joke-wise?

He would call me Greenblatt only. I don't remember him ever calling me Ariana. He would say, "Hey, Greenblatt." Like, "Oh, hey, Driver, what's up?" And towards the end of filming ... My mom and I like crocheting. We crochet. We're like little grandmas together. We make blankets a lot of the time. So we made him a wrap gift, and it was this big blanket, and we gave it to him.

Another thing is we baked him cookies once because we're in the rain, we're in the mud, we're screaming, we're crying, and we're almost breaking bones. A lot's going on. So I was like, "Let's make his day with some cookies." And he was like, "Ariana, why are you so nice?" I was like, "Look, man, we got to do this. We're going to do this together. It's just us two, and we got to kill it." 

He also would bring his dog to set all the time, and his dog is like my best friend ever. That's a good memory for sure.

Communicating with Adam Driver's character, Mills

There's a cool component of this film where your character and [Mills] have to figure out how to communicate. Did that make the role challenging? And did you and Adam talk about the small ways that your characters would be able to connect and communicate?

For sure. This was my first time doing a film where I couldn't fully communicate with the person I'm acting with. It was definitely a challenge initially, but I ended up enjoying the process [of] creating the language but also finding ways to communicate with him just by looking at him or [using] body language or hand signals. We found any way that we could communicate with each other, and we went with it.

I also think there [are] really sweet moments where, because they can't fully have a conversation, whenever they'd get frustrated with each other, they would give each other these funny looks. One of the best parts of the film is the personality coming out when they annoy each other but they can't say it, so they show it in some weird way. I collaborated [on] the language aspect with the directors, and then Adam and I just went with the flow when it came to communicating with each other and trying to show what we're thinking just through our eyes. It was definitely interesting.

A common target for extraterrestrial foes

A good chunk of your work has been in the sci-fi genre, from this role to playing young Gamora and your role in "Love and Monsters." What do you love so much about these roles? And what draws you to these stories where your character is escaping under extraordinary circumstances?

Something about my face or how I walk and talk and move makes people want to put me in a situation where there's some extraterrestrial being trying to kill me. I guess it's a pattern in what people are drawn towards me for, and I'm like, "Okay, great." If it's a challenge, I'm up for it. Whatever it might be, put me in it.

It's fun to play around with your environment and what you're facing. There [are] so many different ways you can portray a person that's trying to survive. They're either human, or they're alien and they have so many other layers going on with them. My favorite part is, through the chaos of surviving or the chaos of whatever you might be going through, trying to personalize and individualize the character to either have a bond or get to know the character's important aspect.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

"65" will be released exclusively in theaters on March 10.