Born in Sarasota, Florida to an Italian orthodontist and an English-Irish Bohemian, Gugino spent her youth as a bicoastal traveller; sharing time between Tepees in California and summers in Europe. Keenly savvy to the ways of the world, Gugino emancipated herself at the tender age of sixteen and never looked back for a second.
Carla Gugino has had the world wrapped around her little finger for quite some time now.
With a formidable wit and an unapologetic sensuality, Gugino oozes the type of confidence you only dream about claiming. She’s been gracing the small and silver screens for the better half of two decades, appearing in everything from Spy Kids, Sin City and Sucker Punch to Entourage and Californication.
This year however, her focus for the past three months has been on shooting San Andreas, the action packed environmental thriller, set in San Andreas California, but shot on location in Broadbeach, Queensland.
“It was a really huge part of the experience. All of us absolutely fell in love with our Australian crew, which was just spectacular. It’s funny because I have so many Aussie friends and I’ve always wanted to go and when I finally arrived, I felt weirdly like I had arrived home”.
Talking to Gugino, it’s not hard to imagine her finding comfort in any situation. Her laid back assurance makes her easily malleable and effortlessly adaptable. A resilient force, Gugino accepted the challenge of her latest role early on, enacting all her own stunts from start to finish.
“I did more stunts than I’ve ever done before and that was really interesting. Working along side the stunt team, you realise that you have to trust implicitly and without that trust you can’t do what you need to do. I would say that was a huge part of this movie for me”.
Filmmaking for Gugino is a collaborative process, a combination of minds coming together with a common goal, each injecting the project with a slice of a vision, without which, the film could not be complete.
The parts of this film, that Gugino found most significant, were not the action filled scenes of the post-apocalyptic level disaster, but the underlying narrative of a broken family brought together by disaster.
Although the sadness of reconnection through devastation is not lost of Gugino, she admits it is often only in these cases, that people find each other and what they consider to be important, again.
“I lived in New York during 9/11 and I used to be able to see the Twin Towers out of my windows. One morning, I looked out and they were gone. I just remember calling my best friend and I went and got her. All I remember is just needing to be with the people I loved. All those little inconsequential details didn’t matter and that’s where you realised the brevity of life, and it’s the smallest moments that you often missed – that can mean the most”.
Finding hope in a place where there is no room left for anything but the truth, is something Gugino related to in this script.
“I also think that women in particular – we live a lot in our emotions and human connection and so- it’s nice to have a bit of that, which was a beautiful challenge as an actor, being able to play all of that in a movie like this.”
While the silver screen was her calling card “because [she] was a west coast girl”, the stage is where Gugino finds solace.
Her first play on Broadway was later in her acting career. At 28 she stared in Arthur Miller’s After The Fall, arguably the author’s most mature and harrowingly personal endeavour.
“He [Arthur Miller] was still alive then, which was extraordinary. It changed my life and what I wanted to do with my career and everything. I’m interested in being a transitional actor, someone who isn’t just known for one thing, and the stage was where I found those roles”.
Fitting in stage performances with her other acting commitments has been difficult, but while she enjoys the focus of a single project, Gugino struggles to find the time. Truly one of her deepest loves, theatre is where her heart lies, where she will return to every time.
“I would die happy if my last breath was taken on stage”.
San Andreas out now in cinemas and also stars Dwayne Johnson.