At Midnight’s Monica Barbaro On Dancing, Superhero Films, And Top Gun: Maverick [Exclusive Interview]

Sophie has this really great moment in the film where a young fan says, “I want to be like you, not your superhero character.” It really struck me. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that moment.

Well, that was just a beautiful moment that I think came out of a lot of conversations about empowering this woman and not creating a situation where she’s running out of one guy’s arms and just into the other’s. Not running away from her career and into a life of simply romance or being so career-focused that she can’t have a relationship. 

We had a lot to balance in terms of making her sort of get what she wants in the end, and I think she’s presented this miraculous opportunity [for] what she thought she always wanted, but then also realizing that she’s maybe lost sight of herself in the process. I think the little girl, in a way, represents a person that, she sees herself in her, and that she can look up to herself, and that being just a really empowering moment for her in the end there.

I love that you have a dance background and dance ended up in this movie. Jonah [Feingold, writer/director] told me that it wasn’t in the script to begin with. How did that all happen?

The scene originally was — some music starts, and she goes, “I’m really bad at dancing.” And he’s like, “Me, too.” And I was like, “I’m sure Diego’s good at dancing,” but I wouldn’t have said anything. They found out that I have a dance background, and we talked it out, and they really wanted to lean into this whole dance scene. So we found a choreographer who I’d worked with, and he just did a great job with the original composition from Grant [Fonda]. Desi [Jevon, choreographer] and Grant sort of collaborated really well and, yeah, a lot of rehearsing, and it was a lot of fun. 

There were couple times we rehearsed it pretty heavily before we started shooting, and then we weren’t shooting it until much later in the process. So there were a couple of afternoons where we practiced on a sunset patio, and it was like, “Well, this is beautiful. Can we just film it now?” So yeah, it was really fun. I kind of wonder if we remember it now, if we had to, would we remember the steps? I don’t know.

Leave a Comment