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Carla Gugino on ‘Gunpowder Milkshake’ and the 20th Anniversary of ‘Spy Kids’

Gunpowder Milkshake. Michelle Yeoh as Florence,
REINER BAJO/STUDIOCANAL © 2021

Carla Gugino may have done a lot of action work in two of her latest projects — the series “Jett” (now on HBO Max) and the Netflix movie “Gunpowder Milkshake” — but she’s happy to report that she made it through both productions uninjured. But a day off from filming the upcoming “Leopard Skin” in the Dominican Republic earlier this year proved catastrophic.

“I went on this amazing hike and I  was coming down a hill and I broke my wrist really badly,” Gugino tells me from her home in New York City. “I broke all the bones all the way across and then had a bunch of complications because I had to have a bonesetter on. It made me look like RoboCop, but it was a massive metal thing that was literally drilled into my bones that I had to have on for seven weeks. Then it didn’t heal because the bone was pulled too far apart, so I had to have a second surgery seven weeks ago. I now am bionic.”

In “Gunpowder Milkshake,” Gugino plays Madeleine, a member of a group of female assassins, including Karen Gillan, Angela Bassett, Lena Headey and Michelle Yeoh, trying save a young girl from a deadly crime syndicate. “None of the women had ever worked with each other,” says Gugino, adding, “it definitely was absolutely a big part of the lure to do it. It was like, ‘Wow, this a group of amazing women who are going to come together to kind of play.’ One of the things I found that, besides this being a hugely entertaining film, is also there is this sense of found family.”

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This year marks the 20th anniversary of “Spy Kids,” the first film in Robert Rodriguez’s four-movie family-friendly franchise. Gugino and Antonio Banderas played retired spies raising their kids (Alexa PenaVega and Daryl Sabara) when they’d asked to go on another mission. “What’s particularly strange about the ‘Spy Kids’ of it all is I was so young when I did it,” Gugino says. “I was at least ten years too young for the role because I was supposed to have been a spy for ten years, then had two children who were now 10 and 12. I was 28 years old. But Robert kind of said, ‘My mom had ten kids and if we play this right, no one will ever question it.’ I think it only hurt me a little because people did think I was older than I was for a period of time. But I would never have given up that experience. It was such an extraordinary time. It was just this little tiny movie we made alone in Austin and it became a phenomenon that continues.”

Gugino doesn’t think a fifth movie will be made anytime soon. “You know, I think Robert has moved on. I actually just saw him recently and we always want to collaborate. I think he did four of them and that was sort of right,” she says.

Still on Gugino’s bucket list is starring in a stage production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” She says, “I just want to keep doing things that scare the shit out of me.”