The story of a post-apocalyptic Earth, and the people who have survived, will be a familiar one for fans of sci-fi — and Oblivion's twists hit all the familiar (and classic) tropes. What sets the movie apart, besides the sweeping M83 score, is the gorgeous set design and the fact that the audience has a relatable, humanistic character in Kurlyenko, who is just as wide-eyed as they are. The former model — who was every bit as gorgeous and gracious in real life as she appears in film — spoke to Refinery29 about true love, and how her true protector on the set of Oblivion was Mr. Cruise, himself. Also, for the record, she would probably be a good person to have along when the world ends. (She'd like to think so, too.)
Please note this interview contains minor spoilers.
This movie brings up a lot of questions about the nature of love. Can you talk to us about what it means when the person you care about may be different from what you expect?
"It's hard. I imagine if the person I love isn't the actual person but he looks exactly like him and thinks like him, what's the difference? The difference is only in the mind...but I don't think I could walk away if someone told me that this person wasn't exactly who I thought they were, even though nothing physically would tell me otherwise. Just the fact of "knowing" there was a fundamental change wouldn't make me walk away. If I loved a person, I'd be right there with them, no matter what they are."
How was it working with one of the most recognizable and famous actors in the world? Did you have any preconceived notions going into it, and if so, what were they? How did they change?
"I usually don't have any preconceived notions unless I know someone who's a good friend of theirs. I didn't know Tom (Cruise) before, nor did I know anyone who knew him personally. All I knew was that he was this amazing actor and a big star. For me, it was like, 'Oh my God!' I was so nervous, but he was so cool and relaxed when I met him, and incredibly welcoming. He's so normal. He doesn't make you feel like you're talking to a star. He's very real, very human. That put me at ease right away. Working with him was great. He's so helpful and supportive and he takes care of the crew. Apart from that he's an amazing actor."
Do you think you would be able to survive the apocalypse? If so, what would you want to bring with you?
"I would do my best to survive, that's for sure. The most important thing for me to bring would be a human. If I were by myself, I wouldn't want to survive, because what would I be doing? There would be a reason I survived if I was there with another human."
If you had one beauty product to bring with you into the dark, what would it be?
"I'd bring a moisturizer. If my skin gets dry, I could use something glossy for everything. I could even moisturize my hair."
Oblivion is currently in theaters.
Photo: Courtesy Stewart Cook/Rex USA.