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Mad Men's Jon Hamm has an extended cameo, playing two roles: a high-rolling patron who frequents the cabaret in the fantasy of Babydoll (Emily Browning), and a doctor who specializes in performing lobotomies. Those who see Sucker Punch may wonder if some of Hamm's scenes were left on the cutting-room floor — and Snyder confirms that there was indeed one more sequence with the actor, excised from the final act (lobotomized, if you will) in order to secure a PG-13 rating. What happens in the scene? He told us... but it would spoil wayyy too much. But yes, an R-rated director's-cut DVD is indeed in the works.
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Sucker Punch may look like it gets salacious kicks from women in titillating getups, but Snyder says his intention was to make a movie about the very subject of female objectification. The look of Babydoll (Emily Browning) was designed to be ''the personification of innocence and vulnerability,'' says Snyder, causing the skeevy men in the movie to both target her and underestimate her. ''The women in the movie take control of the sexual trappings foisted upon them, even turn [that iconography] into their own weapons. The challenge was to confront the concept of exploitation of women without creating exploitative imagery. My approach was to shoot the action the way I'd shoot any kind of action in any film, whether the subject was male or female.''
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Vanessa Hudgens plays Blondie, insecure yet individualistic, and quite handy with a machine gun. Catchphrase: ''Eat lead, you ugly motherf---ers!''
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Already in theaters with one film (Limitless starring Bradley Cooper), Abbie Cornish plays Sweet Pea, the cautious, overprotective elder gal of the bunch. Key line: ''I'm here to keep you from getting killed.''
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In an impressive change of pace from the indie dramas she's known for, Jena Malone plays Rocket, Sweet Pea's rebellious, heroic little sister and Babydoll's first friend inside Lennox House. Key line: ''We weren't exactly the sweet little girls Mom wanted.''
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Jamie Chung plays Amber, the resident pilot in the female fighting unit. Snyder says the actress wished she could have had more punching and fighting in the film — but at least she gets to drive the film's best toy: a giant, flying ''Meka'' robot/fighting machine. Key line: ''Like it.''
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In addition to orcs (pictured), the movie also includes giant demon samurai soldiers with machine guns. ''Originally, there were just going to be 30 regular samurai guys,'' says Snyder. ''But then I thought: 'What if they were 10 feet tall, just to accentuate the height difference with Emily? And what if one of them had a machine gun? And what if every shell casing was engraved with awesomely ornate Japanese symbols that you can barely see, but are totally there if you squint? And what if...' It got more crazy-insane from there — and cooler, too.''
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The women inside Lennox House are taught by a peculiar shrink named Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) to survive its soul-killing, mind-destroying horrors by using fantasy to transform their experience. Most of the movie takes place within Babydoll's imagination — in her mind, the mental institution/prison is a Moulin Rouge-esque cabaret where enslaved courtesans dance for skuzzy, well-paying men. The fantasy, then, serves as an allegorical representation of her ordeal — and her bid to escape. Says Snyder: ''I'm interested in the theme of freedom — from guilt, pain, control. The fact that the movie is set in a prison — well, you're halfway there in terms of bringing that theme to life.''
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Scott Glenn plays a wise man who keeps popping up in Babydoll's fantasy to tell her ''one more thing'' that helps her in her prison break — hence his official character name, ''The Wise Man.'' Key line: ''Don't ever write a check with your mouth that you can't cash with your ass.'' Yep, a man's kind of wisdom, all right.
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Did we mention Sucker Punch also includes steampunk zombie German soldiers circa WWI? It does! Why not ordinary flesh-and-blood German soldiers circa WWI? Because he was aiming for a PG-13, ''I had to find a way to kill these German soldiers without them being alive,'' says Snyder. ''So I thought: What if they were, like, mechanized, and when you hit them, steam came out of them instead of blood? It's like the stormtroopers in Star Wars. There were people in those costumes, and they got mowed down left and right in those movies! I guess anonymity is the trick.''