There’s a lot of things Mila Kunis liked about filming her new action comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me but the most heavenly part of the experience for her by far was what she was allowed to slip on her feet.
Glorious flat shoes, often of the sneaker variety, which allowed her to dash through the streets of Budapest, Prague and Berlin while filming a sequence of nail-biting stunts and manoeuvres for the flick without once having to fall foul of the footwear curse that has plagued Hollywood actresses for decades.
That is, having to always run for your life with the knowledge you’re much more likely to be brought down by your spindly stiletto heels than the bad guys pursuing you.
The 34-year-old actress spent months in various European cities filming the action adventure film alongside co-star, Kate McKinnon and with husband, Ashton Kutcher, and children Wyatt and Dimitri in tow.
And although it sounds like she may have feared for her life at some points during the production, the end result was certainly worth the wait, because this is a film bursting with energy, wit and humour.
The Spy Who Dumped Me tells the story of Audrey (Kunis) and Morgan (McKinnon), two best friends who become entangled in an international conspiracy when Audrey discovers the guy who just dumped her was actually a spy and involved in a whole lot of bad stuff.
“The great thing about filming this movie is we didn’t have to be good at anything,” Mila told Mamamia. “We could just run around and have things blow up around us.
“There’s this car sequence in the movie that was incredible to film because the guy who was driving the car was actually in a cage wearing a helmet but Kate and I were just belted into the car. We were tossed around the whole time and it was really crazy but actually pretty scary.
“And, I got to wear flats the whole time! For almost the whole film I am in sneakers.
“It’s realistic because Audrey works in a grocery store and Susanna (Fogel, the director and co-writer) had a vision that that outfit she would be seen in (for the first half of the film) would be based off a big grocery store chain we have here in the states and it was very realistic in that sense.”
It was the action and the humour weaved throughout the script that drew Mila to take on the role of Audrey, along with the fact that her character was not one who would just hang off the arm of a man for the entire duration of the story-line.
She does however get to shoot a man (more than once) so there’s always that.
“The idea of doing a fun, smart spy movie was something I really wanted to do,” she said. “The one thing I didn’t want to do was play eye candy for someone else in that situation.
“So when The Spy Who Dumped Me came along and it was an adventure with two best friends in a crazy situation, written by a women and co-directed by a woman, I thought it was an incredible opportunity to do something different.”
Despite her stunt training and the fact that she has survived more than two decades in the dangerous jungle that is Hollywood, Mila holds out no hope that if it actually came down to it she would have any chance of staying alive in a world of spies, espionage and life or death.
“I would do way worse than my character does in the film if that happened to me,” she said. “I mean, sometimes I looked at the choices she made in the film and thought ‘I could really do that’ but I could also never jump from rooftop to rooftop or anything.”
One thing she does know for certain however, is who she would want with her in the event she ever did get pulled into an international conspiracy and have to go on the run for her life.
When I asked her to tell me, out of anyone she’s ever worked with, who she would want by her side in a situation like that only one name immediately sprang to her mind.
“Ashton Kutcher,”she answered before I could even finish asking the question. “Because he’s my husband. We would just kick-ass together. Just think of it like this, if life was an episode of The Amazing Race we would be having the best time together. I’d only want him.”
While her chemistry off-screen is with Ashton, who she married in 2015 and first met while filming That 70’s Show when she was a teenager, on-screen it was all about the dynamic between her and Kate McKinnon.
The chemistry between the two actresses vibrates off the screen at all times and according to Mila you just can't fake that kind of a relationship.
"We really did get lucky because you never know what you are going to get," she said. "You can’t work on building chemistry, you either have it or you don’t and sometimes it fails. Kate and I genuinely got each other, but working to build a relationship (just for a movie) is not a feasible feat.
"And, this didn’t jump out at me until after we finished the film, but when I first saw it I thought 'oh, look at that, these characters are not at each other's throats and they’re not catty to each other. They’re just humans and friends'."
Now, this is the part of the interview where I had to ask broach the topic that inevitably comes up whenever a female-led film is headlining the discussion. That is, a definitive answer to the question of where this film and these roles fit into the evolving and often troubling spectrum of women on film.
It may sound tedious, but in many cases it is still relevant because even though we keep hearing it proclaimed "it's such a great time for women in film" the stats actually tell a very different story.
According to Variety, in 2017 only 33 of the top 100 grossing films had a woman in a lead or co-leading role. While a deep dive into the 1100 highest grossing films from 2007 to 2017 show that women (along with minorities) rarely grace the big screen.
So in the final moments of our conversation I asked Mila where The Spy Who Dumped Me fits into this narrative. Is there a deeper meaning and takeaway here for female audiences, considering that the film features two women in the lead roles?
There was a long pause before she answered.
“I honestly just want people to see it as a funny movie," she replied. "I don’t think people look at Lethal Weapon or Men in Black and say, 'oh, look! Two men in a comedy!'."
"So I would like people to see the movie for what it is. It’s two people on a crazy adventure together, regardless of their genitalia.
"Also, I have got to be honest with you here, to me putting this movie into just one closet is doing the movie such an injustice.
"The one thing I want people to take away from the movie is that it’s super funny and the action is phenomenal."
So even though the statistics can tell a somber story, Mila is right that continually placing that narrative alongside movies like The Spy Who Dumped Me is doing an injustice to the films that should be able to stand alone.
It's just a movie packed with action and laughs (and flat shoes) and maybe for today that's all it needs to be.
The Spy Who Dumped Me will open in cinemas Australia wide on Thursday 9 August. It is rated MA15+.
For more TV and movie recommendations you can follow writer and Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.