What’s your new movie Julia about?
Julia is about a girl who has something very traumatic happen to her at the beginning of the movie. She falls prey to a very unorthodox type of therapy that has her trying to take control back in her life. There are a set of rules that her therapist wants her to abide by, and she goes on this crazy journey of awakening to find her true self.
That sounds relatively normal, while the poster for the film does not look it.
It’s not scary, it’s more horrifying. It’s a very stylized dark gritty film. Some of the things she does as part of her therapy are evil. It’s all in the process she has to go through to feel empowered and take control back into her life. The poster equates it more with horror and it’s a little bit of the marketing. It makes it look scarier than it is, but it’s definitely dark.
How did you describe it to friends and family?
Just that I was in a movie. I said that our characters were conjoined by a crazy person. I didn’t say how or where. My parents were pretty supportive. They were just proud I was in a movie. I didn’t tell anyone else until after I had finished the film. Then they were like, What the fuck did you do?
Are you a fan of horror movies?
I didn’t used to be. I grew up on The Shining — it’s one of my favourite movies. I like paranormal movies with ghosts. That’s what scares me. Since I’ve been lulled into the horror genre, I started watching more movies.
Do you have a favourite scream queen?
Not really. I was never attracted to the scream queen aspect of horror movies.
Is it because they die so quickly?
Possibly! I was more interested in the women who fought and survived. The victims were never interesting.
Your first horror movie was The Human Centipede. I’m really curious what your first thoughts were when reading the script.
[Laughs.] That’s a whole different story. There was no script, no booklet of any kind. When I went in for an audition, the director handed me a piece of paper with a drawing of the human centipede using stick figures and a line going through it.
He asked, Are you easily shocked? The whole team was sitting right there. I didn’t have time to process it alone. Usually you get a script and read it alone before giving an answer.
I said, No, of course not! And he went into this long passionate spiel about this amazing unique concept. I guess I have a weird personality; things like this excite me. It’s a disgusting concept but it’s so original. I was going to be able to put myself in a position no one else has ever been in. It was a cool challenge to figure out how to communicate with just my eyes. They were looking for someone with balls who would take it the extra mile. I was excited to be chosen.
What were your first thoughts when reading over the script?
I couldn’t stop reading it. That’s very rare with a script. Every page had something that grabbed me and took me on this journey. The character I was drawn to the most was Julia because I could relate to a lot of the internal emotional aspects of her. I knew I could pull it off. I knew it would be a stunning film.
Your list of movie credits are mostly horror movies. Is that what you’d like to be known for?
It’s honestly by accident. I’m not seeking them out. I think what happened was the first film I ever did was a horror film and that launched me into the genre. I started booking those movies. Julia fell into my lap because of that, but I was looking for something that as a lead I could pull off and show people what I was capable of. I don’t want to stay in the genre, I’m open to branching out into lighter material.
Do you have any phobias?
I have a big thing with not being able to breathe. If I’m underwater or in a small space, I get a little freaked out. My sister used to smother me with pillows when I was little. I got really scared. I don’t know if that’s the reason why.
Sounds like it probably is. You mentioned early that you’d like to work on lighter projects. Do you mean something like a rom-com?
For sure! My family keeps asking me when I’m going to do something that they can actually sit through. They think I’m hilarious — I don’t know why — and they can’t wait to see me in a comedy. I just have to wait and see what comes. I can go there, I just need the opportunity.
Dream romcom co-star?
I don’t know why but Jason Bateman or Paul Rud come to mind immediately. They’d be so great.