The girl next door is more than just a pretty face. Jane Levy broke onto the scene a few years ago with a starring role in the ABC sitcom "Suburgatory," which ran for three seasons before not being renewed. Did she follow that up with a rom-com? Nah, we saw her turn in an eye-bugging, bile-spewing performance in the EVIL DEAD remake, which was about as far from suburbia as you could get. Now she's going the indie route with ABOUT ALEX, a BIG CHILL-esque tale about a group of old college friends who reunite after one of their own attempts suicide. In the film, Levy plays Kate, the new girlfriend of one of the group's men and the odd-girl-out at this unorthodox reunion. (Check out our interview with another ABOUT ALEX star, Maggie Grace, right HERE.)
I spoke to Levy recently about playing the "new girl" - in the film and in real life - as well as such disparate topics as being scared of serial killers, TV versus film, being recognizable (or not), and the possibility of starring in EVIL DEAD 2 (or not).
Because you and the rest of the cast spend most of the film in one locations, it seems like ABOUT ALEX would be a very intimate movie to make; did you become very close with your co-stars?
Yeah, I did. I hate when people lie and say they loved each other, but we really did; we had so much fun. It was like adult summer camp. We jumped off of rocks into lakes and swam in creeks, and slept with each other - not like that. [Laughs] We were in bunk beds. We hella bonded.
Were you sleeping at the actual location of the film?
No, but Aubrey [Plaza] and I moved in with each other because we were both scared of the woods, and we had a lot of fun. We'd cook dinners and hang out every morning; we'd go to bed and talk about our day and life and boys and TV and everything else.
Were you afraid of the woods because of EVIL DEAD?
No, I've always been afraid of being alone. I'm always convinced there's a serial killer outside of my window, ready to pounce.
I guess it's good to be alert.
I guess so, but it's also so psycho. I'm also crazy when I'm asleep. Like, when I'm half-asleep I become a totally different sleep-human. I should come up with a new name for her, she's very anxious and paranoid. She thinks people are coming to get her.
Maybe you should film yourself at night?
I guess so, it would be like another horror film.
Could you relate to your character at all? Especially her circumstance of being separate from the rest of the group, it's a bit awkward for her.
I'm familiar with the feeling of being the new girl, it has happened to me plenty of times in my life. When I was younger, I wasn't very good at it; I wasn't very good at being outgoing at the beginning. But in this case she's actually excited , because she likes her boyfriend a lot and she wants to be a part of his life, and that means meeting his college friends; she really hopes they like her and that she becomes part of the clan. It doesn't quite go that way, but by the end she realizes she has her shit together more than these people and she should be comfortable with herself.
Do you have a preference, film or TV?
I do really like how you can make a movie in 20 days, or you can make a movie in four months, and there's a beginning and an end, and then a year later there's a wonderful reunion where you get to see all these people you made this wonderful thing with and you get to watch it together. I love that process. TV kind of feels like it just drags on. But there was a lot of amazing stuff about working in television, because it's challenging, you have to find new stuff every time, like a play. You also get to know your co-stars and co-workers so well, and that's wonderful. But there's something really romantic about the arrival and departure of a film. To me, it feels like a novel, whereas TV feels a little more like a magazine, something disposable.
When did you know you wanted to be an actress?
I think I knew from a very young age. I remember being little and always putting on skits for my friends and family, and at school all I wanted to do was be in plays. I was in musical theater from when I was 7 to when I was 13. Then I started to focus on other things, as teenagers do; I started to play soccer. But then when I was 19 I was like, you know what, I hate college, I don't know what the hell I'm doing here, I don't feel excited or inspired, so I'm going to do something else. Then I went to acting school and moved to L.A. and since then I've been working as an actor and I'm really enjoying myself.
So if you weren't acting, can you imagine doing something else?
I can't imagine myself with like a real, normal, steady job. I really can't. [Laughs]
What have the past few years been like, with your star rising and your face becoming recognizable. Has it been a strange transition?
I'm not that recognizable. I mean, every once in a while someone will come up to me and say they love "Suburgatory," or something, or they say they liked EVIL DEAD, and it's really nice. It's not like I'm a super famous person who can't walk around. I'm sure if that happened in a very short amount of time it would be confusing, but for me it's been sort of slow, I mean slow as in a couple years. I'm really excited about what's next for me. I was working on "Suburgatory" and trying to fit movies into the hiatus, which wasn't always easy, but now for the first time, since "Suburgatory" hasn't been picked up, my future is very open. So I'm going to take some time to pick a project that is really interesting to me.
Is there something you're looking forward to doing that you haven't done yet?
Doing a play would be exciting to me, because I haven't been in a play yet. But I'm keeping my eyes and my mind open, so I don't really have a specific goal.
After you did EVIL DEAD I'm sure you were introduced to the wild world of horror fans and conventions. What was that experience like?
It was fun. I'm very fascinated by the genre, and the fans are super "fanny." [Laughs] But I'm not really interested in doing anymore horror movies, I've got to say.
Not even EVIL DEAD 2?
I don't think they're gonna make it. I mean, they're always coming up with a new thing- now I hear they're making a TV show. I was like, what? [Laughs] I think they just like exciting their fans and confusing them. I honestly don't know, but it doesn't seem like there's going to be an EVIL DEAD 2 anytime soon. At least, not with me in it.
What's the best advice anyone has ever given you?
I think the best piece of advice is to trust your instincts. Like, you don't know what you're capable and what you're not, and you know what feels right and what feels wrong. If something really doesn't feel good, don't do it, and if something feels right, go after it no matter what anyone says. As long as you're not hurting anyone along the way.
Is that the advice you'd give to someone who is trying to break into the industry?
Yeah. And also, study. Read a lot of books, read about actors, watch a lot of movies. Maybe take an acting course. Be disciplined and trust your instincts.
What do you do to unwind when you're not working?
Lately I've been gardening and cooking, I've been learning how to cook, which has been nice.
What's your signature dish?
I don't have one yet. I'm not that good that I have a signature dish. There's never been a meal that I've made where I've been like, "Yes, that's the best!" Every time I make something I'm like, "This is what I've learned and I can make it better next time."
Who is your all time celebrity crush?
Well, thank you very much for your time.
ABOUT ALEX is currently available on VOD and can be seen in limited theaters; check out the official site right HERE.