Texas-born beauty Kirby Bliss Blanton has been acting since she was a teenager, having appeared in shows like Zoey 101, Unfabulous and Hannah Montana. Since those years, she's moved on to more adult fare, such as the serial killer thriller SCAR, the 2012 sex comedy PROJECT X and, most recently, Eli Roth's gorefest THE GREEN INFERNO, in which Blanton played the member of a group of American activists who find themselves at the mercy of a cannibalistic tribe in the Amazon. That film hit theaters for a brief run back in September and is sharpening its knives for a home video release in early January.
I spoke to Ms. Blanton about shooting the perilous splatterfest, as well as her days on the tween sitcoms, getting away from the blood-and-guts genre, and her wish to be in a Kill Bill prequel.
I know you started acting at an early age; was it something you always knew you wanted to do?
I started doing some small town commercial work and print work, and I just really loved it. I remember telling my mom when she would pick me up, "I could do that all day, every day!" I remember having a conversation with her about how people can get paid to do that and I thought, really?! I was just determined at a very young age, I was like twelve and I knew what I wanted to do. My mom always said the minute it's not fun anymore, I should quit, but it's still fun.
You were in a few tween shows, on Disney and Nickelodeon; what were those experiences like, did you learn from them?
Yeah, I think when you're that age those are really good jumping off points. If you can just get a day role on one of those shows, that would be great. That was just me getting my feet wet, and I'm very thankful for those experiences. It taught me how to be on set, how to have a work ethic.
Are those tough sets to be on when you're a kid, because you always hear rumors that they can be a bit grueling when you're that age.
I would go to set school, and some teachers would be really cool, and some would be really, really strict. At that point you just want to be a kid, and you're already working, and when you're not working they're making you do school work, and sometimes when you were done with your school work they were like, "No, we have to play educational games now." I just wanted to roam around and be a part of everything and learn from the set, but they were like, "Nope, get back to school."
At least it didn't dissuade you from acting.
No, not at all. At one point I decided I was done with the Disney stuff and I starred in a creepy horror film when I was 16 and I felt so accomplished when I got back from Canada, like, "I'm a real actor." I cried on screen for like two weeks, and at that point I wanted to do more serious stuff, more dramatic stuff and grow up a little bit. I didn't want to do the tween stuff anymore.
Safe to say The Green Inferno couldn't be further away from that stuff. How was that movie first introduced to you?
I was excited and nervous. Even when I auditioned I was thinking I didn't want to put myself too far into this horror genre and never be able to get out of it. I loved Eli Roth and we didn't get to read the script at all, we just kind of knew what it was about. After I finally got to meet Eli he said, "This is going to be more gross than anything I've ever done. We're literally going to go to the middle of a village and you're going to have to poop in a jungle, can you do that?" And I said, "Yep, I can do that." It was harder than any of us expected, and even Eli will say there were times when he'd say, "I can't believe I got all of us into this." It was very dramatic, actually, very intense.
You mentioned being worried about doing too many horror movies; is that something you want to try to avoid, being typecast as a horror actress?
I've done a few of them, but they're more thrillers than horror. The things I've got coming up are more thrillers; I mean, you can't top an Eli Roth movie horror-wise. I might have made it to the tippy-top in that genre. I just want to challenge myself in other ways, go into other experiences. I love doing it, but I think I've got the whole covered in blood and screaming thing down, I think I want to move on to other things. I love action movies, love doing stunts, so I want to move into that more. I also love comedies, so I want to be able to do more of them too.
Are there any other actors or directors you really want to work with?
I really want to work with Quentin, obviously, so that would be great. I always joked with Eli that I want to do the Kill Bill prequel, be Uma when she was younger. But it's always about the script, and who you vibe with. The reason I liked working with Eli so much was that, after he worked with Quentin as an actor, he's now a real actor's director. Working with him was just super easy and fun. I'd love to work with another person like that, who's very hands-on and knows how to take care of their actors first and foremost.
What's your favorite thing about being an actress?
Oh, god. Well, one of the best and worst things about being in touch with your emotions is I say exactly how I feel whenever I feel it. So that's great because it's honest, but it can be a downfall at times. I live a very fortunate life, it's a pretty great gig. I love doing what I do and I can't complain about much. The only thing that sucks is when you're not working, that can be really tough. But I wouldn't put up with the stress and drama of it if I didn't really love it.
Have you ever googled yourself?
Yes, I have. I'm not going to lie about that. A lot of old pictures that I really hate seeing. There are close-ups from Project X that creepers found of the wet t-shirt scene. Stuff from Hannah Montana, it's all over the place. I get excited when I find a photo of myself that really looks like me, because it's hard not to be super critical of yourself. I read the interviews that I've done, just to make sure I don't sound crazy or being taken out of context. I stick to Twitter and Instagram for stuff like that. Anything can be posted on the internet, you never know how truthful it is. It's a fun game to play though, especially with some of my friends who are more successful, I read something and I'm like, "That's not even true." The whole press and promotional side of acting is a whole other skill in itself. At times you're not prepared for it. Everything you say will be written down and can be taken out of context, so you have to be careful what you say.
I promise I'll be accurate with my article. By the way, who is your all-time celebrity crush?
Oh, god! I think I'm going to say Liam Hemsworth, because I've met him a couple of times and I've geeked out. I'm like, "Oh my god, you're so beautiful." [Laughs] He's a good looking man. He and Charlie Hunnam are two of my favorites, and they look a little similar, so I think I have a type.
Thanks again for your time!
Thank you, glad we could talk.