I really canít say enough good about Amber Heard. She is beautiful and she is just sort of kick ass in the way she deals with people. She doesnít shy away from what could be controversial. And lately, she has been proving this with films like THE INFORMERS and more than likely, THE RUM DIARIES. And to think, not so long ago she made a splash in the horror hit that almost none of us has seen, ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE.
When we were on the set for the Screen Gems remake of THE STEPFATHER, she once again made the trip worthwhile. It was great to talk to her again, as I had previously met on the set for PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, and it was absolutely hilarious watching her correct people on the use of the words ďhorrorĒ and ďthrillerĒ. I canít wait to see THE STEPFATHER, simply because sheís in itÖ although I never did see NEVER BACK DOWN.
I know. Well, I wouldnít sayÖ I think itís more of a thriller although it has those classical, great horror elements and beats in it. Like the scenes that we are doing right now, we have a lot ofÖ you know, when the stepfather finally rears his ugly head. And we have a lot of really intense horror beats that are specific and loyal to the horror genre. But the whole film, when you look at it in its complete form, it really is more of a thriller, in the sense that it delves into a more psychological [film] rather than seeing plain, adrenaline pumping, heart-throbbing actionÖ or death-defying, you know, moments.
Have you seen the original movie?
No I have not, actually.
Was that a choice, a specific choice for you?
Yeah, because itís hard when an actor, as an artist, takes on a project that is already, literally been done before. Itís too hard to identify with that as opposed to the impression that you immediately got from reading the script in itself. So I didnít want to just like, you know, I didnít want to emulate it consciously. So I preferred to not see it.
Whatís your dialogue been like playing opposite a pervo in a PG-13 flick?
Yeah, itís kinda nice, kinda kinky [Laughing].
Some hot older guy action?
Yeah. I mean hey, whatís wrong with that [Laughing]? IÖ well, Dylan Walsh is an amazing actor. Heís very creepy, like, I donít know where the character stops and he starts. I canít tell [Laughing]. I canít tell. But he is very committed to his role and he walks around kind of as the character. So you just kind of steer clear.
Well what was interesting, in the last season of ďNip/TuckĒ, he kind of got a little practice in Nip/Tuck because of his relationship with an eighteen year old. A little eighteen year old action last season, soÖ
He had eighteen year old action?
Great! Well, Iím glad that I am finally delving into a role with a, you know, interesting character development and relationships that are developing quite nicely and very deep. Thatís really good for me as an actor to findÖÖ [Laughing]. I finally get to do something thatís really important to me. So weíll see how it works out.
How is it working with him and the other actors who are very experienced and have been working for a very long time? What have you learned from that?
Well, really, Iíve been really lucky. Like every time I work on set, Iíve had the privilege and the honor to work with really good people. So, Iím very lucky. I always walk away at wrap with more than I walked in to the set in the first place earlier that day. So Iím very lucky.
Script wise, how did this one scream at you? Or did they say hey, do you want to do a horror remake?
Did you not catch the memo? Itís thriller/horror [Laughing]. Iím allÖÖ Next [Laughing]. Yeah they did, they called me and they asked me if I wanted to do this part. And I was in Europe promoting my film ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE because it had a UK release before it did here. And I was reading it in between doing interviews like this, for ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE. And I was like, hey, you know I guess I must have been in that mindset. You know, in Mandy Lane Iím playing a sweet young girl who is wrapped up into a horror film.
Well do you feel that the dialogue stayed true to kind of the youthful nature of the character? ĎCause he [J.S. Cardone] does a lot of teen horror THRILLER films [Laughing].
Quick learner folks.
So was there any particular aspect of that script that had truth to it?
Itís more of a drama in a sense thatÖ or more of an art form in the sense that it wasnít so much based in, as a reality, as it was trying to create a dramatic scenario. You know, I play the picturesque, have you, girl next door. Iím sweet, Iím in the sun, Iím wearing a hot pink top and some great flat shoes, in a ponytail. You know, and DylanÖ Iím sorry, I mean Michael and I - Michael in the story - played by Penn Badgley, we have a really innocent, cute relationship. I donít know how accurate that is to a sixteen year old. I donít know when you were sixteen, but it never was really so much the case with me. And I think a lot of people, itís like, he created this picturesque family that eats togetherÖ true theyíve got their discrepancies, their dysfunctional aspects of being divorced. Itís kind of neat, the writer created this little picturesque world, a happy little family. It gets, literally interrupted and perverted by this psychopath. Itís kind of made for the drama aspect, once the stepfather infiltrates. It made it more dramatic as opposed to him just stepping in on a really crazy, dysfunctional family, you know, that is already messed up, f*cked up or whatever.
How many action sequences have you done and what is this from [referring to a fake bruise]?
He punches me in the face, of courseÖ
Like you do [Laughing]. And itís funny because Iím walking around the lot, you know, the last couple of days with it. And Iíve had blood dripping down my chin. And I like walk to my trailer and you know, talk on the phoneÖÖ and people walking through the studio lot, stop and ask me, Ďare you okay?í [Laughing] And Iím thinking to myself, like, do I look like a gaffer? Do I look like a best boy? No. I look like an actress on a studio lot, yes Iím okay [Laughing]. Itís so funny how people are taking the time to approach me about my injury. And I think that maybe they never caught the memo that theyíre actually on a studio lot in Los Angeles. What else would I be doing?
Are you reading that [in reference to her book]?
Yes, I am. [Then after a moment, with sarcasm] NoÖ itís like dťcor.
Oh, a [Christopher] Hitchens fan?
Yes I am. Iím a huge Hitchens fan.
Yeah. I guess you could sayÖ I mean I wish Republicans didnít give us such a bad name. I guess I would be a Republican if they werenít such assholes. But, what do I know?
So how long has your character been involved with Michael? Is it way before he got sent off to military school?
In the story?
Yeah it was important for Penn and I, playing Michael and Kelly, to establish that in the back-story of our characters. To have a long running existing relationship with each other. That was, girl next door, high school sweethearts, but beforeÖ childhood sweethearts in the sense, so you really feel like Kelly is a really strong aspect of the family. As opposed to Kelly just being a girl that heís dating. Therefore when the family unit is dismantled, itís a little bit more heartbreaking. And they really love each other. You know, weíve changed a lot of the scenes around to make them more sentimental and to touch and empathize more on the back story that we have. I think itís a bit more powerful what happens at the end with all this back-story. Apparently theyíve been together forever.
How are you mapping out your career at this point in the game? I mean, I thought Mandy LaneÖ
Did you see it?
Yeah. Love it. I f*ckiní love it.
Itís bad ass.
I love it when people realize that we made that film for like, fifteen dollars. I think I lost money on that film [Laughing]. Iím really sure that I did. When people realize that that film was literally made for nothing, then itís even more powerful. Because it, artistically, has much more merit then 99% of the studio films that get made. But I do my work, my heart is in films that I get to donate my heart to. You know, like Mandy Lane, I WAS Mandy Lane in that. I mean, my heart was in that project and I love it. I still love it. I loved it when I did it. And I didnít mind using money filming it. But as an actress, Iím a young woman. Iím a single girl here. Iím young. I have to do projects that propel me to the next step so I can work on those projects. So I can do artistic, low budget, independent type films that I find my soul in. So I have to do the studio films. And not that I have any problem with it. I love this movie. I love everybody on the set. The directorís really cool. Itís really neat, and I like the genre. And Iím starting to like it more and more. Itís important to me so that I have to realize that I have to take steps to get to another place.
What is the scariest film youíve ever seen?
That Iíve ever seen?
UmÖ I guess thereís aÖ this documentary called JESUS CAMP [Laughing].
No, what horror movie?
What horror film have I seenÖ umÖ I guess the scariest horror filmÖ SUPER SIZE ME? NoÖ sorry, Iím sorryÖ I donít know, I liked THE SIXTH SENSE a lot but thatís not a horror film. And I think that tapped into a more psychological fear rather than an adrenaline based physical fear. When youíre running from your alter ego or your subconscious, thatís a little bit more interesting to me than running from a killer with a big knife. But hey, I mean, I like the genre more and more every time I see anything.
So this is a pretty quick shoot youíve got here. Forty-five days or so? Sounds like you are packing things inÖ?
Well yeah, but if you look at it technicallyÖ literally speaking, if you want to get technical about it with fifteen hour days. Itís not so short of a shoot for me. I should be in retirement by now.
And after it wraps are you moving right on to another project?
Well I have five coming out this year that Iím promoting, that I have lead roles in, soÖ I imagine that I will be doing that.
How has Mandy Lane been received in the UK?
It did really well.
It did really well. I mean, when people care about film and they care about art, when those people saw it they wrote amazing reviews. Good for me. But when critics wrote it and they were like, okay, first is LOVE ACTUALLY and the second is ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE, of course Iím going to get a bad review. I mean, not that I am, but the film. ĎCause theyíre comparing it to THE RUINS or huge budgetÖ and those films, sometimes have no artistic merit whatsoever. Theyíre like a commercial. Made for a bunch of money. But a lot of people really love, but people that are art critics as opposed to just like, pop critics. They really, really loved it, and thatís all that matters to me.
What scene are you doing for THE STEPFATHER? Are you in the scene nowÖ?
I think so. Yes I am.
And what is it?
Itís where Dylan Walsh plays the stepfather, he kind of clicks and he snaps. And heís made his first effort to really knock his first victim out. And heís going after, now, his soon to be wife, played by Sela Ward. And I guess he finds her in the bathroom and she stabs him in the neck, and then he is chasing her through the house and she reunites with myself and Michael. And the rest I canít tell you or Iíd have to kill you.
Well weíre probably going to see it soon.
Yeah, well, it doesnít play all the way through. It doesnít play until the end, but yeah, he just catches up and we are just trying to escape into the attic at this point, where the rest of it will goÖ And itís kind of cool, they have a bit of a false ending. I imagine that when youíre watching it as an audience member, you will think itís the end of the movie possiblyÖ?
When you act in a film like this, do you find it different then acting in other things? Is there a tougher line that you donít want to cross or just be as realistic as possible? How do you look at it?
Well, I mean in films like this or the film that I have opening up today actually, NEVER BACK DOWN. Iím the girlfriend. Iím aware of my role in this, Iím the supporter. Iím there to support the activities of the other characters. And there is definite merit and honor in doing that part, but itís not my role. Itís not my movie. Mandy Lane, for instance, or even in PINEAPPLE, Iím the lead female. I have my own character that is not influenced at all by others in the sense that, itís an individual, strong person, strong character and I really would show up to set as the character, leave as the character. And no one is going to interrupt. You know, itís really a taking on, itís really putting on a costume that you canít take off until what they call, picture wrap. As opposed to this, where I play a sixteen-year-old girl next door, been there, been there, so itís notÖÖ I can literally just breakaway from an interview like this and hop onto set, you know.
Do you find yourself at this point getting typecast or are you trying to avoid that, and if you are, how are you accomplishing that?
Well itís really difficult for a young woman in Hollywood. You know, itís so difficult for us. I mean, to find the good script that has a well written, interesting, deep character isÖ well, scarce to say the least. But heavens forbid she be beautiful, or dare I say, intelligent. You know, itís difficult to find. And you do have to make decisions that will make your career go for much longer than just being a pretty girl. I mean, if you just allow yourself to be typecast, you wonít work past the age of twenty-five. You can get married and that would be awesome [Laughing], or you could have a career like Meryl Streep or Julia Roberts. You could work forever if you choose characters and are not just going on your looks. Although sometimes you have to take those roles to ensure those in the future.
Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@JoBlo.com