Lights Out: We interview Jaime King on her new action film which stars Frank Grillo

Jaime King from Sin City and Black Summer was gracious enough to sit with us and reveal the intense research she had for her role in the new action film, Lights Out.

Last Updated on March 5, 2024

lights out, jaime king, frank grillo, scott adkins

The new action film Lights Out has stepped into the ring for viewers to enjoy. Frank Grillo stars as a mysterious wanderer who is haunted by a past of seeing his comrades die in combat and now finds himself thrust into the underground world of mixed-martial arts fighting. Mekhi Phifer also stars as Grillo’s only ally with Durmot Mulroney as a crime boss and Scott Adkins making a special appearance as Grillo’s former brother-in-arms.

The movie also stars Jaime King as Ridgeway, who is a police detective who is seemingly pulling all the strings behind it all, but is there more that she’s hiding? King had starred opposite Johnny Depp in Ted Demme’s film Blow, followed by Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor starring opposite Ben Affleck. You may recognize her as Goldie in Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City and the sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. She also showed off her own fighting chops opposite Hong Kong legend Chow Yun Fat in the action fantasy, Bulletproof Monk. She can recently be seen in the critically acclaimed hit series, Black Summer, which is available on Netflix.

Ms. King recently spoke with JoBlo about the complicated nature of her character of Ridgeway in Lights Out.

Lights Out Jaime King

JoBlo: Your character is, with the highest of respect, the HBIC. She’s pulling all the strings behind the scenes, but there were also a lot of unspoken moments that showed some inner conflict within her. Was there something you felt you need to bring to this person to round them out so they’re not just a figure head of this crime syndicate?

King: Thank you for asking the question! There’s a pattern I’ve been noticing with a lot of films lately where there’s a real lack of what I call “the Divine Feminine.” What I loved about the process of working on the script is that the filmmaker was so open to my thoughts and my point-of-view and to developing it and working on it together, which is really the process that I enjoy the most. With Detective Ridgeway, I really needed intense stakes for her. I’ve been researching cops for, like, a decade now. I do a lot of research on positions of power, because I find that oftentimes that it’s abused. I spent a lot of time with a detective and another officer as I was preparing for the film.

She revealed the long hours that she spent with the two persons of authority for her research had her thinking, “What truly makes a detective corrupt?” She found a list of possibilities that some people find themselves in, which may trap them in the compromising situation. King detailed that the answers are usually the same, and it could be a wide range of explanations like they “f*ck with the cartel or [they’re suffering from] a drug problem or a drinking problem or a gambling problem. Those are some of the main factors of it.”

King: And when I spoke to [director Christian] Sesma, I was like, “I really need to create a story here.” I’d ask the officers [she spent time researching with], “If your husband was dying and you had a child…would you do this?” And they said, “Yes.” And so, those are the stakes I created. I called up Sesma and said, “Here’s the deal. She’s married. She has a child. A small child. Her husband is very, very, very sick and dying. And this is the only way…the ONLY way…that she can keep him alive. I really look at those tilting points! There’s always a specific reason for why they do what they do!

Jaime King interview

JoBlo: The look of your character is so distinctive. It feels like different [fashion] eras were smashed together. What was the inspiration for it and was there a deliberate image you wanted to convey?

King: Yes, there was a deliberate image! It was [Greek Goddess] Calypso! If you look up Calypso, she’s got curly…very, very curly hair. And I wanted it very pale and curly and feminine. And no make-up. I wanted dark eyebrows. I dyed my eyelashes a deep black and the rest I wanted very, you know, pure. And for the look, I wanted it to be very grounded, like feet grounded, and kind of have swag to her! But without intent. Like, that’s who she is.

King had also worked previously with Frank Grillo on the film The Resurrection of Charles Manson, which stars Frank and was written and directed by his son, Remy Grillo. King reveals that her friendship with Frank dates back to the 2010 film, Mother’s Day, where they first worked together. The two families have since been close, and when Remy Grillo had the idea for his Charles Manson film, he pitched it to King for her production company to take on. We inquired if it got her to think about her own children possibly breaking into the business-of-show in the future and direct her like Remy did with his dad. She would glow that her children have already been directing her as they create their own projects for social media and momentarily run the house like a studio.

Lights Out is available for streaming and on-demand now!

Lights Out

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.