Mary Elizabeth Winstead Interview | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The Actress discusses Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and The Thing

Jul 28, 2010 Bookmark and Share

Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead is most certainly worth fighting over. Already a TV veteran by the time she was cast in such teen scream flicks as Final Destination 3 and the 2006 remake of Black Christmas, Winstead had a breakthrough year in 2007, appearing as John McClane's daughter-in-distress in Live Free or Die Hard and starring in Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse segment Death Proof. It was the latter performance that caught the attention of director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), who had contributed a faux trailer for the B-movie double-feature. In Wright's upcoming Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the anticipated film adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's acclaimed graphic novel series, Winstead plays Ramona Flowers, a girl with a lot of baggage when it comes to datingseven exes that the story's titular hero must fight against to win her heart. On a break from shooting scenes for the upcoming prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 horror classic The Thing, Winstead spoke with Under the Radar about screaming and scary movies, evil exes, and what it's like to work with Michael Cera and Edgar Wright. (Pick up our Summer 2010/Wasted on the Youth issue for an article in which Winstead talks about Labyrinth, one of her favorite films as a child. Also read an interview with Scott Pilgrim director Edgar Wright in the same issue.)

Mike Hilleary: Looking at your filmography, one would think you have a serious affinity for scary movies.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I know. I don't know if I have an affinity for it or if it has an affinity for me or both. I'm not sure.

What is it about them that you enjoy so much as an actress?

I guess I like wondering if they're going to scare me, trying to figure out if the film is going work on that level. I'm a pretty tough scare, so I enjoy that sort of test of it.

What have you been working on today?

Today we were shooting a scene that kind of goes back a little bit more towards the beginning of the film where things first start going wrong. Someone gets attacked, and it's kind of a difficult scene because it involves about 15 people. Everyone at the base comes out and finds this bloody massacre out in the snow. Trying to deal with everyone and all of our reactions is pretty intense. But it's fun. In between stuff, it feels like we're all in school or something just hanging out.

What can you tell me about your character in this upcoming prequel?

I play a young paleontologist. I'm kind of just starting my career and I get involved in this trip to Antarctica to go and extract this fossilized specimen that's been found in the ice. I assume it's typical fare like a mammoth of some sort, and when I get there it turns out to be a creature of a whole different sort. So yeah, things start going really wrong. People start becoming attacked, and this creature takes over their bodies and becomes them. It's a film that's a lot about trust and paranoia, so there's a lot of tension. A lot of that stuff is what I really love and scares me more than the actual monster itself.

You must be getting lots of practice in screaming.

[Laughs] I'm trying not to do too much of that in this movie. I've gotta stay strong. There will be no screeching involved.

You've got Scott Pilgrim coming out very soon. What was it like for Edgar Wright to single you out for the part of Ramona.

I was a huge, huge fan of his films. Shaun of the Dead is still one of my favorite films ever, so I was just really excited to meet him and kind of shocked and amazed to hear that he was seriously interested in me for something. I was just floored. I thought the books were so funny, and the character that he was interested in me for, Ramona Flowers, was so cool and iconic, and I couldn't believe I could be a part of a project like that.

How would you describe Wright as a director?

He's just one of those guys who knows what he wants. He had more faith in me than I had in myself, I think, because at that point I had to fight for everything. Nobody was offering me anything. To think that somebody would be offering me this part that so many other actresses would have wanted, it's still a crazy thought. I honestly don't know what goes on in his head or how he goes from one point to the other, because it really is just all in his head. He knows exactly what he wants, and whatever he says, you do it and you know it's going to be great. He has such a specific vision, a specific style. He's extremely funny and charming and smart, and he brings all of that to everything that he does. All of that together, I think, is what makes his films so great.

How would you describe Ramona?

She is one those girls who has been through a lot. She's got a lot of baggage, you could say. She's had a lot of rough relationships and had a few tragedies she's had to deal with in her life, so she's really guarded and is not real easy to get to know. She just kind of moves in and out of people's lives and moves from place to place, and you can never pin her down. Which is why she changes her hair color every week and you can't really get a grip on who she is. So when she meets Scott, he's a little endearing and sweet and kind of stupid sometimes, but he's totally willing to break down that wall she has up, and I think that's what she finds attractive about him.

How do you think her character changes through the course of the story?

It takes a while for her to break down. I think that even through most of their relationship she's still pretty guarded and she's still not so sure about him. She knows she likes him. She knows she wants to give him a try, but there's also a part of her that knows it's not going to end well because nothing ever does with her.

What was it like working alongside Michael Cera as your heroic suitor?

It's awesome. He's so sweet. He's so funny. He's just kind of light and relaxed. He's never stressed and he never gets upset. He was really there to work hard and do a great job and just one of the loveliest people I've ever worked with. He's just really fun to be around. He's constantly telling jokes. Some of them are funny and some of them are stupid, but he would always manage to make me laugh either way.

Did you have a particular favorite of the evil exes?

Everybody was so great and everyone was so much fun and brought in a new energy and a new life on set. Mae Whitman was great. We got to fight each other and train together, and it was so fantastic and so funny. I got to wield a hammer. We definitely spent a lot of long hours together. Chris Evans and Jason Schwartzman are just over-the-top fun. They were just the type of people that kept you rolling laughing.

Was it weird playing a female role where men are literally fighting one another for her? She seems so idolized.

I couldn't really put the kind of pressure on myself, as far to be the perfect physical incarnation of that. I had to tell myself that Ramona is There's just something about her as a person that attracts these guys to her. It's the way she carries herself, this mysterious, elusive thing that she has, and that's what those guys want. If I thought they wanted her for her hotness, I'd probably end up killing myself from the pressure of that.






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July 3rd 2013

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