Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka will star in horror-thriller “February.”
Osgood Perkins, son of “Pyscho” actor Anthony Perkins, will direct from his own script. Highland Film Group is launching foreign sales at the Toronto Film Festival.
Producers are Unbroken Pictures’ Adrienne Biddle and Bryan Bertino along with Rob Paris’ Paris Film Inc.
The story is set a girls’ prep school, where two students find themselves stranded after their parents mysteriously fail to retrieve them for winter break.
Roberts is repped by CAA and manager David Sweeney. Shipka is represented by CAA and Perkins by Paradigm.
Screen Yorkshire has made its biggest production investment to date on $25m US-UK co-production Hunter’s Prayer (previously known as For The Dogs).
Avatar and Clash of the Titans star Sam Worthington will star as an assassin in director Jonathan Mostow’s (Terminator 3) thriller, which is due to shoot in the UK and Hungary in 2015.
The film is the first US production to get backing from Screen Yorkshire, which would not reveal the amount invested but confirmed it to be above £1m.
Casting is currently underway on the female lead. Emma Roberts and Hailee Steinfeld were both previously linked to the project but are no longer in the frame.
Zachary Quinto and Emma Roberts will be joining James Franco in the drama “Michael,” about an anti-gay pastor who was once gay himself, Variety has learned.
Quinto will play the former boyfriend of Franco’s character. Roberts is set to reteam with her “Palo Alto” co-star as his girlfriend. Chris Zylka (“The Leftovers”) is also attached to the film as another past love interest.
The script for “Michael” is based on “My Ex-Gay Friend,” a New York Times Magazine article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis (author of “Travels with Casey”) about Michael Glatze, a Christian minister from Wyoming who was so entrenched in gay culture before he rejected his homosexuality, he founded a gay youth magazine. Justin Kelly will direct. Gus van Sant is the executive producer, along with producers Franco, Vince Jolivette, Michael Mendelsohn, Ron Singer and Scott Reeve.
“This isn’t just a story about an ‘ex-gay,’” Kelly said. “It’s actually a very relatable story about the power of belief and the desire to belong.”
Added Denizet-Lewis: “I’m excited that everyone involved in this project is intent on telling a story that captures the full breadth of Michael’s unusual life, from the inspiring gay leader I knew when I was young to the Christian pastor he is today.”
The cast of American Horror Story is finally coming to Comic-Con after three seasons on the air. The FX show has skipped the fanboy confab in previous summers partly due to its production schedule, however, the Coven and Freak Show cast will be heading to San Diego including Emma Roberts, Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, new addition Michael Chiklis and exec producer Tim Minear. The panel, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 26 from 7-8 PM in Room 6DE will provide a look back at Coven as well as exclusive secrets from the set of the upcoming Freak Show.
Emma is nominated for Female Fan Favorite Actor for the 2014 Young Hollywood Awards, you can vote on this category here!
Emma has been nominated in the category “Choice Movie Actress: Comedy” for We’re in the Millers). Please, vote here.
A floundering college graduate reluctantly takes a job at an upstate New York sex shop while pursuing an opportunity that could help to launch her career as a poet. Wide-eyed Amy (Emma Roberts) may have graduated from college, but lately life seems to be passing her by. An aspiring poet, she still lives with her parents, and longs for independence. In order to earn a paycheck, Amy goes to work at a local sex shop owned by a spirited older couple. With flamboyant transvestite Rubio and charming local boy Alex on staff, life around the store is rarely dull. Still, Amy can’t help but feeling like the future has something better in store for her, and she sets out to land an apprenticeship with notoriously withdrawn writer Rat Billings (John Cusack). Meanwhile, inspiration seems to come from the last place Amy ever expected as her professional relationship with Alex takes a surprise turn toward the romantic.
DVD Features: Region 1 Note: Deleted and alternate scenes Trailer Widescreen – 1.78 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 – English Subtitles – English, Spanish.
Is it true that your mom didn’t want you to go into show business?
“She just didn’t want me to go into it young. When you come from a family that’s in the industry, they’re always like, ‘Be a doctor! Be a lawyer!’ But we end up wanting to be actors. Gia and I were talking about that—we love storytelling and movies. I remember feeling that magic when I was, like, seven, visiting my aunt Julia on set. I would go into the wardrobe room and try everything on. It felt special.”
What movie sets did you visit when you were a kid?
“There’s a Polaroid of me wearing one of my aunt’s outfits from Erin Brockovich and it looked like I had huge boobs. [Laughs] Then I was on America’s Sweethearts, which they were shooting at a hotel that had a waterslide. It’s funny the things you remember. I was in the background of one scene wearing a purple shirt, and I thought I was so cool.”
Did Julia give you advice when you were starting out?
“No. No one said anything to me about acting because they hoped it would just be a phase. But I kept doing it!”
It seems like you have a very clear sense of self.
“I’ve always been very opinionated. That’s what comes from being raised by a single mother. My mom always instilled confidence and told me to have an opinion and to educate myself. But I definitely have my days. I was crying yesterday because I jumped on the trampoline and sprained my foot and was feeling nervous about the shoot today and got some bad news. I was sitting with my foot up, icing it, and being so upset. Then I woke up today and was like, ‘Let’s do it differently.’ There are days when your hair is looking great and you feel determined—then the next day you’re like, ‘My horoscope’s bad, my hair’s bad, I don’t want to get out of bed.’” [Laughs]
Speaking of education, you started at Sarah Lawrence College in New York and then left. Do you intend to go back?
“I thought I would for a while. It’s never too late, but I love travelling and reading. That’s kind of the school that I want to be in: the school of life. Besides, I’m so bad with deadlines—I’m the worst.”
You’re a procrastinator?
“I’m such a procrastinator. I put off cleaning. I’m not really messy, but it’s organized chaos. I’ll have a pair of shorts under a huge pile of clothes, and if my mom folds them, I’ll be like, ‘Mom, where are the shorts under the pile of clothes?’”
Do you live on your own?
“No, I live with my fiancé!”
How did the proposal happen?
“That’s something I want to keep more private, because there’s nothing worse than when you talk about a relationship and then everybody feels entitled to ask about it. It’s the only thing I can kind of keep private, and it’s nice to have that.”
Do you have much privacy, really?
“American Horror Story was so fun because we shot in New Orleans. We worked our butts off, but afterwards we’d go party or on a swamp tour. In New Orleans, you can be more anonymous. We were just gallivanting through the streets and dancing. It was nice not to worry about paparazzi.”
How do you deal with the pressure that can come with social media?
“My New Year’s resolution was to live more in the moment instead of Instagramming it. I love social media as much as the next person, but it’s important to know when to put your phone down. I went to Santa Ynez [California] and it was nice to actually get in the pool—not just take a picture of getting in the pool, you know?”
“Whenever I’m away from my phone, I get anxiety. But it’s just a habit; it’s not real. Sometimes I fantasize about deleting my Twitter.”
So many people would be upset.
“One day I really just want to throw my iPhone in the ocean. But maybe just for a week.” [Laughs]
I know you’re really sociable, but it sounds like you crave alone time.
“When I first got to New Orleans, I was there by myself and I was so scared that my place was haunted. This woman in town told me to leave out an offering of salt, so I put some downstairs and was like, ‘If anyone’s here, please, I’m such a scaredy-cat, leave me alone!’”
What are you looking forward to? “I don’t want to jinx it, but this has been one of those weirdly amazing years so far. I don’t know what the energy is with 2014, but there’s just something in the air. Things have worked out in a way that feels beyond my control. There’s something really cool about that!”
Emma Roberts will receive the 2014 Maui Film Festival’s Shining Star Award, which honors a film artist who dares to dream big dreams and delivers brilliantly charismatic and revelatory performances every time that opportunity knocks. Roberts can currently be seen in Gia Coppola’s directorial debut PALO ALTO alongside James Franco and Jack Kilmer. In February 2014, Roberts starred in ADULT WORLD, directed by Scott Coffey. She also recently starred in the third installment of Ryan Murphy’s AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN. Roberts will next appear in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW scheduled to premiere in fall 2014. In August 2013, Roberts starred in the summer hit comedy WE’RE THE MILLERS opposite Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis from director Rawson Marshall Thurber. Roberts also recently had a memorable supporting role in the 2012 Sundance Premiere CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER. Other films that Roberts has appeared in include EMPIRE STATE, THE ART OF GETTING BY, SCREAM, IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, 220.127.116.11, TWELVE, WHAT’S WRONG WITH VIRGINIA WOLFE, VALENTINE’S DAY, HOTEL FOR DOGS, LYMELIFE, THE WINNING SEASON, NANCY DREW, BLOW, BIG LOVE, GRAND CHAMPION, AQUAMARINE and on the Nickelodeon hit comedy series UNFABULOUS.
Also new to Bankside’s growing slate is comedy-drama Ashby set to star Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts and Sarah Silverman. CAA and UTA rep North America.
Writer-director Tony McNamara’s script charts the relationship between a high school student (Wolff) and a retired CIA assassin (Rourke) who only has months to live.
Producers are Kevin McCormick, Rory Koslow, Josh Kesselman, Compton Ross and Phil Hunt.
Principal photography will commence on June 16 in North Carolina for five weeks.
From writer/director Gia Coppola and based on the book by James Franco, the indie drama Palo Alto follows shy, sensitive teenager April (Emma Roberts), a popular soccer player and babysitter for her single-dad coach (James Franco). At the same time, Teddy (Jack Kilmer) hangs out with his best friend and sidekick Fred (Nat Wolff), while trying to find the nerve to tell April about his feelings for her.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Emma Roberts talked about how she tracked down Gia Coppola and campaigned for her role, how she’s always trying to find books to pursue the rights for, how the book and film are very different entities, how nice and normal James Franco was to work with, how this movie feels both of its time and timeless, why it’s more challenging to play someone so real, and what she thinks might have happened to this character, beyond the point where the film ends. She also talked about getting invited back for American Horror Story: Freak Show, that they start shooting the new season in July, how she’s looking forward to doing a period piece, that she doesn’t yet have any details about the story or character, and how she’s love to be in a Wes Anderson film. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
Collider: Was it fun to get to follow up such an outrageous character, like the one you played on American Horror Story, with a character like this one?
EMMA ROBERTS: Yeah, it was cool to get to do something so different. Especially coming off of playing the super-bitch, Madison Montgomery, it was nice to get to do something that was the opposite and more likeable and more real.
And she’s quieter and more internal.
ROBERTS: That’s actually one of the things I loved so much about the movie. Gia Coppola was not scared to let awkward moments happen. Even as an actor in the scene, I would be like, “Oh, my god, how much longer are we going to let this hang. I feel embarrassed.”
It makes it all feel that much more real because how often do teenagers really know how to express themselves anyway?
ROBERTS: Yeah, they don’t. It’s so funny, my little sister is 13 and I’m like, “Speak! What do you want?!” It’s crazy to see how that confusion is so honest and so real. Kids really do feel that way. It’s so funny.
How did you come to this?
ROBERTS: I read the book and I fell madly in love with it, five years ago when it first came out. I literally read it the day it came out. And I called my manager and was like, “I want to buy the rights to this book,” and he was like, “They’re already taken.” I said, “Please, I have to be in this movie!” And then, three years went by and I was like, “What’s going on with this book?” And they were like, “Well, Gia Coppola just wrote the script for it.” So, I read the script. I’m such a big reader, so I’m very judgmental about books being turned into movies, but I was like, “Wow, I’ve never read a script that I’ve loved equally and differently to the book.” It was very interesting. So, I knew that it was going to be something special. I knew that it wasn’t going to be another run-of-the-mill teenage movie. So, I tracked down Gia. We kept running into each other, and I kept telling her how much I loved the book. And she was like, “You know, I thin, I’m gonna go for real teenagers. You’re a little bit older.” But, I kept a close eye on it and they finally ended up casting me, a week before we started filming. She said, “All right, let’s do it. I trust you.” That was amazing and special. There was no audition or anything. It was just a mutual thing with me and Gia, which was really amazing.
Do you typically pursue the rights to certain books, or was the first time you had tried doing something like that?
ROBERTS: I do that a lot because I read a lot. It’s so hard because people get books so far in advance now that you can’t ever find the rights to anything. But, I do ask a lot because you never know when maybe one will be available.
Did you refer back to the book at all, once you were working on this character? Did it feel like you even needed to do that, since they were such different entities?
ROBERTS: You know, they were such different entities. I felt like Gia really captured the essence of the book and really embellished the characters. There are some characters that are only in the book for a page. So, she really took all of them and made them deeper and combined some of them. For me, the script was really my guideline. And then, once she got the cast that she got, it was just about all of our chemistry and how we reacted off of each other, which reflects in the movie. A lot of our reactions that you see were real reactions. She would keep rolling when we weren’t paying attention, and that comes across in a lot of the takes.
Did you participate in any bonding exercises during prep, or did you stay more separate since your character is more separate from everybody?
ROBERTS: Everyone did bonding exercises, and I would have been more than happy to do bonding exercises, but I literally got cast a week before we started shooting. It was like, “Oh, my god, we’re doing this! Get ready!” There was no time for us to really bond. But while we were shooting, it felt like bonding. It was so low-budget that we didn’t have trailers, so we were all huddled around the heater, outside in the Valley, hugging each other and telling stories. It really felt like summer camp, the whole time. We bonded, as we went along, which you can see in the movie.
James Franco is a guy that you hear some interesting stories about. What were your impressions of him, and what do you think would surprise people about him?
ROBERTS: Just how nice and normal he is. He was so fun to work with. I loved our stuff that we got to do together. He’s just so good, and it’s really cool to see him work.
What was it like to work with him, knowing that this movie was adapted from a book that he wrote, and that you’d also have scenes together? Was he good about not micro-managing that?
ROBERTS: He seemed really excited about the movie. I think he was excited to see it come to life. He was having just as much fun as we were. We never felt like, “Oh, my god, the writer’s here! Everybody get out of the way!” He just felt like another person in the movie. He never really even brought up that he was the writer, which is really crazy and cool and shows what kind of guy he is. That would have created such a weird dynamic.
You’ve played a lot of teenagers in your career, but now that you’re in your 20s, have you thought about when you might have to stop doing that, or do you feel like, as long as you can keep identifying with a character and the experiences, the specific age number doesn’t necessarily matter?
ROBERTS: Yeah, if it feels right to do a role, then I want to do it. I’m open to the role. I’m happy to play 23, and I’m happy to play 17, as long as it makes sense. What I liked about April is that you see her teetering between growing up and being a kid, throughout the film. That’s what attracted me to her. We all know that time, and it’s a very fascinating time. That’s why there’s so many books and films written about it.
With this kind of a character, don’t you feel that it also works to your advantage to be able to reflect back on that age, rather than actually being in it?
ROBERTS: Yeah, I definitely think it was better for me to playing this role, having some perspective. When you’re a teenager, you don’t want to bring your emotions to the surface and talk about them. You want to push them away. So, for me to be 21 when we shot it, it gave me enough perspective to go into that and not be scared. That was cool to get to do.
This movie has an interesting feel to it, being both of its time and timeless.
ROBERTS: I know! Doesn’t it? It’s really cool!
Was that something that you felt, in reading it, or was it something that took stepping back and getting to see the finished film, before you saw how that felt?
ROBERTS: It was a mixture of both, but that’s just because of how real the characters were and how the feelings you see are so universal. The characters weren’t stereotyped. They weren’t like, “I’m the popular slut,” or “I’m the reserved shy girl.” They were just people, and you felt like they were real people. I also think that the lack of social media in the movie made it feel real and didn’t demean any of it. I hate in movies when you see people tweeting. There’s no way to capture that and make it romantic.
This film also explores the very taboo subject of a teacher-student relationship, but it really handles it in a delicate way. Was it important to you that that aspect not be exploited?
ROBERTS: Absolutely! But, I also felt like it was something where it is a fascinating relationship. We’ve all heard about that happening, and it was interesting the way it was handled.
Would you say that April is the most real character that you’ve played?
ROBERTS: Yeah, for sure!
Is it more challenging for you to play someone more real?
ROBERTS: I think it’s definitely always more challenging to do something to play a real character and be more real. It’s easy to memorize your lines and say them. In Palo Alto, we ad-libbed a lot and had a lot of real moments happening, and that’s always harder because you’re more vulnerable and you’re putting yourself out there more, which is always scarier than when you have things down to a science and a rhythm.
Because nobody knows a character better than the actor embodying it, what do you think happened to this girl, beyond where the film leaves off?
ROBERTS: You know, I think she ends up okay. That’s what I loved about the movie. At the end of it, it’s not just this tragic thing with the girls. There’s very much some light for them. That made me happy, that it wasn’t these two girls falling off the tracks, distraught and crying. There was a little bit of hope for Emily and April. I thought it was important to not make them out to be these train wrecks. I think they end up growing up to be girls where no one would ever think that that stuff had happened to them.
It’s great to know that you’ll be back for American Horror Story: Freak Show. When and how did you learn that you’d be invited back?
ROBERTS: I’d been in talks a little bit before PaleyFest, but the day of PaleyFest is when it was official, so that was awesome. I was so happy and flattered to be asked back because it’s a show that I am so passionate about and love doing, so much. I can’t wait to get back to New Orleans and start filming. I think this year is going to be really, really awesome, fingers crossed. I think it’s going to be different from last year, but in a good way. And I love that it’s 1950s ‘cause I’ve always wanted to do something period, but have never had the chance. I think that’s going to add a whole other layer to the story.
Have you learned any specifics about your story or character?
ROBERTS: No, I haven’t been given a script. I ran into one of the writers yesterday and was like, “Can you tell me anything?,” and he was like, “Gotta go!”
Madison Montgomery had a very specific look to her, last season. Are you excited about getting a whole new period look for this season?
ROBERTS: I am. I’m curious about what my American Horror Story make-over is gonna be. I feel like every season, everyone looks unrecognizable, which is so cool. I’m really curious about what they’re gonna do to me.
Is there anyone that you’re hoping to get to work with this time, that you didn’t really get to work with much last time?
ROBERTS: I hope I have more scenes with Kathy Bates. I didn’t really get to work with her too much, and she’s such a legend and such a fun person. All of us went to dinner together a couple of times, and she’s just so funny and sweet. So, I hope I get to have more with her.
When do you start shooting the new season?
ROBERTS: We go back in July.
Are you looking to shoot a movie before you go into production again on the show?
ROBERTS: Maybe. The window is closing, so we’ll see. Maybe something will come up.
You’ve been playing such an interesting and varied collection of characters, which are both good girls and bad girls, in both comedy and drama, and in film and television. Is there a type of film or role, or even a character from literature or history, that you’d love to do, but haven’t gotten the chance to do yet?
ROBERTS: That’s a good question. All the books that I love have already been made into movies, so I’m going to have to search for a new one. But, my dream is to be a character in a Wes Anderson movie. I just love how interesting and eclectic and stylized his characters are, and I would love to dive into that world. I loved The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Palo Alto is now playing in theaters.
The teens are lost, the adults are wrecks, and everyone is grasping for some meaning in Gia Coppola’s feature debut Palo Alto, based on James Franco’s 2010 collection of interconnected short stories of upper middle class teenage angst.
Emma Roberts stars as the heartbreaking April, a quiet teen who catches the leering gaze of her adult soccer coach, played with unsettling charisma by Franco. As April navigates the increasingly inappropriate attention and escalating physicality of her relationship with Mr. B, her classmates drift in and out of trouble, parties, and desperation in Coppola’s dreamy portrait of this grim, privileged suburb.
EW got a chance to speak to Roberts and Coppola about the film, Franco material, and how they reimagined some of the more intense scenes for the big screen. Check it out after the jump. (There are some slight spoilers.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hi, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk to us. GIA COPPOLA: Emma, hi! I didn’t realize you were on this call too.
EMMA ROBERTS: Oh, hey!
Can we talk about your character April?
EMMA: I found her really interesting just because she’s so opposite me. She’s much more of an observer and a listener. She’s not the social girl in high school. I was definitely the social girl.
GIA: I always loved the story “April in Three Parts” because it was always very romantic and sweet that these two kids liked each other but are just being pulled in opposite directions. What was so interesting about James’ writing is that he was really able to tap into a young girl’s emotions so well.
EMMA: He really did!
GIA: He articulated how I felt when I was that age and all those insecurities. It was pretty much all there. Obviously I was working with short stories, so at times I kind of used my own experiences, but I think she’s a combination of all of our experiences. Of course Emma made her come to life.
EMMA: That’s what made it so fun. It was a nice collaboration of what me, James, Gia, and all the other actors felt and experienced when we were younger.
Emma, I read that you love Margot Tenenbaum. Are there any shades of her in April?
EMMA: Definitely not at all.
GIA: But I feel like that character…I remember I watched that movie when I was younger and it was like, she was the epitome of cool because she was just so laissez-faire. And she had awesome style.
EMMA: No, no, she’s my favorite character in cinema. But she didn’t influence April at all. I just didn’t think of them as living in the same world. April, to me, was a cross between me a little bit when I was younger, definitely Gia a little bit, and I took a lot of mannerisms from my little sister, actually. She’s 13. She has long, dark hair. She’s a little awkward sometimes. And she’s always kind of twitching her mouth around because she doesn’t know what to say, so I kind of took some mannerisms from her.
What about April’s escalating relationship with her soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco)? How did you develop that, and how do you think April actually sees him?
EMMA: The relationship with Mr. B was really interesting and, as an actress, really fun to get to build because it’s really weird. Actually, maybe Gia should answer this first.
GIA: April is obviously not getting the fulfillment she needs from her home life, and that makes her very vulnerable and susceptible to Mr. B’s character, who is just kind of stunted emotionally. He just can’t connect with someone his own age. Therefore they’re kind of the perfect fit. She’s not really being treated the way she wants to be treated and he’s able to give that to her. He genuinely loves her.
EMMA: She’s mature and he’s immature. They’re kind of meeting in the middle.
Was there any improvisation?
EMMA: A couple of the scenes were improvised. James and I would start talking in character for a moment and Gia would start rolling and then we would go into the scene. A lot of the improv was just with props and where we were sitting and just reactions and stuff.
GIA: But it was your idea about the days of the week underwear!
EMMA: Ha. Yeah. When I was younger I always wore days of the week underwear all the time, because I thought they were so cool, but I would always get the days wrong. In the script it said she was wearing underwear with stars on them or something. And I was like, “What if it were days of the week underwear? Could we do that?” And Gia said, “Totally.” I just love that image. I feel like at least I wore them all the time. I still have a set somewhere.
That kind of brings us to the sex scene between Mr. B and April. It’s shot in a really experimental way. It was a really cool choice.
EMMA: I’m so glad you appreciated that, because I was so nervous. I was like, “Are we going to have a hard-core sex scene?” And Gia was like, “No, no no no no.”
GIA: Yeah, I just feel like sex scenes are not really interesting to me in film. It’s always kind of standard. I also didn’t really want to film that. It wasn’t in my comfort zone, so we decided to do it in an experimental way to just feel what’s going on, and get a sense of what April is feeling rather than showing it in a straightforward way. There’s intense stuff in that book. It’s my way of dealing with it without really showing it.
We’re almost halfway through the year, but Emma Roberts has already owned it. Her stint as Madison Montgomery in American Horror Story: Coven spawned a meme for the ages and fans will be happy to know she’s returning next season for Freak Show. But, before all that, she’s in Palo Alto, Gia Coppola’s film adaptation of James Franco’s book. Roberts plays April, a well-rounded high school student dealing with all the things a teenager of the Internet Age deals with (partying, love, and, you know, this little thing known as life after high school.)
Lucky for Roberts, she’s found her footing at a young age. No one knows what the future holds, but she radiates so much confidence, it’s clear she’s not worried. She’s got an authentic air of joy about her and that smile sure is enviable. Ahead, Roberts on her love of TV, selfies with James Franco, and ignoring bad advice.
Let’s start with Palo Alto: What about April intrigued you? Why sign on to this story?
“I read the book and was a big fan. At the time I read it, I was 17, [and] it felt very original — like something I hadn’t read in a long time. It was really capturing youth in a way that I felt was really honest, instead of using the formula that books about teenagers use. I really liked that; I liked that the script stayed really true to the book. But, it also had this real Gia flavor to it. It was going to be something that would be creatively so fun to be a part of. I really wanted to work with James on something, so that was really cool too.”
How did April challenge you?
“Well, I’m so not like her at all, and I wasn’t when I was younger, so it was really interesting to play a character who was so opposite of me. I’m really outgoing and loud and she is really soft-spoken — and, a lot of the time, doesn’t even respond to people in the movie. So, when we were doing a lot of ad-libbing scenes, I would have to remind myself that I wasn’t myself and to not laugh like the loudest person in the room, and to not comment on something. Instead, I would sit and observe. It was cool to play more of a looker than a talker.”
The introvert versus the extrovert? That’s great. The ad-libbing was so seamless! What scenes?
“Most of it was ad-libbing! In every scene, in pretty much every take, things were different. The script was the bones of it, then once they cast everybody and saw our interactions, they encouraged us to ad-lib. Gia would have me do something and not tell Jack so we would get a reaction out of him. We wouldn’t know and it would make the scene have a whole other layer to it, which is cool.”
Your character kind of represents the millennial generation. Then again, the whole story did. Let’s talk about your character and Teddy: Do you think they got together at the end? Are we supposed to know?
“You know, it’s funny. I go both ways with that. Sometimes I think they totally got together and then, other times, I think it was two ships passing in the night. So, they would actually be like, in 20 years, ‘Oh I remember her. I was so in love with her, but I never made the move.’”
Well, that would be Palo Alto 2. That would be so fun. What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to your character?
“Out of everyone, I think she is the moral compass. I’d tell her to stick to her gut.”
Even Teddy? He has a relatively level head on his shoulders.
“I think that she has more perspective. Out of everybody, she knows that there is life after high school. Everybody else seems so wrapped up in it; I think she is a little bit more removed from it. I like that about her. So, my advice to everybody in the movie would to be to get some more perspective and realize that there is so much more that is going to happen after high school.”
Did you know, growing up in Hollywood, that you would pursue an education or just live life?
“Well, I was homeschooled for a long time and took a few years off. Then I went to Sarah Lawrence for a couple months. It wasn’t for me because it’s really hard to work and be in school. I know actresses do it, but I don’t know how they do it; it’s really hard to be present in both places. I really wanted to pursue working, but I’m never opposed to taking a class or something. I like to read a lot, so for me, I get most of my education from constantly reading on set. I try to read a book every couple of weeks because it keeps your memorization good and improves your attention span.”
Go on with more advice: What’s the best advice you’ve received, in terms of your career and in terms of your personal development? What’s the worst?
“The best advice I ever got was — it pertained to acting, but I think it would pertain to any job — like, if you aren’t really loving it, try to pursue something else. That’s something my mom would always say. ‘If you’re not having fun doing this, you don’t have to do this. You should do something else.’ So, I think it’s really important to like what you do, or at least have some sort of interest in it and be getting something from it too. Not just doing it to do it.”
So then, what is the worst advice?
“I have heard ‘Don’t become an actor because there is so much rejection.’ But, well, there is rejection everywhere. What can you do if you don’t get rejected? That little hope should make you want to try it.”
Can’t argue that! This is weird, but we want to know if there were any selfies on set? Your Instagram shows you really like taking selfies with famous people.
“I took a selfie today with me and James. Everyone was like, ‘Are you and James going to take a selfie?’ So we got our selfie. His selfies are always from that really funny low angle, so I asked him to take it like that, but he said no. So, we took a cute one that is on my Instagram. You can see it.”
Could you rank the top three people that you would want to take a selfie with?
“Oh my god, who would I want to take a selfie with? This is one of those times where my mind goes blank. I wanted a selfie with James Franco and I got one. Today!”
It’s surprising you didn’t do it on set.
“Yeah, I know! I feel like when we were on set, people weren’t really on their phones. It was a set that, in a way, felt really old school. Everyone actually hung out and talked; we were all like a team. There wasn’t that separation that you often see on sets where everyone is on their phone or in their trailer. Mostly, here, it was because we didn’t have trailers. We would all be sitting in a tent outside, hanging out and talking. Even on set, it was very getting to know each other, instead of being on our phones. It was cool because we are in a media-obsessed time. So, it’s nice to step away from the phone for a second. Step away from the selfie!”
Interesting that you bring that up. The movie itself doesn’t have a lot of that. You have the iPhone, but there is no social media aspect.
“It also gets too complicated to put social media in movies and TV. I think that it dates it so quickly. I feel like you should always show as few gadgets as possible…I think it dates it, and when you take social media out of it, it creates a more timeless kind of aspect to everything.”
And puts the focus on the characters and their relationships. I thought that was brilliant.
“I also feel that there is no artsy or creative way to show someone on their computer or on their phone. It always looks really cheesy. Whenever they show a Facebook page in a movie, it’s always super bad.”
Too true! What are you the most excited about coming up? What is the most important thing going on?
“As far as work, in July, I’m going back to American Horror Story for the big freak show! I’m really excited for that. It’s my favorite show. Getting to be on it last year was one of the highlights of my career, [and] I was so excited when they asked me to come back and do this next season. I love that it’s going to be a freak show and that it’s going to be a period piece this year. I love that on American Horror Story they transform everybody every year — you never really recognize the same people. So, I’m excited for my American Horror Story makeover.”
What do you hope they do to you? Would you be opposed to playing like a Siamese twin?
“I wouldn’t be opposed to playing any kind of freak. It would be so fun and so interesting. Last year, when everybody was talking about coming back, everyone said, ‘Emma’s going to come back and be the bearded lady!’ I was like, ‘Oh my god, you guys! Shut up!’ I would laugh so hard if I had to put on a beard every day. But why not?”
Why not? Do you think you will be the chain-smoking character again?
“We will see. I was kind of sad to put Madison to rest, I have to say. There is something cool about that show — when you get to play a new character every year — [and] I was excited about that. But, now I’m kind of like, ‘Wait! I’ll never get to play this character again.’ It was kind of bittersweet towards the end because I really grew to love Madison.”
How time-consuming is filming American Horror Story? “It is the most time-consuming thing I’ve ever done. TV is very time-consuming, especially during a one-hour [show]. Those episodes took a solid six months. But it is kind of nice to have a routine, because I had gone from movie to movie. When working on a show, you have a routine and you have your people everyday, and it almost becomes a Hollywood version of a 9-to-5. It becomes comforting. I like that…I like working on TV.”
We’ve been exploring the idea of your twenties and what a twenty-something thinks happens at 30. So, what do you think happens?
“In 30 years or when I’m 30?”
When you’re 30.
“Good. In 30 years, I will be 53. That will be really scary.”
That’s too far away.
“What am I doing when I’m 30? Hopefully doing what I love to do. Hopefully sitting here talking to you about something else that’s fabulous. I want to keep working. I want to do more movies, but I’m kind of loving TV. I’m not opposed to being on a great TV show. I love American Horror Story. I love Girls. I love Modern Family. So, I wouldn’t mind being on a great TV show, doing movies that I love. Hopefully, I will be doing something in fashion because I love fashion. I think that would be really fun.”
Cool. Are you designing anything?
“I’m not, but I hope I will be one day. I’m obsessed with magazines and fashion, so I would love to have something like that going on by the time I’m 30. For sure.”
Who would you say you pull most of your influence from, style-wise?
“Probably from blogs, actually. I’m not even so much obsessed with celebrity fashion — I love tumblr, I love looking at blogs. These [bloggers] have such good style; I’m more interested in real people street style than I am in celebrity style. I like real people style — I think that’s so cool right now.”