The busy young actress talks about her role in the remake and The Rum Diary as well
Amber Heard is easily one of the hottest young actresses out there, in more ways than one. After gaining acclaim for smaller roles in studio films like Friday Night Lights and portraying a young Charlize Theron in North Country and, of course, her lead performance as the title character in the cult horror classic All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, the actress has continued to add to her repertoire. The actress has more recently appeared in such hits as Never Back Down, Pineapple Express and the horror-comedy sensation Zombieland, Heard returns to theaters this weekend with the horror remake The Stepfather, which arrives in theaters on October 16. I met her and spoke with her briefly during my set visit last year, but earlier today I had the chance to speak with Heard exclusively over the phone about the film, and here's what she had to say.
I was curious about how you first came to the part and how you were initially attracted to this film?
Amber Heard: I read the script and I thought it was a good thriller. It's a thriller that doesn't hinge on who the killer is, or who the bad guy is. It's interesting and it doesn't need anything but the characters and the storyline to tell it. You know who the killer is, well hopefully you do, and it does have some other elements. I thought it was fun.
It looks like you and Penn Badgley worked really closely since your characters had such a long-standing relationship in the film, and it really looks like it came off well. Did it click right away with you and Penn?
Amber Heard: You know, I liked him. He's a cool person and he is a really great actor with a huge future in front of him. He's very easy to work with, in that regard.
One of the big changes from the original film was that it's a stepson instead of a stepdaughter, but it seems - when we were on the set - that there were these kinds of perverted elements with Dylan's character and your character. Can you talk about that whole dynamic?
Amber Heard: Yeah. I guess it was more of a predatory element than the original, even though I haven't seen the original. The dynamic between victim and predator has changed in this one. Because the main character is a boy, it takes that certain element out of it and the character was written as more of an adversary, as opposed to a victim. This is from what I understand of the original, because, like I said, I didn't see it. As far as off-camera goes, Dylan (Walsh) was a great guy, very friendly and easy to be around and there was nothing strange or creepy out being around him. We'd all joke when we were on set about it, but it was just a normal work setting. It was a fun, easy-going environment and we're making a thriller or a horror film or anything in that genre, it's easy to not take yourself seriously. It's easy to joke about the circumstances.
Can you talk about working with your director Nelson (McCormick)? Can you talk about his process as a director?
Amber Heard: Yeah, he has an incredible future ahead of him. He has a real way of working with actors and he's a very very interesting, nice, lovely person to be around, but he's also a talented director. I'm lucky that I've had chances in my career to work with people that were talented but also a pleasure to be around.
You have a number of films in various stages of development, but I'm really interested in The Rum Diary. Can you talk about working on that and your process in playing Chenault?
Amber Heard: Yeah. Chenault is a free spirit. She's kind of out of this world, in a way, and she's found herself in a very interesting world. She's in the middle of this interesting setting with very interesting characters propelling it. She finds herself in the middle between two very distinctly different worlds. One is me and my pursuit of monetary and physical wealth and the American dream, and the other world is one in which Johnny Depp finds himself in love with her, in a way. It's about falling into either one and the latter is kind of the rebuking of the former. The latter is a world that's easier to take for what it is, it's a façade. It's a tragedy, it's a love story, it's a beautiful tale of triumphs over any circumstances. It's a very impassioned story and the people working on it were very very involved with the novel, the author of the novel, Hunter S. Thompson. They were very involved in the project of what it felt to need and to be and become, so with everybody involved, I really have the highest hopes for this film.
I was a huge fan of the book and when I heard that you were cast as Chenault, I thought that was a perfect fit, so I'm really looking forward to that.
Amber Heard: Thank you so much, Brian.
Well, my time is up. Thanks so much for your time, Amber, and best of luck with everything you have coming up.
Amber Heard: Thanks, Brian.
You can see Amber Heard as Kelly Porter when The Stepfather opens on October 16.