Sara Lindsey talks Jack Reacher and Promised Land

Sara Lindsey talks Jack Reach and Promised Land, both in theaters this holiday season

Sara Lindsey is a name that rests just on the tip of the tongue, but not for long, as this burgeoning young actress has two very important roles in two of this year's biggest holiday releases. First up, she will appear this Friday in Jack Reacher, bringing the film to its rousing conclusion alongside Tom Cruise. And then on December 28th, she will appear in Gus Van Sant's drama Promised Land, playing opposite Matt Damon and John Krasinski. A unique and very interesting performer, not to mention incredibly beautiful, we caught up with Sara to find out more about her work as this year in film comes to its close.

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What's it like to be young in Hollywood? Here's our conversation.

I haven't been able to see either of these movies yet, because the studio is just on the eve of screening them. Maybe you can tell me a little bit about them. Who are you playing in Jack Reacher?

Sara Lindsey: Yes. In Jack Reacher I play a woman that is in an abusive relationship. Tom Cruise comes to my rescue at the very end of the film. I know that the book is really popular. I have seen [author] Lee Child talking about the movie and the book. Tom Cruise's mission in the movie is to do the right thing no matter what. Whether that goes against the law, or what most people think, he stands up for the underdog. My character comes in at the very end, and that is what he does for me. He sees the situation I am in with this guy, and he basically redirects him. He tells him to go shove off, in a sense, and he protects me in this public situation. It carries Tom's throughline of doing the right thing, always, ending it with my character.

Is this abusive boyfriend tied into the sniper that Jack Reacher is hunting?

Sara Lindsey: No, he is not. He is separate from the plot of the sniper. My scene puts a cherry on the top of Tom's character. Jack will not stop. His mission in life is to do the right thing, and this is an example of that. And then it's onto the next thing.

So, this parting scene is setting us up for the sequel, which, with as popular as the books are, we can all guess is coming...

Sara Lindsey: Mmm-hmm. Probably. (Laughs)

Is there any talk that you may return for the sequel in a more substantial role? Is it possible that there could be a relationship between your character and Jack Reacher?

Sara Lindsey: It's sort of funny. After we shot our scene, it was very emotional, and I was crying...After we shot it, the director was like, "Great. Jack Reacher 2. We open with Sara's character." He started saying all of this stuff. But, you know, it's always up in the air. I would love to do that, and it would be a great throughline from Jack Reacher 1 to Jack Reacher 2. (Laughs)

I don't think he has a steady girlfriend in the books. Maybe she's the girl that is lingering around in the background of his drifter lifestyle.

Sara Lindsey: Yeah. Oh, my gosh! Can you image me and Jack Reacher in love?

There has been a lot of talk about Tom Cruise and his stature in terms of Lee Child's character, and the way he is written on the page. Some people felt, in terms of physical appearance, Tom wasn't right for the role. Lee disagreed completely, saying he was perfect. The trailer comes out, and now we're all inclined to agree. Why do you think Tom Cruise was perfect for this role?

Sara Lindsey: I have seen the film, and he is a force. He is a complete bad ass in the movie. I was actually talking to some of my guy friends about it, to get their perspective. Just because they are more prone to, not only action movies, but also getting in fights. (Laughs) They explained to me that it definitely comes into play. You see a bigger guy, and it means certain things in terms of how you're going to fight, or whatever. I don't know...Tom Cruise does all of his own stunts. He does all of the fighting himself. He is an expert stage combat fight guy. And he completely sold it for me. I love him as the character, and I think everyone else will, too.

You bring up an interesting point, though, in that you talked with your guy friends about it. It was actually women who had a problem with the casting of Tom Cruise. I don't think men cared.

Sara Lindsey: That is so strange. He'll prove them all wrong!

You also have Promised Land coming out at the same time...

Sara Lindsey: I know. It's crazy. Timing...

What is that like, to have two huge movies coming out back-to-back? Especially for an up-and-coming actress just starting out in her career?

Sara Lindsey: It's strange. It's a little bit of an anticipation game. I am waiting and waiting. I'm in the Promised Land trailer for a quick minute, and my friends are like, "We just saw you on the big screen! We just saw the trailer!" They are texting me all of this stuff. It's a little nerve racking. I'm used to doing theater. That's where I got my training, in college. When you do theater, you get to come out afterward, and your friends are like, "Hey, we love the show!" Or whatever. They are there right afterward, and you are there as well. With movies, its different, because you are not there performing, so they are seeing a pre-captured performance, but they are giving you there feedback as if you just did it, because they just now saw it. As if it was theater. Its fresh for them. So, it's a different thing. And with two movies coming out at the same time, it's just about waiting. I'm really looking forward to what my friends think. Because they are the most honest, and the best barometer. You know, I love hearing from them. It's interesting to see the two movies come out at the same time. I definitely feel award season buzz for the first time with these two movies coming out now.

Now, are you familiar with the backlash that Matt Damon and Gus Van Sant experienced the last time they teamed up?

Sara Lindsey: No. I have been tuned in and clued in to a little bit of stuff. This is with Gerry, correct?

Yes, people were so upset that it was just Matt Damon and Casey Affleck walking around the desert for hours, doing mostly nothing. Can you put people's minds at rest? Promised Land doesn't have that much walking in it, right?

Sara Lindsey: Oh, my gosh (laughs)! That is too funny. Will it just be Matt Damon walking around? I can assure you that is not what the movie will be. He does walk a little bit. I walk a little bit. But the movie is definitely much more than just Matt Damon walking. That much is for sure.

Can you give me some background on your character in the film?

Sara Lindsey: Definitely. Yeah. The film opens with two sales people who come to town to try and lease the town's land for hydraulics fracking. Frances McDormand and Matt Damon are a team. Fran comes to my house, and she talks to me about leasing my land. I play a single mom with a ten-year-old kid, who is trying to make it on her own. This fracking, this losing of my land, comes as a very lucrative opportunity for me, and it will get me back on my feet. I will let the rest unfold from there, in the theater. But it eventually comes down to a big decision, and that's what the movie highlights. It is a big decision, to frack or not to frack. It's something that deserves consideration and a lot of thought.

Fracking. That is a word we are hearing and seeing a lot in the news nowadays. This sounds like a very timely movie.

Sara Lindsey: It is very topical.

Why do you think they had the insight to make this so timely. A lot of movies sort of miss the train when it comes to topics like this, especially with how hard it is to get any movie off the ground, and timing...There's that word again. This is perfect timing...

Sara Lindsey: Perhaps Matt Damon and John Krasinski are clairvoyant. When I would talk to them about it, separately, they both said, "We met, we wanted to work together, and I wanted to make a movie about American identities. What it means to be living in America at this time." They decided upon this background of fracking, because there was another writer working on a similar thing to their original idea. Fracking had just started to peter into the news. They thought it would be a great backdrop for what it means to be human, right now in America. I think the timing was just by chance. The goal of the movie is to start a dialogue. Not to take a side on any issue. It just sort of happened that it was so timely.

How disappointing is it to be in a Gus Van Sant movie that isn't taking place in Portland?

Sara Lindsey: So disappointing! I really want to visit Portland. I just want to get a bike and ride around the city for an entire week. But, yeah, he has done so many films in and around Portland. He definitely brings that sensibility to his work. He is very old school. He is not concerned with the glitz and glamour of anything. If his movie doesn't have glitz and glamour, he's not going to put it in just because it's a Hollywood movie. I don't know how much of that is influenced by the fact that he is in Portland. But I do know that not living in Hollywood leaves him with more of a sense of grounded reality than, perhaps, some of the other directors out there.

Speaking on the naturalism in his movies, I know he goes back in forth in terms of make-up and whether or not he uses it on his actors. Sometimes he doesn't. Where was the medium here?

Sara Lindsey: It was a mix. I am wearing some of my own clothes in the movie. A T-shirt with their shoes. That way, it is mixed. I'm wearing a little bit of make-up, but not a lot. My hair is messed up...I remember one day when we were shooting, and he goes, "Sara, your hair is too nice. Too nice! Mess it up." He is bringing that real sensibility, about what these people are really doing. Which is not putting on lip glosses every five minutes. He definitely mixes it up a little bit, in the technical side of how it's done.

Matt Damon won an Oscar for writing, so it can't come as too much of a shock to see his name on a script. But what's it like to get a piece of writing, and it's attributed to both Matt Damon and John Krasinski? That has to be a little bit odd...

Sara Lindsey: Yes, I was like, "How did I end up with this amazing script?" (Laughs) It was so funny. I thought about it. I'd seen The Adjustment Bureau, and Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are married. I figured that John and Matt Damon probably met at that point, and they hit it off. Once I talked to them, they said that is exactly what happened. They started to become friends, and it was clear that they really respect each other, and they think each other is awesome. So, they teamed up for this script. I think its great, because it plays to both of their strengths. John has that levity, and a sense of realism that he is so talented with. And Matt brings that all-American, epic story element. It was a pleasure to work on this. And I'm excited for the film to come out.

You were in Fun Size, too. I haven't seen that yet, either, but it looks like a really fun movie.

Sara Lindsey: It is a really fun movie. It's a teen comedy. It was really fun to do. I got to play this college girl who dresses up like a sexy nurse, so that was fun. I worked with Chelsea Handler, and she couldn't have been nicer. It was my first time doing night shoots. That was an interesting type of adjustment. But it was great, and the movie is a lot of fun. Its good for Halloween. I'm excited for it to come out on DVD so I can play it next Hallowed. It's very cool!