If you thought Carrie White flipped out at her prom in "Carrie," wait until you see the lengths Lola "Princess" Stone -- played by Robin McLeavy -- goes to in "The Loved Ones" to land her dream date. The critically acclaimed 2009 Australian horror film directed by Sean Byrne has been described as a combination of "Pretty in Pink" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" for its depiction of lonely Princess kidnapping and torturing (with the help of her dad) the guy she is crushing on. "The Loved Ones" is currently playing in select cities.
Aussie actress McLeavy, who turns 31 this month, comes from a theater background and jumped at the chance to play a girl who is a tad mental. McLeavy chatted us up about getting into her character's headspace and who she will be playing in this summer's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
Your character in "The Loved Ones" is singularly obsessed with taking one lucky guy to a school dance. How did you get into the headspace of a somewhat nutty character?
Well, the fact that she had a few screws loose is what drew me to her character. When I read the script, I loved that it was a female protagonist in a horror film -- because you don’t see that too often -- and she was the perpetrator of the violence. She's kind of this lonely, sad little girl who was just trying to get a date and it all goes horribly wrong. She's got to get her kicks somehow, so luckily she has a dad that helps facilitate that.
In real life, did you enjoy a more traditional and less bloody prom experience?
I didn't actually have a prom. In Australia we call them "socials," which is hilarious. I did always find them pretty awkward, because I went to an all-girls school. The prom is not as much of a big deal as it is in the States, but after watching "Carrie" and all of those prom movies, it's a pretty defining moment in terms of a girl's self-esteem. From that point of view, it was pretty interesting.
Also Check Out: "The Loved Ones" Trailer: Worst. Prom. Ever.
What was your first acting gig?
I have a background in theater. At the time I read "The Loved Ones" script, I was playing Catherine the Great of Russia onstage. Straight after that I played Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and Isabella in "Measure for Measure."
What appealed to me about "The Loved Ones" script was that it had this really theatrical element to it. I thought that the scope of this character is so broad, and there is so much fun to be had playing a crazy teenage loner. It was a great way to explore the delusions a mind can create. When a person has a mental episode, it's exhilarating and everything becomes vivid and more sensual. I ran with that to counteract the darker elements, like loneliness, a lack of intimacy and a dysfunctional family.
What is your dream role?
I love period dramas and language, but I love comedy as well. I used to do a lot of it as a kid and a teenager on my own time with my friends -- putting on silly voices and such. Comedy is definitely something I want to get back into.
Also Check Out: Q&A: "The Loved Ones" Star Xavier Samuel
What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
It's hard to boil [it] down to one movie. I love "The Graduate" and always go back to that. More recently, "A Woman Under the Influence" blew my mind in a thousand different ways. Gena Rowlands is great, and I loved the way [director] John Cassavetes facilitated improvisation.
Tell us about your upcoming role in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
I flew over to America and tested for the role of Mary Todd Lincoln, but I ended up playing the role of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, which was great because it let me play a good-hearted character in the horror genre. She is fostering the future president of the United States, which was a pretty cool idea. Timur [Bekmambetov] is such an amazing director, and his mind is in overdrive all of the time. Marton Csokas, who is also in the movie, did "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with me onstage in Australia, so we had a couple of defining scenes together in "Abraham Lincoln." Those were the coolest and goriest bits for my role.
Mac or PC?
New York or L.A.?
"The Hunger Games."
Rock or rap?
Beer or wine?
Twitter or Facebook?
Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake?
Vampires, zombies or werewolves?
I guess vampires? [laughs]
Lady Gaga or Madonna?
I'm going to go with Lady Gaga.
Apples or oranges?
UFC or WWE?
UFC is cage-fighting, so I'll go with that. When I was in "Streetcar" with Joel Edgerton, he had just come off "Warrior" and he was obsessed with cage-fighting, so he and I watched a few brutal matches together. I’m a huge martial arts fan.