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Ready or Not's Samara Weaving on feminist heroines and speaking up on set
Samara Weaving might be a new face on U.S. and U.K. screens, but she's been in the acting game for quite a long time. The 27-year-old began her career back home in Australia, on the television series Out of the Blue, before earning more recognition as Indi Walker in the long-running soap opera Home and Away.
Now she's taken the lead in horror-comedy Ready or Not, playing the new wife of a rich kid who, on the night of her wedding, is the target of a ritual hunt by her new relatives. The fact that Weaving's Grace comes from nothing but her new family (played by Adam Brody, Nicky Guadagni, Melanie Scrofano, Elyse Levesque, Mark O'Brien, Kristian Bruun, Henry Czerny, and Andie MacDowell) has everything is a not-so-subtle nod to the socioeconomics and politics of the world today, and the actor told SYFY FANGRRLS that audiences are responding well to it.
"They have a certain catharsis, watching a family whose wealth seems to come from generations of dodgy deals unravel and seeing them turn into these desperate idiots," Weaving said. "Which I'm sure is some version of a guilty pleasure."
However, as much as the La Domas family are stereotypical of the 1 percent, Weaving wanted to make sure her heroine was not. "From the scary films that I have seen, I wanted to avoid laughing at the female protagonist," she explained. "Like her making illogical decisions and running up the stairs instead of down. That's always frustrating to watch, and I wanted her to be the complete opposite.
"Most of the women I know turn into heroes during distressing situations, and I got my inspiration from all of them, and I wanted Grace to make fast, logical decisions instead of ones out of panic and confusion."
Weaving had a lot of fun shooting this movie, as she felt that the filmmakers treated her with respect and allowed her to speak up — which hasn't always been the case. She quit her role in the Showtime series SMILF after two alleged breaches of her contract regarding mishandled sex scenes. The actor told FANGRRLS that she is learning to have more confidence to speak up, but is still finding it difficult.
"This project was a really lovely surprise, but I think I'm still struggling a little bit with that," Weaving said. "I guess people don't realize when they see a young woman and don't see she's already been working for 11 years, but I was very fortunate with Ready or Not that they saw me as part of the team, that I had a voice and they let me use it."
Weaving says writers Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy allowed her to "modify a lot of ideas about Grace" when she came on board, and was grateful that she played a part in the process of making her a strong female character for the modern age of horror — especially when she's not a horror movie fan.
"I have a hard time watching scary movies," she chuckled. "I'm an anxious person, so it's like going to a movie theater and paying someone to make me even more anxious! Still, it's so much fun to do because you know what's going to happen with the surprises."
One of Weaving's favorite things about the shoot is the wedding dress, or, more accurately, the wedding dresses plural, as there were 17 versions for her to wear throughout the film to show the different stages of its destruction where they are in the plot.
"The dress comes in handy, it's a weapon she can use it to defend itself," Weaving said. "She uses it very logically, rather than letting it get in the way, you know, she's not too attached to her wedding dress. She doesn't mind that she can tear it up and go."
It's certainly an iconic look, and by the movie's end, it's hard not to see Grace as a Scream Queen herself. "Is that what I am?" Weaving asked, in response to the suggestion. "I guess that's cool. I did scream a lot, so I get that, but queen? I don't know about that yet!"
Ready or Not is in cinemas now.