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Alexandra Daddario Interview: The ‘Texas Chainsaw’ Star Talks Running Scared

Alexandra Daddario Texas Chainsaw 3D
Lionsgate

Forget all the other ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ sequels and reboots you may have seen. ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D‘ ignores all of those and considers itself a direct sequel to the 1974 classic. The film stars Alexandra Daddario in a role that isn’t just teenage scream queen. We talk to the actress (who you might recognize from TV’s ‘Parenthood’) about the challenges of running and crying and screaming all day as well as her choice to study the Michael Bay remake.

When you’re going through filming this, yes, you’re acting but it must take a physical toll to go through this for the duration of filming.

Yeah, it’s a really weird experience actually. You do run and scream and cry and work yourself up into hysterics and then you get back to the hotel at the end of the day and you feel really off and really strange. And that’s because rationally, even though you know everything is OK, you have put yourself through this traumatizing experience and your body is still going. It’s an interesting experience as an actress to go through that.

What are some of the things you can do to get yourself ramped up to do that day-after-day?

Some of it is definitely physical. Running and yelling and that kind of thing. You can’t be afraid to make a fool out of yourself (laughs). Or embarrass yourself in front of a bunch of strangers who you’re just getting to know. Some of it is emotional like trying to work yourself up into hysterical sobbing combined with the physical activity. That can bring you to a point of real emotional hysteria that can wort of build and build on itself.

What were you able to bring to the character – besides what is already on the page – to differentiate her from other horror film victims?

Well I think most of it was written, which was great. There’s this twist in the middle of the movie where the character finds out that she’s somebody different than she thought. I think I used the ability in knowing that she’s Leatherface’s cousin to think there’s a gene or something about her that’s different than normal people. She has a toughness and a darkness to her that’s different than just being scared. She has something in her that — like a different kind of strength. A darkness. That was really interesting to play.

Now as an actress do you play that throughout the movie or only tap into then when she consciously realizes that?

I think that the character is dark from the beginning of the film and there’s something different about her from the beginning of the film. And I think that it’s just sort of finding out who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy and that gets spun on its head. She sort of embraces that dark side of her as the film goes on.

Did you watch the 1974 original when you were cast or had you seen it prior to signing on to this movie?

I had not seen it prior but I watched it after I got the role. That and the Jessica Biel version. I thought it was…an amazing, amazing movie. Especially the way they made it on a shoestring budget and locally and it was such a difficult shoot. I thought it was just an amazing movie. And you see why the franchise has been around for 30-plus years.

Curious why you watched the Jessica Biel version out of all the follow-ups to the original…

Um, I chose to watch it to watch her performance specifically. Also out of curiosity as to what other films in the franchise had done since the original. I thought that I had seen one. But I mostly watched it because I wanted to watch her performance.

Was that because you admire her particularly as an actress?

I had heard really good things about her performance in the movie. And I was curious to see that film because it was the one sequel I had heard the most about. People said great things about it so I was curious to see it.

You haven’t seen any of the other sequels? There are some, uh, interesting ones.

No, but I really want to watch the Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger one! I mean, there’s a lot more that I have to watch that are on my list. In a certain respect, there are things – like a horror film – that are part of growing up as an actor. Everyone has the opportunity to do a horror film. There’s something great about it as an actor. You have to go to places you’d normally never go and be put in situations you would never be put into. You don’t get the opportunity in a lot of films to have this kind of acting. It’s an interesting challenge.

‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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