Calling Longlegs star Maika Monroe a “scream queen” is a little bit of an understatement at this level. Perhaps the time period “scream empress” is extra applicable for an actor who already solidified her style cred a decade in the past with the one-two punch of cult classics, The Guest and It Follows. In the last decade since, she’s added just a few extra style gems to the checklist together with Greta (2018), Villains (2019) and Watcher (2022). And, as of this Friday, Monroe returns to the large display in Osgood “Oz” Perkins’ Longlegs, which already boasts essential acclaim and hype on the extent of David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows after its 2014 Cannes premiere and 2015 launch.

Monroe’s current run of fine fortune is all of the extra vital when it’s contextualized with the truth that she almost give up the business previous to capturing Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s Villains in 2018.

“I think I overworked myself. I was in this phase of wanting to take every job, and I felt like that’s what I had to do. I did about seven films back to back, and they weren’t all great experiences. Some good, some bad,” Monroe tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a very weird job and it’s a very weird industry, and there can be a darkness around it. So I was just in a mental state where I was like, ‘This isn’t feeling good to me anymore.’ And so I just needed to disconnect for a second.”

The Santa Barbara native credit Berk and Olsen for serving to her rediscover her love of performing, and since then, she’s been firing on all cylinders. She even reteamed with the underrated directing duo by the use of October 2022’s well-received sci-fi horror movie, Significant Other. Not lengthy after, Monroe met with Perkins in regards to the position of FBI agent Lee Harker in Longlegs, however she quickly heard that her current scorching streak could be coming to an finish. 

“I left the meeting feeling great, and then my team was like, ‘Actually, Oz is not sure if you’re right for this role.’ And I was like, ‘No! I have to play this role,’” Monroe remembers. “That happens sometimes where you’re sent a script. You just get this feeling that it’s a necessity.”

For an actor like Monroe who’s been working steadily for over a decade, the benefit is that she doesn’t should put herself on tape as typically as newcomers do. She’s carried out a lot materials in all kinds of genres that filmmakers and casting administrators know what she’s able to at this level. There are at all times exceptions, in fact, and within the case of Longlegs, Monroe was keen to make a self-tape and not using a second’s hesitation.

“I talked with my team about it. I was like, ‘What can I do? I will send in a tape. I’ll do whatever,’’’ Monroe says. “So I ended up picking a couple scenes from the script and sent a tape in, and that’s how I got the job.”

Set in 1993, Monroe’s intuitive FBI character is tasked with pursuing the Satanic serial killer often known as Longlegs (Nicolas Cage), and because the advertising for the movie signifies, Harker and Longlegs finally come head to head in an interrogation room. Monroe and Cage had been remoted from each other all through the whole thing of manufacturing, creating an excessive amount of anticipation round their showdown. And, upon wrapping their confrontation scene, Monroe lastly met Nicolas Cage for the primary time.

“When we finally finished the last take and called cut, that was the first time I heard [Cage’s] real voice. He leaned over the table and he was like, ‘I’m a real big fan of you,’” Monroe shares. “I then just looked around and was like, ‘Did everyone just hear that? Did everyone catch that? Because Nick Cage just said he’s a big fan.’ So it was a pretty insane moment for me.”

Six months after wrapping Longlegs for Neon, it was introduced in October 2023 that the indie studio could be bringing Monroe and Mitchell again collectively for They Follow, the long-awaited sequel to It Follows. When this THR author spoke to Monroe for Watcher in June 2022, one level of dialogue was about how Mitchell had been lacking in motion since his It Follows follow-up, Under the Silver Lake (2018). The Andrew Garfield-led pic underwhelmed commercially regardless of shortly creating one more cult following for the filmmaker, who’s now in manufacturing on Flowervale Street starring Anne Hathaway and Ewan McGregor. 

Well, on the time of her final THR interview, Monroe acknowledged that she wanted to test in with Mitchell, and she or he ended up doing precisely that. 

“I did reach out to [David Robert Mitchell] and we started a communication. He actually wasn’t the first person to bring to my attention that a sequel [to It Follows] was in the works. I think that was because he wasn’t sure yet. He was probably working on the script at the time, and he’s very particular, but my team started [talks],” Monroe says. “There was just this little buzz in the background of what he was currently working on, and then it became very real. I was sent the script, and it’s incredible. Neon then came on board, and here we are.”

While Monroe by no means really thought a sequel would ever come to fruition, she reveals that They Follow‘s story is definitely something she couldn’t have predicted, including, “I definitely was surprised when I read the script. It was not what I expected.”

Below, throughout a current dialog with THR, Monroe additionally breaks down her idiosyncratic efficiency as Lee Harker in Longlegs, earlier than addressing her have to inquire with The Guest filmmaker Adam Wingard about his personal long-gestating sequel.

When I final spoke to you for Watcher, you dropped a bomb on the very finish of our interview, and I didn’t have any time left to actually dig into it. You primarily mentioned that proper earlier than you shot Villains (2019), you nearly gave up acting. 

Yep!

What was happening on the time? 

I feel I overworked myself. I used to be on this part of eager to take each job, and I felt like that’s what I needed to do. I did about seven movies again to again, they usually weren’t all nice experiences. Some good, some dangerous. It’s a really bizarre job and it’s a really bizarre business, and there generally is a darkness round it. So I used to be simply in a psychological state the place I used to be like, “This isn’t feeling good to me anymore.” And so I simply wanted to disconnect for a second.

You then gave credit score to Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s Villains for serving to you fall in love along with your job once more. Now, you might have Watcher, Longlegs, They Follow and several other different nice tasks to point out for it. Was this additionally a reminder to stay affected person?

Absolutely. This business and this job might be actually onerous on you, mentally, and I simply wanted to take a step again after which enter in once more. I’m now having such unimaginable experiences on films that persons are connecting with, so taking my time, being affected person, not needing to do all the pieces and being choosy has been key. 

Maika Monroe as Lee Harker in Longlegs.

Courtesy of NEON

Did Longlegs start with an electronic mail, like most issues? 

It definitely did. It all begins with a easy electronic mail. I used to be despatched the script, and I completely beloved it. I then met with Oz, and I used to be simply enamored by his imaginative and prescient and his concepts for this. So I left the assembly feeling nice, after which my workforce was like, “Actually, Oz is not sure if you’re right for this role.” And I used to be like, “No! I have to play this role.” That occurs generally the place you’re despatched a script. You simply get this sense that it’s a necessity, and so I talked with my workforce about it. I used to be like, “What can I do? I will send in a tape. I’ll do whatever.” So I ended up choosing a pair scenes from the script and despatched a tape in, and that’s how I obtained the job. 

You’ve labored with various style filmmakers at this level: David Robert Mitchell, Chloe Okuna, Adam Wingard, Berk and Olsen, Neil Jordan. So what makes Oz Perkins Oz Perkins? 

He’s very, very humorous. He has an awesome humorousness. Normally, there’s a darkness that comes with genius, and whereas Oz is a genius, he doesn’t take himself too critically. So his nice humorousness was good to have on a really darkish set.

In his scripts, he’ll really write out a personality’s ideas, not simply their dialogue and motion. Was that basically useful for a personality who doesn’t discuss rather a lot?

Oh yeah, for positive. It’s so informative, and it helps you construct out this character whereas figuring out what Oz’s imaginative and prescient for it’s. 

Lee typically zones out in scenes, even when different persons are speaking to her. Where did that alternative originate? 

Some of it was positively on the web page, however I do suppose we discovered Lee and her oddness [later]. On day one in all filming, she’s thrown into her first FBI mission, and she or he’s with one other younger FBI agent, knocking door to door to search out this man. And, on that day, she zones out, however the zoning out is her instinct kicking in. So we discovered these little quirks and what makes her tick and her physicality on that first day. It was very cool. 

Maika Monroe in Longlegs.

Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

Similar to me earlier than this interview, she does this actually sharp respiratory when she’s scared. 

(Monroe keels over with laughter.)

Did it take rehearsal to search out that precise rhythm? 

No, that simply got here out of me on the day!

Porcelain dolls are a motif on this movie, so did hair and make-up attempt to design Lee’s hair and make-up to appear like a porcelain doll to some extent? 

Wow, that’s very attention-grabbing. It wasn’t a alternative, however now I want that it was. That’s an awesome thought and concept, and if it was meant, I used to be not conscious of it.

I’ll observe up on it with Oz. 

Please do! [Writer’s Note: I did, and Oz was also unaware of any intention.]

Nick’s character hangs over the film for fairly some time, so did they attempt to create that very same dynamic off digital camera by conserving the 2 of you separate for many of manufacturing? 

Yes, they did. I didn’t see him or any photographs of him. I didn’t meet Nick till they known as motion. That’s after I opened the door to a room and noticed him for the primary time.

As the advertising reveals, there’s an enormous interrogation scene between the 2 of you. How did you retain it collectively whenever you have been reverse such an enormous efficiency? 

(Laughs.) I don’t know. I feel I blacked out as a result of it was most likely some of the insane experiences I’ve ever had on a set. Nick Cage is simply such an icon. Everyone is aware of him, everybody is aware of what he seems like and the way he talks. He’s Nick Cage. So I used to be put into this room, and whereas I knew that it was him, there was no resemblance in any respect. And, as you recognize, his efficiency is totally insane. So I used to be reverse this monster, and it was so surreal, making it very straightforward to faucet into my character that day.

Maika Monroe as Lee Harker in Longlegs.

Courtesy of NEON

Lee’s mother (Alicia Witt) is a hoarder, so there’s a field within the movie that accommodates Lee’s enamel, hair and nails from completely different ages. What was your response whenever you realized that the props division took it upon themselves to recruit these bits from their very own members of the family? 

You hate to listen to it. (Laughs.) You actually hate to listen to it. Oz informed me that as I used to be choosing them up within the scene. So I dropped them shortly, and I used to be  like … (Monroe imitates her visceral response to such a revolting concoction.) But the dedication that they’d on this movie ran deep.

Are you keen to take a polygraph that Kiernan Shipka really performed Carrie Anne Camera? I couldn’t consider it after I noticed her title within the credit.

(Laughs.) Yes, I’m keen and in a position to do this for you. 

Did you test underneath the wig to verify? 

I did, sure. 

Amazing work. 

I couldn’t agree extra. It was spectacular. 

Last time we spoke, I additionally remarked that it appeared like It Follows director David Robert Mitchell had fallen off the face of the earth, and also you agreed by saying that you just’d been which means to achieve out to him. Well, you could’ve reached out to him, as a result of all of our hopes and desires are actually coming true within the type of a sequel often known as They Follow. How did all of that go down?

Well, I did attain out to him and we began a communication. He really wasn’t the primary individual to carry to my consideration {that a} sequel was within the works. I feel that was as a result of he wasn’t positive but. He was most likely engaged on the script on the time, and he’s very explicit, however my workforce began [talks]. There was simply this little buzz within the background of what he was presently engaged on, after which it turned very actual. I used to be despatched the script, and it’s unimaginable. Neon then got here on board, and right here we’re.

Maika Monroe as Jay Height in David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows.

RADiUS-TWC/Courtesy Everett Collection

You’ve had all these years to think about what a sequel is likely to be like, so does it align with what you anticipated? Or is it nothing such as you anticipated? 

No, nothing [like I expected]. There was additionally by no means a thought in my thoughts that there could be a continuation. So I positively was stunned after I learn the script. It was not what I anticipated.

You have been virtually born within the water, however are you going to begin swimming laps once more to get again into Jay’s headspace? 

I feel I’m going to should, sure. I just lately moved close to the ocean, so I plan to begin a fairly strict routine to get myself ready. 

She likes to drift as properly, so please bear in mind to do a number of floating workouts. 

(Laughs.) I’m positively going to combine it up and attempt to get a very good steadiness.

Last time, I additionally whined to you about how I had just lately talked to The Guest mind belief and that they appeared to have little curiosity in a Guest sequel. Well, I simply spoke to Adam Wingard and Dan Stevens once more just lately, they usually have been nonetheless fairly blasé about it. But Adam did say one thing that was each unhappy and attention-grabbing. He mentioned that the late nice Lance Reddick would’ve been involved in no matter sequel concept he did have, although Lance’s character died defending your character.

I had no concept! This is my first time listening to about this. There’s at all times rumors of a sequel, however that’s attention-grabbing. I’m going to have to speak to Adam about this.

Yes, you’ll should take the identical strategy that you just took whenever you tracked down David after our final interview.

Clearly, I’ve some pull, so I’ll get on it. You’ve actually began a series response right here. This is sweet.

A query in Longlegs is whether or not Lee can bear in mind her ninth birthday, however I don’t suppose I can bear in mind mine both. Can you bear in mind your ninth birthday? 

No, I positively can’t. I don’t even know why I pretended for a second that I might bear in mind. But I bear in mind my thirteenth birthday. That was the primary one which I actually bear in mind as a result of I broke my arm every week earlier than it. So I made all of my associates wrap their arms up and put slings on so they might really feel what it felt prefer to not be capable of use their proper arm. 

Was this the results of a kiteboarding mishap? [Writer’s Note: At one point in her life, Monroe was basically the Caitlin Clark of kiteboarding.]

(Laughs.) No, it was a scootering accident. I ran straight right into a storage, as occurs generally.

Maika Monroe as Lee Harker and Nicolas Cage as Longlegs in Longlegs.

Courtesy of NEON

Decades from now, whenever you look again on Longlegs, what day are you going to recall first? 

Of course, it’s annoying to say this once more, but it surely must be after I walked into that room and I noticed Longlegs. It’ll be a reminiscence that I’ll most likely carry to my deathbed. It’s ingrained in my mind.

Does Nick make small discuss in between takes? Will he ask about kiteboarding and the climate? 

No, not till it was his final day of filming. Throughout that entire day of capturing, he was in character with the Longlegs voice. And then, after we lastly completed the final take and known as minimize, that was the primary time I heard his actual voice. He leaned over the desk and he was like, “I’m a real big fan of you.” I then simply regarded round and was like, “Did everyone just hear that? Did everyone catch that? Because Nick Cage just said he’s a big fan.” So it was a fairly insane second for me.

Have you ever tried going that deep into character? 

I’m not a lot of a way lady. Mental well being is necessary for me, and since plenty of the roles that I do are extremely darkish, it’s simply a lot more healthy for me to step out of it.

***
Longlegs opens within the film theaters July 12.

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