Today I’m chatting with Lili Reinhart, a rising young actress with a penchant for playing dark, creepy, complex characters. It always interests me when someone gravitates toward an ominous left-of-center and Lili is a perfect example of this. So, I’m very excited to learn more about the reason for her affinity for these roles and what is in store for her in 2012.
Greg Coutu (GC ) – So, Lili, it’s been a crazy year for you. Please tell us about some of the projects you’ve work on and what’s in store for you professionally in the near future.
Lili Reinhart (LR) – In the past year, I’ve worked on two feature films and two shorts; all scheduled for release in the summer 2012. I also shot a television episode of Law and Order: SVU which aired November 30th. I got a manager in April and a few months later, I signed with my agency, ICM.
Nothing is set in stone for me, career wise, in the near future. I’ve been recording tons of auditions and I’m about to enter pilot season. This means A LOT more auditions will be coming up.
GC – I was fortunate to be able to catch your performance in Law and Order SVU recently. You played a homicidal sociopath and played it well, I must say. Almost too well. What did you draw upon emotionally in order to play that part?
LR – For SVU, I was instantly drawn to the character of Courtney. She’s as opposite of me as you can possibly get. I like playing characters that are dark and somewhat evil. It challenges me as an actress.
I taped my audition for Courtney at my house and sent it in to the casting directors via my agent and manager. A week or so later, I was on my way to New York City for some auditions and my manager and agent called, telling me that I booked the role!
As for playing Courtney, it was definitely a challenge. She is a smart girl who knows how to play her cards right. In my ending scene, I thought about Alfred Hitchcock’s movie ‘Psycho,’ and how in the end, the killer has hardly any emotion or any sense of distress and sadness. The director of that SVU episode gave me notes after each take. He was telling me “don’t act.” He wanted me to seem completely emotionless and completely bitchy.
GC – Although it is well known that you are a well-rounded actress that can play all sorts of roles, I’ve heard that you really enjoy the strong, dark, creepy ones. Why do you think that is?
LR – I’ve always been attracted to roles that are dark and/or creepy. It’s a chance for me to play a character that is completely opposite of who I really am. For me, it’s just fun. I like to play the crazy killer or psychopath. I find those types of characters more interesting and intense.
GC – What would be your dream role and why?
LR – Hmm.. my dream role? Not sure I have one. I have auditioned for many things in this past year and I always fall in love with many different types of roles/characters. I guess I would say that my dream role is to play a character who is smart, a little dark, and extremely unique. Once again, I’m always attracted to the darker characters. I think one reason why is because it’s fun to dress up like a goth or a witch. I’m very big on makeup and special effects, so when I get an audition for a goth teenager, I go all out. I put on black clothes, black boots, unique jewelry, etc. I always apply my makeup to fit the character which is really fun.
GC – Sticking to the “dark” theme, give me your two favorite dark female roles and the actresses that played them. What about each of these roles and performances attracted you?
LR – My favorite dark role of all time is Nina from Black Swan, played by Natalie Portman. I absolutely love Natalie; she’s a really big inspiration of mine. When I first saw that movie, I was amazed. I loved everything about the character!! She was so sweet, yet so evil.
Another dark female lead that I love is Elphaba from the Broadway musical Wicked. I saw that play in Cleveland a few years ago. It blew my mind! From then until now, I’ve always wanted to play Elphaba on stage. She’s such a beautifully written character. She’s deep and interesting and quirky.
GC – After you play a role like the one on SVU, do you feel the need to skip rocks and pet puppies in order to bring yourself back to emotional normalcy?
LR – Haha, you would think so! But honestly people have been nice about my crazy role on that show. A lot of people in my school watched that episode, including all my teachers. They were all really supportive. I’m a good kid and they know that. I’m a straight A student after all!
GC – Tell us about your latest project, Lilith, directed by Sridhar Reddy. Can you give us a little into to the character you play in that film?
LR – I filmed Lilith in May of 2010. It was my first movie, actually. It was a blast! Sridhar, the director, is a genius and I’m so incredibly blessed that I am able to be a part of this film.
I play the role of ‘Lilith’ in the film, but I’m not the lead. The story line revolves around my character, but Lilith’s older sister, Sarah, is the lead. Sarah is played by Julia Voth. It follows Sarah’s journey through hell and back as she relives her past and all the horrors that come with it.
GC – Is there any break in the near future for Lili Reinhart? If so, what is your idea of relaxation?
LR – I’m actually taking a little break right now! I’ve been sending in auditions like crazy, but as of now, I have nothing going on. Bob Mahaffey, the director of my film ‘Gibsonburg’, is actually writing a movie for me that he hopes to shoot this March. Also, I’m planning on filming with J.C. Schroder in the fall of 2012 for his movie ’40 Miles’, which I booked in May 2010.
My idea of relaxation? Hmmm. Ideally, it’s sitting on a beach drinking a virgin strawberry daiquiri in the sun. But considering I live in Ohio, I love to just hang out with friends. We always watch movies together and go out to eat. I really love to sing as well. Whenever I’m stressed out I love to just belt out some songs and shut out the world. Musicals are always what I sing along to
Thank you, Lili!
Greg Coutu – Circle One One
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