Former fashion model Jaime King is certainly proving that she’s more than just a pretty face these days. On the big screen she plays a young woman terrorized by a serial killing miner in the 3D remake of My Bloody Valentine, and will be seen in her husband’s long awaited and much delayed Fanboys.
The actress is also about to direct a short film and has plenty of other cinematic irons in the fire. She talked exclusively to Paul Fischer.
Question: First of all, did you have any degree of reluctance to take something like this on? Or was it purely a way of escaping into a complete fantasy world?
King: Actually, it was – I didn’t really have any. Well, with anything genre, at first you want to make sure that it’s something that’s really spot-on. Do you know what I mean? Because I’m a huge genre freak, and I love sci-fi and stuff like that. So whenever I do one, I want to make sure that it’s going to be the best it possibly can be. You know. But when I got the script, and I met the director, it was so clear that this was going to be awesome.
Question: Why was that?
King: Why was that because of Patrick’s history as an editor – and he was Wes Craven’s go-to guy, and Guillermo del Toro and all these people, I knew that if anybody knew how to make the scares work, and make this film work, it was going to be him. I knew people that knew Patrick and really loved him. And when I met him personally, he just seemed so smart and so open, and I knew he was going to be great at collaborating with me.
Question: Were you told right from the outset, ” This is going to be in 3D?”
King: Yeah, they did tell me that.
Question: A lot of actors do concern themselves with how they’re going to look on-screen. When you are aware of the fact that you’re going to be in 3D, and that you’re really going to be in the audience’s face, do you approach the craft of acting differently?
King: No. Actually, I didn’t. I mean, I knew I was going to be in everybody’s face. But, I mean, I just thought that was kind of cool. Because it was such a new technology, that I felt honored to be able to be a part of it. And the only way you can approach acting with any technology is just to be authentic, as you would with any kind of movie. You know, you can’t change your form of acting just for the technology. Otherwise, it’s going to feel forced.
Question: One of the things about horror films is that you need to try to do something to make the characters interesting. Otherwise you as an actor probably will be as bored as the audience. So, what do you do to inject something into a character that gives the character a bit more emotional debt, that may not have appeared on the page?
King: There is a lot that I did. I tried to make my performance as grounded and as layered as possible, because there’s so much gore, and all that other stuff, I knew that part was going to take care of itself. So I spent a lot of time with the director. A lot of time with Kerr and a lot of time annoying the director with five phone calls a day and all my texts and notes, because I wanted to make her as grounded and as real, and as authentic as possible, so that people had something to identify with as she went through her crazy journey.
Question: The fun part, I suppose, particularly about an actress being in one of these movies, is you do spend the last act of the film in a state of peril.
King: Oh, yeah.
Question: How physically challenging is it to do those kinds of scenes?
King: It’s very physically challenging. I mean, we were working 18 hours a day, six days a week. Minimum. I mean, because when we got to the set, nobody knew how long it was actually going to take to do the movie. Because we didn’t realize that this new technology adds 30 percent more to your day. So imagine, like, a normal movie, which is already hard core enough when you’re trying to make a deadline. And then imagine it with the fact that it adds that much more. And, you know, you’re really in the shit. You know, we were in the mines. We were in the mud. We were literally on location. We weren’t on some cushy set next to the Four Seasons. We were in it all night long. So it was really hard core.
Question: Now, when they’re shooting a movie and it’s going to be in 3D, does the technology while you’re making the film – are you oblivious to it, or is it fairly obvious as you’re working?
King: Well, it’s not obvious while you’re working, because you can’t see what’s going on. It’s nice that they showed us the test, so that we got to see how absolutely amazing it was, because it’s not your old-school 3D. It’s like, the whole new technology and cameras have never been used before. And it truly is the wave of the future. Like, I really believe that every movie’s going to be in 3D.
King: Yeah, for sure.
Question: Have you seen the film yet?
King: Oh, yeah.
Question: How was your reaction when you first saw yourself in 3D?
King: I was really nervous. I mean, it’s hard enough to watch myself on the screen. I act because I love to act, not because I love watching myself. So, I get really squeamish. I get squeamish watching – I mean, some of my movies I haven’t even seen.
Question: Which one haven’t you seen?
King: I haven’t seen Pretty Persuasion. I’ve seen pieces of it, but I haven’t seen the whole film.
Question: It’s ironic, because you began as a model, where you’re always conscious of the way you look visually.Where does this kind of fear come from, then?
King: I don’t know. I think when I was younger – I don’t know. I just – it’s weird. As I get older, it seems like I have less vanity, do you know what I mean? And it’s more important for me to just do an excellent job with my performance. And I’m really a perfectionist. So when I watch myself, I found myself judging myself, thinking, like, ” Oh, what if I did this, or what if I did that?” But then sometimes I’m actually quite pleased with what I’ve done. But, you know, I think that a lot of actors are like that.
Question: Why was it important for you to make the transition from modeling to acting?
King: It was important to me because I love filmmaking, and because I love the art of acting. You know? When I did the transition, people weren’t doing that, you know what I mean? So it was kind of scary. Because there wasn’t really girls that went from modeling to acting. Maybe a couple of them, like you’ve heard about. But it wasn’t a big thing, like it is now. I just love – I always wanted to move people, and entertain people. And I’ve been like that since I was a kid. I love photography, and I love film. And with modeling, I didn’t feel like after a while that I was learning anything. So I turned 19, and I had saved a bunch of my money, and I had great success as a model. And I felt like it was time for me to move on.
Question: So, modeling was not a way to segue into acting. You did the modeling, and then you decided consciously to make that transition.
Question: How tough was it to be taken seriously, from one profession to the other?
King: You know, I was really blessed. I met the right people, and worked really hard with the right acting teachers, and then got cast right away in my first movie, Happy Campers. And then right after I did Happy Campers, I got cast in Blow. And then during Blow, I got cast in Pearl Harbor. So right away, it was very smooth. But I really worked my butt off to do it. But of course, as smooth as it was, it was also very difficult in the sense that people have a stereotype of what they think you are, because of the way that you look. But then when people would meet me and see me do what I do, then I used my ability to prove otherwise. If anybody works hard enough, I believe you can achieve something. But you have to put your ass on the line to do it.
Question: You’re not exactly old. [LAUGHTER] And yet, you’ve done close to 30 movies. Or 30 acting roles, I guess, from the beginning. So, you’ve become something of a veteran. Are you kind of surprised about this consistency of your success at such a young age?
King: Well, I started working when I was 14, so I got an edge up on the age thing, you know? I started working at a really young age. And I started acting at, like I said, 19. And I think just because I’m very perseverant, and because I love to work, because I started working at such a young age, I have a strong work ethic and I’m very creative. So when I’m not sparking myself creatively, it kind of drives me nuts. So I just studied a lot with my craft, and just go out for things. And, you know, just stayed really on top of things. And I’ve been very blessed.
Question: A film that you did some time ago, and I know you have a personal stake in this, for obvious reasons, is Fanboys.Being married to the director of that, how much do you see of the frustration that exists in the film industry?
King: Oh my God. I experience it firsthand in a major, major way. I mean, that’s been one of the most tumultuous, upsetting experiences I’ve had with the studio. You know. In one way, I love the Weinsteins. Because of them, I met my husband. You know, it was Harvey that asked me to go down and do Fanboys. And I really have a great relationship with them. But then when I see the way they treat Kyle and they treat filmmakers is absolutely absurd to me. You know, it seems like – but, you know what? The reason why it’s been such a great exactly, also, is because I’ve realized that because of the fans, we can take the movie – literally, it was because of the fans and because of the Web sites that they created and fought for the movie, that Kyle got his movie back. And so it’s showing to me that it’s a different day and age. And that this old school mentality, this Mafia mentality, isn’t going to work with people any more. The power of the Internet, the power of communication, and the power of the youth is so strong that I hope that kids continually choose to embrace and make a stand for what they believe in. And my husband is the ultimate fan. This is a love letter to everything that he’s loved since he was a child. He worked his ass off on this movie. He got paid barely anything to do it, but he did it because he loved it. You know what I mean?
Question: When are we going to see it?
King: It comes out next month, finally. The posters are out, the trailers are out. It’s like, thank God.
Question: Are they doing press? I mean, I have a very good relationship with the publicity people there, and I haven’t heard a thing.
King: Yeah. They’re doing a small premiere. And, you know, they’ve been doing press all along. But it’s kind of hard to sustain doing press, considering you have to do press for two years. Every month they tell them it’s going to be out, and this is it, this is it. And then they pull it, for whatever retarded version they choose to pull it for.
Question: It sounds like such a fun film.
King: Yeah. It’s so fun and people love it. That’s why it’s just baffling to me. But, you know. It’s all good, because the good thing is, is it’s finally coming out. Kyle got his cut back. And I’m really, really proud of him. And I’m proud of all the people that stood by him.
QUESTION: You are also fairly busy. Is there any word on what’s going on with Sin City 2?
King: Yeah. Frank has finished the script. I was just talking to him about it the other night. And now it’s just about working it out with the studio, and with everybody’s schedule, so we can get started.
Question: How would you compare the experience of working with Frank as a solo director, and working with him on Spirit? Which I’m one of the few people who got to see before it came out. I mean, how would you compare the experience?
King: You mean, working with Robert and Frank, with Frank solo? Well, you know, the difference is that – you know, when we did Sin City, Frank and Robert – it was really 50/50, in a lot of ways. Robert would come in and give me a direction, Frank would come in and give me a direction. Robert would come in, and Frank. So they were both very, very much involved. And then the only difference was that when we did The Spirit, it was just all Frank.
Question: Did you enjoy the experience of The Spirit?
King: Yeah, I did. You know, Frank is like my brother. We became so close after Sin City. And I’m with him and his girlfriend all the time. So I love doing something with my friends, you know? And I’m very proud of him. I think that people didn’t really love the film. But I think that people were expecting something different than what it was. People see The Dark Knight and see Iron Man, which are awesome films, but then they think all comic book movies are going to be like that. And this is more like a comic strip movie. Do you know what I mean It was quirky and out there. And I don’t think people were ready for that.
Question: Now, presuming you’re going to reprise the characters of Goldie and Wendy in Sin City 2. Do you know much more about how they plan to take your characters in the next film?
King: I do, but I’m not allowed to talk about it! [LAUGHTER]
Question: Oh, yeah. What a shocker. Here I was, thinking I would get a little exclusive tidbit from you.
King: Well, I know that they come back at the same time. There’s your exclusive.
Question: Thank you. I noticed that as much as you’re drawn to bigger studio movies, you also do a lot of smaller films.
King: I do.
Question: Do you find it difficult to find women to play that are interesting for you?
King: I do. I do sometimes. You know, I think sometimes it sucks, because people see the way that I look, and then they want to give me, like, the hot girl role, or this, or whatever. And that’s why I try to do so many diverse films. Because I don’t want to get stuck in that. Do you know what I mean? And if anything, it doesn’t fulfill me at all. I want to play characters that are interesting, and that are flawed, and that have a journey, and somewhere to go. And that I can bring deft and strength and range to. You know what I mean? So, that’s why I’ll do small movies, I’ll do big movies. I’ll do whatever it is that really makes me sing, you know, in my heart, when I read it.
Question: So, which of the films that you’ve got coming out are the ones that you’re the most excited about?
King: I’m really excited about Fanboys, even though that one I just did a cameo in. I’m really excited about the Clone War series that I’ve been doing with George Lucas’ company. His new animated series. God, there’s so many cool things that I’m really excited about.
Question: How about The Pardon?
King: The Pardon’s one of my favorites.
Question: Tell me about the character you play in that.
King: I play a true story about this woman named Toni Jo Henry, who is the first woman ever electrocuted in the state of Louisiana. She was a young girl who was basically raised in a brothel. And ended up becoming addicted to drugs, and then falling in love, and then gets clean and really cleans up her life, because she finally has someone that actually really loves her. Because her stepmother sold her to men when she was younger. And she had a really tragic life. And he was accused of killing a police officer and thrown in jail. And because she loved him so much, she wanted to do anything she could to raise the money to get him out of it, and ended up going on this, like – trying to go rob banks with this criminal guy that she met, that conned her and told her he could help her get money. And then when they went on this robbery spree, all these bad things started to happen, and she was blamed for it and they ended up killing her.
Question: Sounds like the feel-good film of the year.
King: It’s the feel-good movie of the year, exactly. But in turn – from all these mistakes that she made, she really started to – she became much more aware. And you can just see that through people’s mistakes in their life, they actually become quite blessed.
Question: What are you looking for at the moment? Or, what do you hope to do next, do you know?
King: Well, right now I’m getting ready to direct a short for Comedy Central, so I’m really excited about that. With BJ Miller, who’s the star of Cloverfield and the new Dreamworks movie She’s Out of My League. So I’m really looking forward to that.
Question: Are you asking your husband for tips?
King: Oh, yeah. For sure. I’m like, ” Dude, you’re helping me. You know, you’re going to be my crash course teacher.”
Question: Do you want to be a director?
King: I do.
Question: After you’ve seen what poor Kyle went through with Fanboys, you want to be a director.
King: Why? Because I love filmmaking and I’ve always wanted to direct. And I can’t imagine – as much as I love acting, I can’t imagine that just being the only thing that I do. For my love of telling stories is so great that it just doesn’t seem like only acting would fulfill that part of me.
Question: Do you want to be directed by Kyle again?
King: Absolutely. Yeah. Love it.
Question: Do you think this is the best time in your life, both creatively and personally, do you think?
King: It really is. I’m having so much more fun than I ever thought that I could imagine, really. You know? As I get older, I just have more and more fun. And I learn so much more. And I really become more of who I am. So I feel really excited and happy that I get to share myself creatively. And it’s just been a really blessed time in my life.