Carrie Set Visit Report Part 2: Cast Soundbites with Judy Greer, Alex Russell, Portia Doubleday and More
In Part 1 of our Carrie set visit report, we heard from director Kimberly Peirce and star Chloe Moretz regarding their thoughts on the upcoming retelling of the classic Stephen King novel.
We also discussed what they both did to prepare for the project, working with Julianne Moore and much more in regards to their experiences during production.
For this portion of our set visit interviews, we were able to sit down with several of the Carrie co-stars including Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell and Ansel Engort. In Peirce's film Greer is portraying well-meaning educator Miss Desjardin, and during her roundtable chat she discussed how her character is really the catalyst for all the tragedy that happens in Carrie. Doubleday (who was fantastic in the recent indie thriller K-11) chatted about what we can expect from resident mean girl Chris Hargensen in Screen Gems’ upcoming production, and newcomers Russell and Engort talked about their respective roles as Billy and Tommy in the film.
Check out the highlights from our Carrie set interviews, and look for the film to arrive in theaters everywhere on October 18th.
Judy Greer on paying homage to the original Carrie: I love the book even more than the movie, and I felt like because I was such a huge fan, I didn’t want to dispense with it. I wanted to honor it and try to add to it. I don’t know if I was supposed to or not; maybe that’s a better way, but I love this movie. If I was playing Carrie, I might have done things differently; I mean, I’m definitely bringing myself to the role but I wanted to pay homage. I hope I did- we’ll see.
Greer on her approach to the role of Miss Desjardin: I’m playing her more sympathetic to Carrie then my plan was, going into it, and I think that’s because I kind of felt for Chloe. I really adore her and felt immediately like I want to take care of her and not to be all acty-schmacty, but I feel like it’s better to be honest about how I’m feeling. If it works with the script, and I think it does in this case, then I try to act differently, because I feel it’s okay for Miss Desjardin to be really sympathetic to Carrie and I like the idea that this woman had an opportunity at the end of the school year to do something really great.
In my mind, I was thinking she is really going through the motions this year and she’s over it and just like all the kids, she can’t wait for it to be summer vacation. But then when this comes up, she thinks, “I think I’m going to do something good here so I can go on my summer vacation and feel like I’m an awesome teacher. I’m like really good at my job.” But she picked the wrong charity case, man. I was telling Kim when I first met, like “It’s really my fault all this stuff happens. If I had just left well enough alone.” (laughs)
Greer on the infamous shower scene in Carrie: I’ve seen the bathroom stuff and what I’ve seen of it has made me cry. I think because bullying has really become such a problem right now, I think it’s maybe going to be more impactful right now, just because of where that is in society and how much more we’re hearing about it. At least 35 years ago, you didn’t have the internet telling you every single thing that happened in every school and college around the world.
This seems to me - and maybe it’s because I know Chloe and I didn’t know Sissy Spacek - but seeing the stuff happen to Chloe really breaks my heart and makes me feel really sad and it makes me feel sad to think of kids going through that. Just watching her performance in the shower scene is really heartbreaking.
Alex Russell on what fans can expect from Billy in Peirce’s version of Carrie: I think the key with Billy is that you sort of smell trouble from the start. He seems like bad news from the beginning, so that was a challenge because you want that the audience to want him to perish at the end, but you want them to cherish his badness while he's onscreen. He's extremely different in the original film than he is in the book. There's such a clowny, laid-back, constantly smiling thing with Travolta's [version] which is great, it works. But in the book, there's a monologue where he describes to Chris the seriousness of what they're doing before the final tragic deed and it says in the book that Chris is taken aback because it's the most she's ever heard him talk. It's like six consecutive sentences and he's usually silent and deadly.
Russell on how the violence between Chris and Billy in the novel versus what we’ll see in Carrie: We decided, based on the characters in the book, that their history is definitely violent. You don't ever see Billy strike Chris in the face, or Chris strike Billy in the face in this movie - but we decided that there are things as intense and hectic as that in their history. We're sort of bringing that in. There's a lot of half-assed hitting and pushing that's almost comical. Portia and I have decided that they're almost like brother and sister in the way that they treat each other. You know what I mean? Very rough with each other physically but there's no broken noses.
Russell on stepping into John Travolta’s shoes for Peirce’s adaptation: That's a question that I've been asked a few times and at first it got stuck in my head. But then I thought, "Well when he was doing it, it was his first role so he was probably as intimidated as I am. So I can relax." I might be okay. And also, Billy is a supporting character and I think because it's a supporting character there's less pressure and I can do my own thing and put my own spin on it. If it was 'Carrie' being played by John Travolta and I was playing Carrie it would be a bit different. It would also be a strange movie too (laughs).
Portia Doubleday’s thoughts on coming aboard a new Carrie: I went in and auditioned for the role of Chris. I live in LA and I got word that they were doing Carrie which is really exciting because I’ve always been really a huge horror fan. I liked the Exorcist when I was seven years old which is kind of really scary that I was so young but I’ve been obsessed with horror movies ever since; I remember watching Carrie for the first time and having that really unsettling fearful feeling from it. It’s not very in your face horror; it’s just kind of that unsettling and you don’t really know what’s going to happen, especially in the ending. So I got word of it, read the script and it was really exciting.
Doubleday on the relationship between Chris and Billy: It’s interesting in the book how they feel about each other. My view is that they don’t really become a team until she loses everything else and the only option she has is really for him to rail her. So the switching power is really interesting because in the beginning, she’s in control, I think, in her pack and her world. Everything is in place and then as she loses everything, and even her family, her best friend and prom- I think that’s when the innocence kind of starts to evaporate.
And Billy, for me, I think he secretly has always wanted this aspect of my character to come out. He’s not into prom and going and I think that because she doesn’t have any other resources at that point he’s the only thing that’s holding her up. In the beginning I think that if these events didn’t happen during the script, she wouldn’t have been able to do what she does up on the catwalk to Carrie. But when you reach that point of insanity and you have someone that’s supporting it, it becomes easier; there is definitely a moment where she’s taking it in and thinks, “Wow this actually might be really wrong.” But the pain kind of washes that out.
Ansel Elgort on becoming Prom King for Carrie: Being Prom King feels pretty good for what…about 30 seconds? (laughs) After that, no. It gets rough. Very, very rough.
Elgort on what we can expect from his character Tommy: Tommy is great because he is such a righteous person and throughout the film he sort of transforms from just the cool jock guy; he does sort of have the typical high school jock life, and he has the pretty girlfriend and stuff but he's more complex than that. Carrie brings it out in him because he or at least it makes it apparent to everyone else because he can find compassion, and sort of finds her interesting and realizes that she's normal, and in fact special. I think that's the great thing about Tommy in Kim’s version; there's a whole arc to him, he's not just the jock. There’s much more to him.
Look for Kim Peirce's Carrie in theatres on October 18th. For more information visit WhatHappenedToCarrie.com!
Related Story: Official Carrie News Archive
A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
The quiet suburb of Chamberlain, Maine, is home to the deeply religious and conservative Margaret White (Moore) and her daughter, Carrie (Moretz). Carrie is a sweet but meek outcast whom Margaret has sheltered from society. Gym teacher Miss Desjardin (Judy Greer) tries in vain to protect Carrie from local mean girls led by the popular and haughty Chris Hargenson (Portia Doubleday, Youth in Revolt), but only Chris’ best friend, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde, The Three Musketeers), regrets their actions. In an effort to make amends, Sue asks her boyfriend, high school heartthrob Tommy Ross (newcomer Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to prom. Pushed to the limit by her peers at the dance, Carrie unleashes telekinetic havoc. Brian De Palma’s 1976 film version of CARRIE earned Oscar nominations for stars Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.
MGM and Screen Gems’ CARRIE is directed by Kim Peirce and produced by Kevin Misher (Public Enemies). J. Miles Dale (The Vow) serves as executive producer, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Big Love) wrote the script from King’s original story. CARRIE’s creative team includes Director of Photography Steve Yedlin (Looper), Production Designer Carol Spier (Eastern Promises), Costume Designer Luis Sequeira (The Thing), and Editor Lee Percy (Boys Don’t Cry).
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