With two excellent back-to-back horrors under her belt in The Guest and It Follows, sat in a London hotel Maika Monroe’s demeanour is one fans aren’t used to seeing – specifically, she’s relaxed.
This isn’t to say that Monroe is never like this of course – by all accounts she’s a charming, laid-back individual – but for the characters she plays in 2014 sleeper hit The Guest and new horror flick It Follows, relaxation is not a feeling that’s expressed too often.
For the title of ‘Scream Queen’ – which has been bestowed to a number of impressive actresses over the years – now has a new holder. “Being called scream queen is cool!”, the 21-year-old says. “For me, It Follows and The Guest came just by chance, back to back, and it was not really a conscious decision that I’m doing two horror movies.”
The Guest was predominantly the vehicle of Dan Stevens – himself a burgeoning movie star – but Monroe still managed to leave an impression as the smart and capable Anna. In It Follows Monroe has been promoted to chief protagonist status as Jay, and her talents shine all the more brightly for it. “It was really after seeing David’s [Robert Mitchell, Director] first film The Myth of the American Sleepover that I wanted to do the film because it’s so unique and stylised. Putting a horror film in that kind of world is something very different.”
In both It Follows and The Guest there are a number of instances where Monroe has to depict fear, and rarely has it felt more genuine on screen. “To convey it as real as possible you have to [go to some dark places], as unenjoyable as it can be. You’ve got to mentally go there. A lot of times on set I’ll just have my headphones in, to stay in my own world. It’s only until the weekend when I’m able to shake off that week and go back to being fully me. When I’m filming during the week I stay in that world, which makes it easier for me.”
When asked about the most challenging scene to film, the answer comes surprisingly quickly: “The wheelchair scene was the hardest. It was the last day, and it was very cold that night. The wind was terrible, I was wearing basically nothing. And it was not a pleasant spot.”
That’s not to say no fun was had on set though, no surprise when you consider the camaraderie between Monroe and her co-stars on screen. “All of us bonded pretty quickly. Even the giant was super nice!”
Though her current title may be ‘Scream Queen’, Monroe is conscious of the need to try other things and avoid typecasting: “It’s really cool to see that people are responding to both these films and loving it and being called scream queen is awesome. But the projects in the future are quite different from horror.”
One such project is The 5th Wave, a sci-fi flick which will see Monroe line up with thespians such as Chloë Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber.
“I just finished filming that. I get to play this super kick-ass character which was amazing. I had fight training, gun training, I dyed my hair black and it was my first studio film so it was all very exciting and kind of different from anything I’ve done. I’m excited for people to see it.”
It’s not hard to envision Monroe starring in a superhero film in the near future, especially with there being more and more options to pick from with each passing year.
“Someone was asking me the other day about Captain Marvel? That would be what I want. Start campaigning me to be Captain Marvel!”
Keep an eye out for the #Monroe4CaptainMarvel hashtag on Twitter soon.
It Follows is out in UK cinemas now.