Freaks stars Amanda Crew and Lexy Kolker sat down with me during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival to discuss the film.
In addition to her role in Freaks, Amanda Crew may be best known from her role as Monica Hall on Silicon Valley. She also appeared in Charlie St. Cloud, The Age of Adaline, and Race, among other titles.
Lexy Kolker is an actress to keep your eyes on. Not even ten years old, she’s already appeared on Agents of SHIELD and Shooter. Her performance in Freaks is phenomenal and the actress is someone to keep your eyes on going forward.
Written and directed by Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky, Freaks also stars Emile Hirsch, Grace Park, and Bruce Dern. The film features some heavy political commentary. One could look at the film’s “freaks” and easily replace them with any community that has been targeted by the administration. Using a sci-fi psychological thriller is a smart way of serving up a political metaphor. The small indie might not be Oscar bait but it was one of my top favorites as the last year’s TIFF came to an end.
Well Go USA Entertainment released Freaks in September.
What attracted you to the script for Freaks?
Amanda Crew: I first was attracted to the script as a whole just because I was not expecting the story to go so deep for this kind of the genre. I love the commentary on—I was reading it about a year and a half ago kind of when we’re at the beginning of our Trump era. I loved that there was kind of this Trojan horse message of commentary on how society treats other. And I thought that it was really cool how they kind of—that’s a really strong theme in this movie which you don’t typically get in this honor but it’s such a smart way. And then beyond that, at the time I was just really getting frustrated with the kind of roles that were written for women that were available to me. And so I had just been reading so many scripts where you know the girl is just the eye candy or the love interest or is just there to serve the male gaze and this character was obviously the complete opposite of it. And I was just happy that they were even considering me for it because I don’t think what people see me in the light of this character just because most people know me from Silicon Valley. So she’s very like put together woman and the character of Mary and this is complete opposite of that. And so I was very hungry for that kind of a part. What did you like about it?
Lexy Kolker: Well, when my mom got the look book of the movie, I thought it was really cool. I could like really understand Chloe and I could really feel how she felt about going outside because I’ve always loved going outside. So I could really understand her and I could really like—what would it feel like to be Chloe? And I could really feel it. And then when I read the script, I was like wow, this is an amazing script, mom, I want to do it. So when I got to the part, I was super-excited and I really liked it.
It was such a phenomenal performance.
Lexy Kolker: Thank you so much.
Amanda, how did you approach the role compared to prior projects?
Amanda Crew: Compared to Silicon Valley? (Laughs) Oh yeah,definitely a different approach than the way I approach Silicon Valley. But the main way into this character was obviously her love for her daughter. And you know that’s something that’s kind of foreign to me because I’m not a mom so I was a little nervous about it just because I feel like that maternal instinct isn’t a supernatural for me so just trying to figure out a way to find that connection between my character and Chloe and if there’s something similar in my life that I could kind of draw on and how I would feel if that were kind of ripped from my life. I hope I didn’t put any spoilers in there by that—I did not. But yeah, just that it was rooted in this kind of undying love for my daughter. I guess you could say.
Lexy, this was your first feature film, correct?
Lexy Kolker: I’ve done other feature films.
I know I saw some TV shows listed like Agents of SHIELD.
Amanda Crew: She’s done it all. This girl has been working hard. She’s got a bigger resume than me. She’s a pro.
Lexy Kolker: I’ve done some other feature films and I’ve done some TV show like you saw.
How does playing Chloe compare to Robin on Agents of SHIELD?
Lexy Kolker: They’re actually kind of alike because (spoilers). Well, they’re different—I’ll compare them because my character on Agents of SHIELD is a lot different because she’s very quiet and she’s very like shy but when she knows something’s going to happen she’ll say it but she’ll wait until the last second and then she’ll be like fierce and everyone will be like WHAT?!?. In Freaks, Chloe is just not quiet at all. She’s just all out there.
Amanda Crew: She’s all out there and that’s the quote you can use about Chloe.
How was it working with Emile and Bruce?
Lexy Kolker: They’re both amazing. They’re very talented. Emile would always help me in my acting. If I would say a line, he would say, “You can say it that way.” There was this really intense scene and it got really real and I started crying because it was too real for me and Emile came in and gave me this amazing speech. And like he said so many amazing things and it made me feel so much better.
Amanda Crew: That’s so nice.
Lexy Kolker: Yeah, it was really nice. But yeah, Emile really helped me. Bruce—he was a very good actor. We would have conversations after there were no more lines and we would help each other with our lines like if he forgot his line, I would tell him his line. And if I forgot my line, he would tell me—
Amanda Crew: It was mainly you telling him his lines (Laughs). She’s so professional she has everyone’s lines memorized. (Laughs)
Lexy Kolker: Definitely, of course. (Laughs) Yeah, I really like them. They’re both really nice people.
Amanda Crew: She doesn’t like me though (Laughs).
So what’s up next?
Amanda Crew: As far as projects?
Amanda Crew: We’re going back for season 6 of Silicon Valley. I shot a couple small indies this year—one called Tone Deaf, which was written and directed by Ricky Bates, Jr, and his last two films were at Sundance. He’s just a really out there filmmaker and it was one of the most bizarre—but I mean that the most complimentary way—experiences of my life. I’m really excited to see how that one turns out because he just has a unique way of looking at things. I did a film called Gut Instinct with Daniel Roby, who is a Montreal-French filmmaker and that was with Josh Hartnett so my childhood dreams came true and I can retire now.
You’ve already worked with Zac Efron.
Amanda Crew: So I’m just checking off all the boxes. What have you been up to?
Lexy Kolker: Nothing much because it was just summer so I had a big break. Now it’s mostly auditions and celebrating my birthday. Mostly just Marvel and Shooter.
Amanda Crew: No big deal. Just a couple of little things to talk about. You haven’t been busy at all.
Lexy Kolker: Well, I’ve been doing a lot of things on (inaudible) so lately so I’m busy but I’m not going to say that I’m super busy like I’m not working on Freaks and then when I go back home, I’m filming a movie and then have two auditions the next day. It’s like I’m mostly balancing a bunch of auditions.
Amanda Crew: And your homework that you did on a plane and then having fun. And you’re cool.
Lexy Kolker: Exactly.
Amanda Crew: She’s a kid but she works.
Lexy Kolker: Exactly. It’s like being an adult because I have a job. (Laughs)
Amanda Crew: But it’s like a fun job.
Lexy Kolker: Yes, very fun.
Amanda Crew: You get different outfits to wear. You do the math.