LORELEI Interview: Jena Malone Talks About Her Ground-Breaking Role And Teases ARMY OF THE DEAD: LOST VEGAS

LORELEI Interview: Jena Malone Talks About Her Ground-Breaking Role And Teases ARMY OF THE DEAD: LOST VEGAS

Lorelei is a working-class fable about a biker, a mermaid and three shades of blue, and star Jena Malone (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) talks to us about her incredible work in this must-see movie.

In Lorelei, after 15 years in prison, Wayland (Pablo Schreiber) reunites with his high school girlfriend, Dolores (Jena Malone), who is now a single mother of three. What follows is a lyrical take on love, regret and second chances, and this powerful and moving story is an absolute must-watch. 

Directed by Sabrina Doyle, the Vertical Entertainment release arrives in theaters tomorrow, July 30. 

Earlier this week, we spoke to Jena Malone (The Hunger Games, Sucker Punch) about her role in Lorelei as a single mom who does everything but head down the expected routes in this sweeping tale. Her performance is nothing short of incredible, and we got to speak to the actress about everything from her newcomer co-stars to working with Schreiber and her input into creating Dolores. 

Malone also teases her role in Netflix's Army of the Dead anime spinoff series Lost Vegas, and while she couldn't say much, it's clear she's excited for fans to see what Zack Snyder has come up with.
 

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I watched Lorelei this morning and what a special film this is. It must be so great to finally be able to get out there and talk about this one after those delays? 

Yeah, even prior to the pandemic, independent films have such a funny and delicate trajectory. I remember even with Donnie Darko such a long journey from when we were to cast to when it was done to when it was seen. I think you have to have a certain level of patience if you want to engage in smaller budget, less for sure stakes type of narratives.  

Chancellor, Amelia, and Parker are just shockingly good for three young actors making their debuts, so can you talk about the sort of dynamic you had on set given the fractured nature of their relationship with Dolores?

Oddly, I think because I was a child actor, I don’t know why, but any film I do that has children on set, I’m just instantly like their keeper [Laughs]. I sort of talk to the director and say, ‘They’re mine.’ I like helping them through it and feel like I’ve been there before. I like being their biggest champion, and it was also very important to develop a language and relationship with each other. I think we all just dived in. I remember going over and making dinner for all of them and just the chaos of what three kids can bring into a room. They were such a joy and very fearless and courageous. They were trying their hearts out and I think they give some really astonishing, beautiful performances. 

You and Pablo have so much chemistry together. Did you get a chance to work on that in rehearsals or was it something you had to find quite quickly on set? 

There wasn’t much rehearsal time, but luckily, we naturally get along quite well [Laughs]. We sort of kept having dinners together and chatting a lot. It’s all the in-between times as an actor that you really get to build that history. I don’t know, it felt really easy with him...there was never a struggle to be like, ‘Oh, what is our chemistry? What is our history?’ I think instantly we found something really beautiful. He was already so deep into the process of becoming this character that he paved the way of getting to know him in a different way. This is a very different man from what he’s ever played before; he’s very vulnerable, and I think it was very brave of him to take this kind of role on. 

You spend a lot of time in the water in this film, but I was wondering what those scenes were like for you to shoot and the sort of challenges they presented to you as an actor? 

Yeah, it’s cool! Acting underwater is kind of a whole thing [Laughs]. I don’t know if I’m very good at it. I’m still, in a sense, figuring out how technical I am. The process of basically becoming a mermaid in a way was one of the harder things to learn. I felt more like a soldier on the battleground getting into these different tanks to swim in and the whole process of that transformation was really hard. It was actually much harder than I thought, but also really beautiful. It elevated the film for me. Normally on a small film, you thinking, ‘Okay, people talking,’ but I got to learn synchronised swimming [Laughs] and a bunch of things, so it was really fun. 
 

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Sabrina Doyle does just an incredible job with this feature debut, but how exciting was it for you to work with her, especially when it came to making Dolores a layered character?

It was incredible. Sabrina Doyle is definitely an amazing writer and an amazing director. She was incredible to collaborate with and I think the film speaks for itself. She has a great vision and I’m excited to see what sorts of stories she tells next. 

Dolores makes a big decision in the film I think people will have very different reactions to. How much do you think her seeing how effortless Wayland makes it look with the kids factored into that, especially when she’s struggling so much? 

Well, I think that it’s a very important question. Instead of creating these constant heroes out of single mothers, it’s allowing them a space and different kind of transformation. I think there’s been a lot of bias against moms in general with that process of reclaiming their space in the world after they go through the fire and the metamorphosis of becoming a parent. I think men have been given much more room. ‘They want to leave and do their career?’ That heralded. A woman making that choice and putting herself first in a way is kind of dangerous. It’s been boxed in shame and a lack of understanding for so long that it’s felt like a really powerful part of trying to tell the story of a single woman trying to reclaim her identity. There’s a lot of that and the hardship that it’s not always a shiny, beautiful princess story. It’s far more complicated and complex. 

Absolutely. I loved that the characters in the film weren’t black and white or cliches, particularly Dolores as she’s not the villain of the piece you might have seen in a film a few years ago. Did you have a lot of input into how her story played out given that you’re an executive producer on the project?

Yeah, I think Sabrina was extremely collaborative and I had something of an insider take on the whole thing. I was raised with two moms who were struggling right above the poverty line sometimes and they were both maids and cleaners who had dead-end jobs in dead-end places in the world, so I definitely had a unique perspective to offer while trying to uplift and embody this character. Sabrina was very supportive of what I wanted to bring to it. 

On another note, I loved Army of the Dead, so was wondering if there’s anything you can tease about your role in the Lost Vegas series coming to Netflix?

I mean, it’s Zack Snyder! You expect the unexpected. That’s really the only way to prepare yourself, right? 

[Laughs] Definitely. 

I’m excited. I’m completely stoked. 
 

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