Brittany Snow’s Change of Image
by Paul Fischer
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Talented and beautiful Brittany Snow has finally grown up—at least on the big screen. Recently seen in the likes of Hairspray and Prom Night, and soon to be seen in the upcoming Finding Amanda, the former star of the acclaimed American Dreams talked exclusively to Paul Fischer.
Paul Fischer: It must have been a nice change for you to sink your teeth into the role of a prostitute.
Brittany Snow: Yeah, definitely. And it was—when I first got the script, I really liked the fact that it was something different for me. But more than that, I think that it was a nice mix of something about a character that I really related to, and then I didn’t relate to at all, at the same time. And so it was definitely something that I hadn’t done before. But at the same time, I knew that I knew this girl, and I wanted to kind of challenge myself in a way to make her a little bit different than the stereotypical prostitutes that have been seen, and what people may think a prostitute should be like.
PF: What about her did you know?
BS: Well, you know, I think that Amanda has certain elements in her that a lot of people can relate to, in terms of—she puts a lot of value on outside possessions, like wanting to feel safe and wanting to feel secure because of things that are in her life. And so she kind of puts value on, “Well, maybe if I get this car, then I’ll be happier. Maybe if I just have the perfect boyfriend, then I’ll be happy. And maybe if I just get this lamp, then I’ll be happy.” And—without looking within herself, and actually realizing that it’s because of what she’s doing to herself, and because of things that have happened to her, which is why she’s not happy. And no outside possession can make you feel safe. And there’s no such thing as perfection. And I think a lot of people can relate to that. Looking to—thinking, like, “Oh, if I only had a husband, or if only I lost ten pounds,” or something like that, to think that they’re gonna be happy with these things that have nothing to do with themselves. And so she had that sort of characteristic to her which I related to. But also, she is a prostitute, and has a different way of going about how she kind of deals with that. So that’s something I didn’t relate to. Her kind of faade that she puts on in order to feel okay with what she’s doing.
PF: Did you have any concerns about the film’s sexual content when you took this on? And did you have any discussions with the director as to what aspects of her sexuality you were willing to explore, and what not?
BS: You know, I never really questioned it. I was 21 when I did it or maybe I was 20. I have grown up a little bit, from being a kid and this was a character that I really wanted to challenge myself with, and explore. And the sexual content of it was fine by me, as long as I didn’t have to be naked then I was kind of fine with anything that I had to say, or anything like that. I think it has a lot to do with her character, which I really liked. It wasn’t that she was just saying things to say them. She was saying them in such a nonchalant way, that y really got a view of who she was as a person. And what she was like when she dealt with hard subject matters. She would just be so flip about it. And that’s why she says what she says to her uncles, especially. So I liked that, and I thought that was actually a funny thing about the character, as well.
PF: What were the challenges for you to obviously try and segue from the sorts of kid roles that we know you for, to these more adult roles? I mean, has it been a challenge to persuade casting people that you can do this kind of stuff?
BS: Was it challenging? No, actually—you know, getting this role, for Finding Amanda, was definitely something I had to audition for and work for. But at the same time, it wasn’t that challenging just in terms of having Peter think that I could play a prostitute. Just because I think he wanted the element that it was surprising that this girl was a hooker. And he liked the fact that I looked so innocent. And so that kind of helped with my getting the part, I think. But, you know, I think it is difficult to convince people to take me as an actress, maybe to do more challenging parts than just the girl next door, something like that. But that’s something that I’ve always struggled with, and that I will see as a challenge, and something that I kind of want to break through. But in terms of the projects that I’ve done recently, it hasn’t really been a conscious effort, or a conscious choice to be completely out of the box, or do something crazy to make people think of me a different way. It’s just kind of been what I’ve been gravitating towards, and what I feel impassioned about.
PF: When you were a kid, you started modeling when you were, like, three years old. Did you regard acting as something that you wanted to do right from the outset? I mean, when do you know this is what you wanted to do?
BS: Well, when I was three, I didn’t really wake up and want to be an actress. I was three. But—you know, I was also really, really weirdly interested in television and movies, and putting on plays. And growing up, that was always my obsession. And so my Mom got me into it. But when I was eight or nine, I really loved it. I remember loving it. I remember wanting to get that Sea World commercial so badly so I could be on the set with the crew and the cast, and do a commercial. But when I really realized that it was something much more than that was when I got Guiding Light when I was 12, and there was this one scene that I did with my Mom. In fact, I was on a rooftop when I was 12 years old. And it was not supposed to be that emotional of a scene, but I ended up crying, and just really doing something with it that was so weird to me. And it felt amazing. And it was something that I connected with, that I had no idea could have happened. And I realized from that moment on that I really wanted to do this. Because it was therapeutic, in a way, and it gave me some sort of high that I was able to do something I really loved.
PF: Is it somewhat weird to be ranked as #93 on the Maxim Magazine Hot 100 of 2008?
BS: Yeah, because I don’t really think that I should have been on it at all. And 93? I mean, that’s such a weird number, anyway. But—I’m just grateful to be on it, I guess.
PF: You don’t strike me as being a Maxim kind of girl, really.
BS: Yeah, I’m not, really. I think that’s maybe my thing, I guess. [laughs] That I’m not really a Maxim person. But, you know, whatever. If they want to put me on the list, then I’ll be on the list.
PF: What kinds of aspirations do you have at this particular point? Are you interested in doing more than acting? Do you want to do any work behind the scenes? Are you interested in writing?
BS: Yeah. Actually, right now, I think it’s really important to not only work, but also have—you know, things that you’re really passionate about, as far as hobbies and things like that. I just started writing a script for the first time, which is so cliché for an actress to say. But I really just wanted to see what happens with it, and write it out. And it’s harder than I thought. I got into photography about a year ago, and I’m kind of putting together a collection of photography with poetry that I want to one day turn into something, many years from now, probably, once I finally get it together. But I’ve been doing that. And, you know, directing is very intimidating for me, but I definitely want to produce, and start a production company and get films that I love and books that I love made into movies.
PF: You’ve recently finished work on The Vicious Kind. You have the lead in that, yes?
BS: Yeah, one of the leads. It’s me and Alex Frost, Adam Scott, and J.K. Simmons. But then it’s a very small movie. It’s only us. Four characters, really.
PF: Are you the girlfriend who is the object of obsession in this?
BS: Kind of. It’s—yeah. It’s really about Alex Frost. I play his girlfriend, and he brings me home for Thanksgiving and introduces me to his father, J.K. Simmons. And I meet his brother, who is very, very—gone kind of borderline crazy because of his girlfriend who cheated on him, and falls in love with me and becomes obsessed with me, and tries to hurt me because I remind him of his ex-girlfriend. And it’s kind of just a story about what happens when you get hurt by somebody, and how your past relationships and past things that have happened to you kind of affect the people you’re in relationships with without you even knowing it. So—but it’s still kind of funny at the same time. So it’s very, like, a dark Juno-ish sort of thing.
PF: And we’re still waiting to see—and I’m very excited—about Black Water Transit. Any news on what’s happening with that?
BS: Not really. I’m really excited to see what happens with that as well. It—I think it’s coming out in a couple months. It really just depends on what Tony wants to do with it. I’ve seen kind of a cut of it, and it looks amazing and crazy and just brilliant. And so I’m looking forward to seeing that as well, but I’m not sure.
PF: It doesn’t have a distributor yet, does it?
BS: I don’t think so. It’s done by Capitol Films, but I don’t think it’s gotten bought yet, no.
PF: Do you think it’ll turn up in one of the major festivals, like the Toronto Film Festival?
BS: Yeah. I’m thinking probably. If I had to guess, I think it will probably go to Toronto or Sundance.
PF: What else are you working on?
BS: Right now, I’m kind of just relying on the strike that is going to not happen. It depends on what’s happening with that. I have a few films that I have lined up if the strike doesn’t happen. So, we’ll see.
PF: What have you heard about that?
BS: Not a lot. I don’t really know anything about that sort of stuff. I kind of just—I just kind of listen to what my agents tell me, and read. I hope it doesn’t happen, but you never know!
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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