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BOP Interview: Leighton Meester

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1 BOP Interview: Leighton Meester taj Pon Mar 21, 2011 11:50 am

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Manhattan's elite
Manhattan's elite
January 31, 2011

Developing a legion of teenage fans as the privileged Blair Waldorf on The CW’s hit TV series Gossip Girl, Leighton Meester has recently emerged onto a much bigger screen – the movie screen. Screen Gems' horror flick The Roommate is Meester’s first headlining part. Playing the role of the psychotic Rebecca, The Roommate rings familiar of the ‘90s popular shocker, Single White Female, but made over for the college-set. In a phone interview, Leighton Meester talks about prescription drugs, her past roommate experiences, Gossip Girl, her fledging music career (you most likely heard her hundreds of times on the chart-topping radio hit, Good Girls Go Bad by Cobra Starship), and why a roommate is just so scary.

The Roommate is an intense horror film. But what is so scary about a college roommate?

Leighton Meester: I think that a lot of people can relate to [the plot] because it is a little bit scary when you are moving in with a total stranger. You go to college, you’re without your parents for the first time, and you’re paired up with someone who is literally going to be in your space 24 hours a day and has a lot of access to you. So a lot of the subject matter of the movie is really questioning the safety of that and the comfort zone that disappears when you’re forced into a situation.

This is obviously a story about two young women who become friends, and my character becomes fixated on Minka [Kelly]’s character and it’s this unhealthy obsession that has no real base in reality and things go wrong. I think everyone can relate to the fact that there is - everyone’s probably at one point had a friend that is a little bit too needy or too nosy or sort of feeling like they have a right to your business and your clothes and your belongings or whatever.

I’m such a wimp and trust me I saw it and I was in the movie and I was scared. But I think it’s definitely jarring and disturbing at points, but I think it’s also exciting and it is fun, and it’s a ride and it’s very sexy. I think it’s a story about two young woman that are thrown into a situation together that - they don’t know each other at all and I think a lot of people can relate to that. You don’t know your roommate. They could be either incredible lifelong friends or they can be Rebecca. You never know who you’ll be paired with, so to me that’s an interesting point of view for the movie.

The movie also touches on prescription medication, something almost 25% of college students are on today according to a 2009 study by the American Psychological Association. Playing a medicated character, how do you feel about that number?

LM: I really only know about this particular case that I tried to portray in a realist way. I don’t really know that I can comment specifically on college students with psychiatric drugs because I don’t necessarily know the relation. I think that whether or not Rebecca was in college or just anywhere she would have the same emotional and chemical problems and she has had them her whole life. I can understand the stress of college, and maybe people take those medications a little bit more freely than they should. All I know is what my character’s condition is and what she’s gone through.

It sounds like you put in a fair amount of research into playing Rebecca.

LM: Well, I was really lucky. I had the opportunity to really prepare for this, and got a lot of great psychology books and information on delusion, mental disorder, especially in women, and I had the chance to speak with different psychiatrists about the disorder. Of course I watched different movies and this movie’s very much like Fatal Attraction or Single White Female, a woman under the influence. I think it’s a very interesting subject, a woman who sort of loses a real grip on reality.

And the psychiatrists I spoke to were the most helpful because they would describe in gross detail different cases that they’d worked on defending their patients who had been convicted of crimes. I’ll spare you the details but it’s definitely dark in the mind of someone who’s living like this, and it was interesting for me because I have what I believe is a firm grip on reality. I’m weird and crazy like anybody else but this person, she really doesn’t have control of her mind whatsoever and the decisions she makes are not based on rational thinking. So it was interesting and somewhat uncomfortable at the same time.

Rebecca is one of the darkest roles, if not the most dark, you have played. How much of an impact did playing such a character have on you?

LM: Watching it years after you made it is really interesting because you do remember certain times and certain days that you filmed different scenes, but this movie is strange for me because I feel I have a bit of amnesia about it. I can’t say it wasn’t fun, it was, but it was also intense. It was a really tough time for me because I try to share something in common with her or try to understand her motives and try to relate to her in some way. It was extremely difficult for me to do, because of how she unravels. From the outside she seems like a really good friend, good person. She’s understanding, she’s artistic, she’s trustworthy, but then eventually she just completely losses that.




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