In Texas Chainsaw 3D, Alexandra Daddario stars as Heather Miller, a young woman who unexpectedly learns that she has inherited a house/estate in Texas from a recently deceased grandmother she’s never met. When she and a group of friends travel to claim her inheritance, though, things take a turn for the worst as she discovers that beneath the veneer of a Victorian mansion lies a grizzly secret that involves a chainsaw and masks made of detached human faces.
During my visit to the Shreveport, Louisiana set of Texas Chainsaw 3D, a group of journalists and I had the opportunity to talk with the young actress about working in the unforgiving Louisiana heat in August, the pressures of starring in an iconic franchise, how this film differs from Tobe Hooper‘s original and more. Check out all Daddario had to say in the full interview after the jump.
ALEXANDRA DADDARIO: Yeah, it’s been going great. It’s been very hot but it’s definitely survivable and now I can go and tell everyone that I survived August in Louisiana.
[Laughs] You haven’t survived it yet.
DADDARIO: [Laughs] Well, hopefully I will have survived it. There have been some very, very hot days. But, you know, the cameras seem to have a harder time dealing with it than we have which is one of the obstacles but there’s always some extreme on any movie you do. Whether it’s way too cold, way too dusty, way too hot, way too noisy, or way too whatever, so it’s just one of those things.
Have you been shooting mostly at night?
DADDARIO: We’ve been doing a lot of nights which is great because it is cooler. We usually days at the beginning of the week and then we shift over to nights towards the end of the week.
How does it feel being a part of such a iconic film franchise?
DADDARIO: It’s really exciting. I mean obviously it’s such a recognizable franchise and sort of nerve-wracking in a sense, but it’s also a great honor and it’s just been a lot of fun. You know, you guys are here because it’s something that a lot of people are interested in and it’s really great to be a part of that.
Is it a bit daunting knowing that there are so many fans who will be comparing the original and how this stacks up against it?
DADDARIO: I think it’s something you think about but, you know, you have to go into it with a sense that everybody has their own creative vision and this is a movie that I think can stand on its own without being mired by this incredibly amazing, very special original. Obviously it’s something that keeps people interested and I think every movie can stand on its own as its own creative vision.
Can you tell us anything about the scenes you are preparing to shoot tonight?
DADDARIO: When you do a movie with this much sort of, it’s a high intensity film so it’s a lot of screaming and crying and that kind of thing and that’s one thing can really prepare for as an actor through all kinds of different memories and all kinds of things but it can be very emotionally draining but it’s really great practice as an actress and a lot of fun.
DADDARIO: It was a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing. The special effects people are incredible and it’s amazing seeing it come to life, seeing something that iconic come to life is very exciting. I think he’s very much like a person in this film in the way that he was in the first film. So he is sort of almost more terrifying in that way. Instead of being a sort of faceless looming creature he is more human.
What has it been like working with some of the original cast members on this film?
DADDARIO: I worked with, so far I met Marilyn Burns and she’s the sweetest woman in the world, she’s just incredibly sweet and I have yet to meet anyone else. I think it’s really incredible that they’re all willing to be a part of this film and I think it makes it that much more exciting to know that they’re excited about it too.
Are you using all fake chainsaws or are you using real ones too?
DADDARIO: We have fake chainsaws and we have real chainsaws without teeth. I think when you’re using a real chainsaw there’s actually a level of real fear there which actually helps the performance.
When were you actually introduced to the series because you were just being born when the second one came out in 1986 right?
DADDARIO: Yeah, well I had heard of the series and I didn’t watch the first film until after I booked this role because I’m a huge baby and horror films just terrify me, they’re very effective with me. So, it’s great to be introduced to it and learn about what Tobe was really trying to do with the first one versus the remakes and what they were trying to do. It’s definitely an interesting franchise.
Now having watched the original and obviously working on this one, in what ways would you say they compare and contrast?
DADDARIO: I think the story for this one, it’s a direct sequel to the original. I think that it’s different and that it stands on its own. I think that they’re trying to do something different with this film than what Tobe Hooper was trying to do with the original. Also, I think since the ‘70s the world has kind of become desensitized to it whereas the original when it came out kind of created this huge panic among people, it was banned in England, and I think this will just be, you know, things have become more and more gory so it might not be as shocking. But it’s also, my character, she has more of a, it has more of an action film feel to it without trying to give anything away.
DADDARIO: Not bloodless. There’s more, I think there’s probably, I mean the first one for me was terrifying but I think there’s probably more gore in this one just because of the way that films have changed over the last few decades. It’s not as much of a classic “slasher” in the way that the original was. It’s more action-based which is great actually because I think it takes the story in a whole new direction that’s really wonderful and it’s more unique and intangible in that way.
We heard things got pretty vicious in the dungeon this past week and that you were involved. What’s it like to part of that?
DADDARIO: I did, well, I had a few days off for the first time right before I went and did that scene. It really threw me back into where I needed to be. It was a lot of fun. You have to take yourself to a really dark place and it was…it was classic horror film.
What’s your interaction been like with Dan (Dan Yeager) on the set when you’re not shooting? Do you kind of try to stay away from him when you’re not shooting?
DADDARIO: We, before scenes, I think we do sort of try and stay in our own worlds not try to be “buddy, buddy” with each other right before we have to do a scene together. But, he’s just been incredibly nice. He’s a gentle giant and it’s been really wonderful working with him. But we haven’t gotten, you know, extraordinarily close, and you try to take those moments before a big day and before certain scenes to not, because I think the way that you interact with your cast members really shows up on screen and I actually have a really great chemistry with the younger cast and I think that shows on the screen.
Has Marilyn Burns shared any horror stories with you about shooting the original?
DADDARIO: I asked her, I had heard when doing a horror film about three years ago with a guy named Steve Mena (Bereavement) who talked how during the shooting, it was like an 18 or 19-hour day, they were running out of time and they needed to cut her finger for a scene for whatever reason and whatever they were doing wasn’t working and they actually had to cut her finger and I asked her about that and she confirmed it.
DADDARIO: [Laughs] Exactly. I also heard a story about them placing a chainsaw like right next to someone’s head, and I don’t know all of the details on this, but that performance must incredible, you know, to be actually terrified.
Have you had any moments in shooting this film that have brought you dangerously close to an edge that you shouldn’t be at?
DADDARIO: Well, not where I shouldn’t be. I mean, I think, I’m sort of method in a sense and I enjoy, you know, trying to find that reality in fake emotion. When you’re trying to sustain a high-level of intensity and panic sometimes it actually helps to have something happen that makes you really afraid because even if in real life it wouldn’t make you that scared, to take that little bit of fear and be melodramatic about it I guess, and convince yourself that it’s worse, can be effective. You know, like I, sometimes I fall to the ground a little bit harder than maybe I intended to. Nothing that will hurt me but it actually helps. Any time you do a movie there are going to be war wounds that you end up getting.
Have you gotten close to any of the other cast members and what has it been like working with Trey Songz?
DADDARIO: Um, he’s amazing. I feel really lucky, we got along and really clicked automatically before we ever started filming. Actually, we all get along really well, and we’ve just all had a great time. In fact, I think we could even hang out after filming back in L.A. I think that really helps because that kind of chemistry really does show up on screen when you have those people there to support you and encourage you and be honest you and that sort of thing it is very, very helpful.
How do you think this film differs from the previous horror film you were a part of (Bereavement)?
DADDARIO: Well, Bereavement was my first lead and that was an amazing experience for me but it was also a little intimidating. I think the difference for me is that I’m at a different place in my career now and I’m a different person that I was three years ago. It’s also bigger budget and there’s more eyes on it so there’s more pressure in a way which makes it a great learning experience for me as far as just being able to cope with that kind of pressure. It’s also incredibly exciting and really just a different level of excitement.
DADDARIO: I’m not sure yet. I know people have been talking about another Percy Jackson, but we haven’t heard anything about that, you know, beyond what they were writing in print. So, you never know. It’s never a done deal until it’s a done deal. Other than that, nothing at the moment but we’ll see.
Back to Texas Chainsaw, the first thing you did with Leatherface on set, was that just another day at the office or did you feel something else?
DADDARIO: I mean no day is really just another day at the office. That’s one of the reasons that I love show business. I really had a moment in a scene that we did last week where I, I thought it went incredibly well and I think people will really love it, but I can’t actually talk about it.
What was it like the first time you acted opposite the iconic image of Leatherface?
DADDARIO: It was amazing. Knowing that it’s more than just someone who is chasing me with a weapon, it’s actually, you know, Leatherface. I’m honored, nervous, and all of that stuff. I think it’s a moment where you realize that what you’re a part of is bigger than you are.
Was that actually the first time you had seen him dressed as Leatherface when you were shooting that scene or-
Have you had a chance to explore any Shreveport or the surrounding area during the shoot?
DADDARIO: I had a little bit of a chance but not as much as I would have liked. I’m staying on the boardwalk and I’ve been everywhere around the boardwalk which has been great. I’ve been to a few great restaurants and I took a cab the other day to wine country which was delicious. But, outside of those things, I really haven’t had a chance to explore much.
For more from our Texas Chainsaw 3D set visit:
- 10 Things to Know About TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D from Our Set Visit; Plus a Filming Recap and Exclusive New Image
- Carl Mazzocone Talks His Role as Producer, Says the Goal Is to “Deliver the Best 3D Monster Movie of Modern Day” on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
- Director John Luessenhop Talks Shooting the Film in 3D, Picking His Favorite Scenes from the Original and More on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
- Scott Eastwood Talks His Character, Future Projects, and More on the Set of TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D