In the independent drama Bloodworth, former Disney star Hilary Duff proves she has the acting chops, taking on the role of Raven, a young woman from another town that gives Fleming Bloodworth (Reece Thompson) the courage to reject his family curse and see past all the hatred and anger that has destroyed his family. Herself the daughter of an alcoholic prostitute (Sheila Kelley), Raven yearns for another way of life, much like aspiring writer Fleming, and the two see a way to find that in each other.
At the film’s press day, actress Hilary Duff talked about the appeal of a role like this, the challenge of identifying with a character like Raven, how awkward it was to play a pregnant girl, and how she hopes that this film will show people that, against all odds, you can change your life path for the better. She also talked about turning her focus back to her music for a bit, and her upcoming role as a dancer in the film Donald Kimsky. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
HILARY DUFF: Obviously, I hope people see it and think I did a good job in it, and see me in a different way than how they’ve watched me grow up, which is in more light-hearted films. It is different. I think every actor is looking for a challenge, and to play something different, and to be a part of a project with other great actors. It was a great experience. I’ve been trying to choose roles like that on purpose.
What was the fake pregnancy experience like for you?
DUFF: It was funny. It wasn’t this big, heavy, real-looking thing. Mine was this lumpy, old pillow, so I was just squishing it around a lot and trying to get it to look more like a round bump, instead of some lumpy thing. I got to have a big dress on, and I definitely could eat more. You’re not as conscious about sitting pretty, like a girl. You can sit wide-legged and waddle around. My husband (Mike Comrie), who was my boyfriend at the time, was on set and he was just like, “You look ridiculous.” I look 14 in the movie, so it’s even worse, but it was fun. It probably would have looked bad, if someone didn’t know we were shooting a movie and they saw people pushing the lump in my stomach, slapping it.
So, are you guys planning to wait to get pregnant, in real life?
DUFF: Yes. We’ve only been married a year. He plays hockey, so he’s away from September to April, and we don’t really get that much time together, and we’re looking to wait. I’m still looking to work more.
Do you see this movie as a cautionary tale for young girls? Are you hoping to get that message out?
DUFF: I think it’s more uplifting, towards the end, because they make it out. I think someone from a small town, or living in the circumstances that these two characters are living in, can see that it’s possible, even when all the odds are against you, and that you can change your life path and change the way things have been going in your family’s history. Obviously, they didn’t have the best role models to look up to. They endure some torture, but they eventually make it out.
DUFF: For my bachelorette party, we definitely went to Sheila’s studio. My sister (Haylie Duff) got us clear stripper shoes, and it was so funny. She’s amazing. I loved her. Just to play off of her was amazing. And, she has a great body. I’d take that body, right now.
Was this a challenging character for you to find, or did you find it pretty easy to identify with her?
DUFF: I didn’t find it easy to identify with her, but I grew up in Texas and we had a house in the Hill Country that we’d go to often. It was really deep into the country, and we had a few friends there growing up that were caretakers of our property. I actually used them a lot for inspiration because they just had such a quiet life. The town was pretty incestuous, with just back roads country stuff. I didn’t relate to it, but I felt like I had some things to draw off of. The accent came pretty easy. Being where we had to be to film, it really took you there fast because you were imagining that this was your life and how hard it would be.
Did you read the book (Provinces of Night) before shooting?
DUFF: I didn’t read the book. (Director) Shane [Dax Taylor] told me that it was different. I didn’t go read it afterwards either. Maybe I should.
DUFF: It was a good group. They film so much up there now that the crew always works together on projects, so walking in, it was a group that all got along and worked well together. It was cool.
Hilary, you didn’t have any scenes with Kris Kristofferson, but did you get to talk to him at all?
DUFF: No, I didn’t. I didn’t even get to meet him. It was disappointing. All my stuff, we shot in three weeks. With such a big cast, it was hard to get everyone together, with their schedules, to meet up, so people shot in chunks. Reece Thompson had to be there almost every single day, and then everyone else would come in to work with him.
Do you have any plans for your music?
DUFF: I do, actually. I’m just starting to build a new team of people, and I’m going to start writing and make another record. It’s been four years. I really just needed that time to take a break and re-evaluate and grow a little bit, outside of being on stage and stuff. I wanted to try to change people’s perception of who I am now. But, I think it’s the right time now, and I’ve got that itch.
Do you want to write all your own songs, or collaborate with other people?
DUFF: No, I want to collaborate. I’m a big believer in collaboration. I haven’t done it for four years, so I’m not sure where my competence level is of just trying to write the whole thing. If there’s an amazing song that I love, that’s done right now, I’d sing it. I’d love to sit down and write with people. I think it’ll be a mish-mash.
DUFF: Yeah, it’s definitely going to be pop music. I’m a sucker for a catchy song, and dance music. That’s my sweet spot, so I’ll definitely do that.
Who do you listen to?
DUFF: Right now, I’m addicted to Adele’s record. And, I love Robyn’s record. She’s a big inspiration. I love that Euro-pop dance music, but with girl power. I also listen to Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan. I have a Beatles song tattooed on my foot. I’m all over the place.
Do you feel that getting married actually attributed to your growth, or do you feel it just came naturally because you’re older now?
DUFF: It was such a natural thing for me. It wasn’t like I had to think, “Am I making the right decision here?” Getting married felt 100% right. I found the most amazing person, who’s totally compatible for me. It wasn’t even a question of, “Am I too young to be doing this?” It just felt right, so I went with it. I’m pretty good at thinking about everything – all of my consequences – before I make a decision, and I think about everything that’s going to happen because of that decision. I’m a Libra, and I’m very strategic. It just worked. I don’t think that I was trying to say, “I’m grown up now. I’m married!” It was just right for my life.
DUFF: Yes. I’ve had a very unique path that’s different from everybody else’s. I was never a dater. I never went out that much. I’ve always had long-distance relationships. And, everything has come very fast in my life. I haven’t waited for much.
Do you want to work with your sister again?
DUFF: I’d love to. She’s not singing right now, but she’s been really busy. She does a lot of made-for-TV movies, back-to-back-to-back. She’s happy. She’s working all the time. She’s a great songwriter, so if anything, we’ll write music.
When you do a role like this, does it change how you want to approach your career, from here on? Are the things you look for in projects different now?
DUFF: For awhile, everything was pretty planned out. The great thing with this business is that you’re never bored. Every day can bring you something new – a new opportunity, or a new role to go fight for. If some movie came along that was more mainstream or more relatable, like the things I’ve done in the past, and I loved the script, I would do it. It just depends on how you feel and what you want to tackle.
DUFF: I’m going to start making a record soon, and I don’t know how long that will take. It probably will take a year. I signed on to do another movie in September in New York, called Donald Kimsky.
Who are you playing in that?
DUFF: The movie is changing a little bit, but I’m going to play this young girl who’s working as a dancer. She’s not a stripper, but a dancer at a club. She’s this wild, free spirit, and she meets this ma, in New York City, who’s gone blind. It’s about this crazy night that they have together, that changes both of their lives for the better. It’s not a sexual relationship, but they both free each other, in a certain way.