Today I had a chance to chat with Willa Holland. You may remember her from the fourth season of The O.C., as Marissa's little sister Kaitlin. She stars in this weekend's Garden Party -- a film about a diverse group of L.A. residents, each chasing their dreams in different ways. Be sure to check out the Garden Party clips listed on the left to get an idea of what the film is all about. In my opinion it's an interesting and sensual film, a well done mash-up of Los Angeles stories.
We talked about a range of issues, from The O.C., to Garden Party and of course, In-N-Out Burger. Enjoy!
Laremy Legel: How did you decide what your own boundaries were with a film like Garden Party?
Willa Holland: It was one of the first film roles I'd done and with that character I tried to put myself in the shoes of a young girl coming to L.A. because it's really all about how L.A. changes people. They get obsessed with certain things like producing their music or making a crapload of money. L.A. can really screw with people's minds.
This character comes from a really bad family. She wants to get away and prove that she can do something on her own. She eventually does get to that. She makes mistake along the way but every single person does that on the way to success.
LL: With this role and your part as Kaitlin Cooper from The O.C. you've played less than squeaky clean characters. Are you drawn to more complex characters, or what's the motivation there?
WH: I'm drawn to more realistic things in life, to real people. I like putting myself in the shoes of others. It's very hard for me [to imagine being] in unrealistic shoes like a superhero because that's not something that actually exists.
LL: (joking) But you would totally do Catwoman if offered?
WH: (laughs) Of course, are you kidding me? I'm wearing spandex tights right now!
LL: Do you have an idea where you want to go with your career? Rom-Coms? Dramas? Or is it more about just having good scripts?
WH: I'm very interested in all film. I've done some interesting ones in the past year. I just love the set. I like meeting different people and seeing how different directors work. I read 15 scripts a week now and there's always something really good out there that I'm drawn to.
LL: Do you get annoyed when people offer you advice because you're younger than most actors?
WH: No, not at all. I love advice. My goal is to keep my head on shoulders and my feet on the ground. Any constructive criticism I always take advantage of.
LL: Do you ever get concerned with your image or how you're portrayed in racier fare like Garden Party and The O.C.?
WH: Not at all because that's not who I am really. I do understand that people get jaded by it, like I used to get hate mail as Kaitlin Cooper but that's not me. I'm not that person. It's not really me. But whatever people think I can't take that to heart because they don't actually know me.
LL: Did your modeling experience help with Garden Party and are you still modeling?
WH: I don't think it helped me because it was really different. Not exactly the stuff I did as a kid. But I still love modeling, I'm doing an editorial for Italian Vogue next Wednesday. And I did the cover of Teen Vogue so I like do to it every once in awhile.
LL: How did you get involved with the Glitteratti video?
WH: Oh, Joe Toman is my best friend, the director, and Ryan Donowho, we met on The O.C. and we're super close, we talk every other day.
LL: Do you have to deal with Paparazzi in Los Angeles much?
WH: Thank the Lord I don't. I'm dreading the day. I've been with friends who've had to deal with it and it's most annoying thing on the planet. I'm not at the tabloid point of my career.
LL: I've read you're a big classic rock fan, but have you heard some of the artists who play on Garden Party? Really good stuff.
WH: Yeah, it's a great soundtrack. But I grew up on Who and Zepplin, that will never change, it never gets old.
LL: What other projects do you have going on right now?
WH: One would be Legion, with Paul Bettany is coming out September of '09 because there's a lot of CGI work. I went to the set every single day, even if I wasn't working because I was obsessed with how they do the CGI.
LL: When I spoke with Jason and Tim (writer and director) they mentioned this was shot pretty quickly. Does that method of filming work for you?
WH: Yeah, I enjoy working quickly because I feel like I work better under pressure. I enjoy being under pressure. I don't know why... I guess that's not that good of a thing to enjoy.
LL: What do you think the theme of Garden Party is?
WH: Pardon my French, but to me it proves how big of a mindf*** L.A. is. It shows what it can slowly do to someone, from different points of view. I've met girls who have done the craziest things in their life and they are my age. Girls getting pregnant at 16 and 17! It's the most insane thing in the world. I'm mortified of getting jaded by it all. I always need to get myself out of L.A. for a month or two and relax somewhere else.
LL: Having grown up in that environment (note: Brian De Palma is Willa's stepfather) do you think you're better equipped than someone who comes to L.A. to pursue their dreams?
WH: It differs. I've seen people grow up in the same environment and still get screwed by it. It's a question of your willingness to keep yourself out of it. You can't really hold a conversation with certain sorts of people because all they do is talk about themselves and I don't understand that mentality. The only time I do that is during phone interviews (laughs).
When I was working on The O.C. I was doing interviews every single day for a couple of months and I started noticing that I was just talking about myself in normal conversations which kind of pissed me off.
LL: Can you tell me anything about working with Vinessa Shaw?
WH: She was very sweet. Very interesting, I liked her style of acting. She's very serious and on-point.
LL: Okay, so I always try and end with favorite food. What's yours?
WH: Hmmm. In-N-Out Burger. It's the best thing that's happened in my life because I'm newly non-vegetarian.
LL: How long have you been non-vegetarian?
WH: Nine months and it's the best thing ever. I eat In-N-Out almost every day now I'm so happy about it!
And with that our time was up. Garden Party releases to select cities Friday, check out the official site for details.