we speak to maika monroe, star of it follows, the year's most unique horror film

We caught up with the Santa Barbara beauty to talk scary movies, super powers and what it’s like to run from Downton's Cousin Matthew...

by Tish Weinstock
25 February 2015, 1:30am

Maika Monroe. Write this name down, cut it out, stick it on your wall and memorise it. Because this little lady is about to hit the big time. Starting her career as a kite surfer (she gets her sportiness from her dad) it wasn't until she first stepped on set, in a cameo role, that she fell truly, madly, deeply in love with acting. Since then she's starred opposite Zac Efron in At Any Price, appeared alongside Kate Winslet in Labor Day, and ran screaming from Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens in the spine tingling thriller The Guest. Talking of screaming, she's currently starring in what's bound to be the scariest film of the year: David Robert Mitchell's surreal horror flick It Follows, which hits cinemas on Friday. Cast in the role of Jay, young Maika spends the entire film running away from terrifying It's - they come in all shapes and sizes and if they ever catch up with you they kill you in the most horrifying way- and trying to pass on the curse by sleeping with as many men as possible. Sound weird? You have no idea… 

It Follows scared me shitless.
Haha. That's perfect!

How did you get involved with the film?
I remember reading the script and thinking that it was one of the weirdest things I'd ever read. Then I looked up the director, David, and saw some of his previous work and thought, "this is probably going to be something quite unique and not your typical horror movie."

Have you watched it back?
Yes I have.

Were you not petrified? Or did you know what was coming next?
There are definitely times where I'll jump, because of the music or something. But overall, no, it doesn't scare me. All I think is when I see a certain scene is, "oh I remember that scene, I was freezing my ass off."

Do you love scary films?
Yeah I do. I always regret it after, but at the time I love them.

What's your all-time favourite?
I have to say The Shining or Nightmare on Elm Street. Both those movies scared the shit out of me. I remember totally not being able to sleep after watching them and having nightmares.

How difficult is it to do a scary movie?
It's much harder than you think. I've never been running for my life or terrified because someone is trying attack me. You have to use your imagination and think, "what would I be feeling if I was in the situation?"

What made you want to be an actress?
I never really thought about it. I wanted to be a paramedic, which is so odd. I never wanted to be a "movie star" but I was part of a dance company when I was younger and some directors contacted the dance studio as they wanted some extras and I thought, "this sounds cool." When I walked on set I remember being blown away by the whole process. I guess that's where it all started.

Did you study acting?
No, not really. I mean I did some acting classes when I was a kid in LA. For me, it's an art form. You're either born with it or you're not, sure you can go to classes and work on it and work on it, but that wasn't good for me. For some reason, I didn't like being in the classroom with people telling me, "no that isn't right or yes that's right." Everyone has their own idea of what the character should be and will have their own history that no one else will know.

So how did you develop your craft?
You really can't learn more than you can on set. Nothing can prepare you to what it's like being on set. You're going at such a different pace. You have to memorise new scenes; there are all these different changes. Every film is a new process, but you bring what you learnt from the last one over and it continues to become second nature. I've learned the most just doing it, basically.

What is it about acting that you love? Is it about escapism? Or about being able to experience the lives of so many different characters?
I have my one life where I'm Maika, but then I get to experience so many different lives because of the job that I have. It's so cool; from learning how to fight to how to shoot a gun - all these different things you get to learn which I'd never do on my own.

When was the first time you realised you could make a career out of acting?
That's a really good question. I guess recently with The Guest and It Follows and having people really respond and having directors say, "I just love you" in IT Follows, and having people watch the film and wanting to meet me- it's so exciting and so cool. I guess I'm only seeing recently how things are changing.

What would be your dream role?
I don't know. I think it would be pretty cool to play a superhero.

What would be your special power?
I think teleporting would be great. Being able to leave a place and suddenly be in another.

What about time travel?
That would be amazing!

But also quite scary because if you change one tiny thing from the past, your whole future might be different.
Oh my gosh, that's so true.

What else would you like to play?
I also think it would be really interesting to play a real person and study their history, how they walk, how they talk, and really transform yourself. That would be a really good challenge.

What about directors?
I would love to work with Wes Anderson. That would just be incredible. He's so unique and stylised; I've never done anything like it before.

Ok last question who would be your ultimate rom com love interest?
I'm a huge fan of Tom Hardy. He's the most incredible actor. He's such a stud.


It Follows
Maika Monroe
Tish Weinstock