Samara Weaving is becoming horror’s go-to actress, even though she doesn’t actually love watching scary movies.
Her fiancé, Jimmy Warden, recently shared a video on social media of the Australian actress watching a scene from It — specifically, when evil clown Pennywise is luring a little boy to his doom — and she lived up to being a Hollywood scream queen.
“I didn’t know he was filming me!” says Weaving, who stars in the new horror comedy Ready or Not. “I liked the story, but the gore is too much.”
The 27-year-old rising star has already proved adept at playing villains, especially as the hot but satanic babysitter in her breakthrough, Netflix’s The Babysitter.
“People saw that and were like, ‘OK, she can be evil,’” she said.
But Weaving is all good as the heroine Grace in Ready or Not. Her character, a former foster kid yearning to be part of a family, marries into a rich, game-crazy clan. On her wedding night, however, a lively round of hide-and-seek turns deadly when her new in-laws try to murder the bride with guns, knives, crossbows, axes and whatever else they can get their hands on.
Weaving — who’s now filming Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third film starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter as the time-travelling, air-guitar-playing dudes — has also been seen wielding a grudge and a massive nail gun in the horror comedy Mayhem and appeared on the blood-drenched TV show Ash vs. Evil Dead.
Here are five things you need to know about the actress (who bears a striking resemblance to fellow Aussie Margot Robbie), her role in Ready or Not and what’s next in her burgeoning career. (Hint: She squares off with Harry Potter.)
Grace has one hellish night. So why is she smiling?
Weaving’s protagonist navigates through a massive amount of insanity during Ready or Not. She’s “in shock for the first kind of big revelation” that she’s hiding and they’re murderously seeking, turns anxious and desperate, but then just snaps when she becomes “almost fed up and determined to survive,” the actor says. (You’d be perturbed, too, being shot at while covered in goat guts.) At one point, though, she can’t help but grin. “Me personally, when I get bad news, like really bad news, sometimes you have that reaction of just a relief because of how insane life is,” Weaving says. “And you just have to laugh about it or you’re just going to have to go to an asylum.”
There were so many wedding dresses in Ready or Not.
Grace spends her entire nutty night in the same white long-sleeved gown and yellow Chuck Taylors, and the dress was custom designed to be comfortable enough to do stuntwork and “live in it basically for a month,” says Weaving, who reports there were more than 30 dresses total. Her dress gradually goes through stages of disrepair, as she rips off pieces for bandages and it’s covered in blood and guts, but having long sleeves with a high neck was both a practical and creative choice: “It was cold (filming in Toronto) and also blood on white visually was really cool.” However, Weaving didn’t get any ideas for her own wedding ensemble. “I think I’m going to get married somewhere really hot — we’re talking about it. So I’m looking at dresses with no long sleeves.”
But she can make the most of a bloody situation.
Weaving dealt with different kinds of fake blood: for example, an alcohol-based liquid was used to create stains on her dress, but the main one was a syrup dyed red that proved annoying when it was on her face. “Your eyelids start sticking together,” she says. That said, “it tastes like caramel, so that’s a pro.” For a scene where gore explodes on her, filmmakers rigged a bag with blood plus bananas and jam (“to make it look like innards”), put a tiny explosive on it and fired it off. So it was a handy snack: “It’s like a nice banana smoothie.”
Weaving has made a home for herself in the U.S.
She’s based in Los Angeles now and returns Down Under two times a year, though her relatives regularly visit America. Weaving comes from a filmmaking family: Her dad Simon is a director and teacher, while her uncle is well-known actor and Lord of the Rings star Hugo Weaving. (The villainous apple doesn’t fall from the tree, since his Mr. Smith hounded Reeves’ Neo in The Matrix movies.) “Growing up with that culture constantly around you, it kind of becomes the norm that you watch movies and talk about them and get an education in film and theatre your whole life,” she says. “So it seemed sort of natural to go into that.”
Get more of the Star in your inbox
Never miss the latest news from the Star. Sign up for our newsletters to get today’s top stories, your favourite columnists and lots more in your inbox
Sign Up Now
She’s going back to the dark side.
Weaving breaks bad to play the antagonist Nix in the action comedy Guns Akimbo, which premieres next month at Toronto International Film Festival and stars Daniel Radcliffe as a guy trying to stay alive in a citywide gladiatorial battle to the death. Her new role is “probably the craziest person I’ve ever played,” says Weaving, whose “ferocious” look involved metal in her teeth and tattoos with “aggressive words” on her face. “People just don’t look at you and they’re frightened of you. I remember going to the grocery store and people would really try and get you out of there as quick as possible. Parents with kids would cross the street to get away from me.”