Samara Weaving isn’t Scared Anymore

The ubiquitous actress talks ‘Mayhem’ and getting over her fear of scary movies.
Mayhem Movie Joe Lynch
By  · Published on November 15th, 2017

The ubiquitous actress talks ‘Mayhem’ and getting over her fear of scary movies.

Samara Weaving is everywhere. Just this week, you can catch the 25-year-old Australian actress on Netflix in McG’s hyperactive horror-comedy The Babysitter, on Showtime in Frankie Shaw’s brazen new comedy series SMILF, and in theaters with a scene-stealing supporting role in Martin McDonagh’s much-anticipated Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This weekend, she spoke with us about yet another impressive project–Mayhem, the Joe Lynch-directed corporate horror flick that hit theaters and streaming platforms on November 10th.

In Mayhem, Weaving plays Melanie, a young woman who promptly gets screwed over by the law firm where Derek (Steven Yeun) has also just been framed and fired. When a virus sweeps through the skyscraper office, leaving staff members devoid of impulse control and inclined to act out their basest desires, the building is quarantined, giving Melanie and Derek a narrow opportunity for no-strings-attached bloody revenge. Mayhem is a fast-paced, gory, and surprisingly satisfying adventure through a landscape of capitalist anger, and Weaving shines as an up-for-anything woman who’s eager to bring the pain to the corrupt rich folks who have wronged her. Below, Weaving talks about why she appreciates characters like Melanie, her new relationship with horror movies, and being everywhere this year.

Mayhem features lots of carnage in an office setting, and last week the show Mr. Robot also had an episode centered around anarchy in a corporate building. What do you think it is about people breaking shit and going crazy in office buildings that is so appealing to us?

I think the office place is always seen as such a professional, sterile environment, so there’s something unusually thrilling about taking that well-behaved, polished environment and turning it upside down and shaking it up. Add some blood and guts and that’s Mayhem.

Have you ever had a boss you’ve wanted to go Mayhem on?

Fortunately, I haven’t had a boss I’ve wanted to go Mayhem on, but I definitely had a few teachers from high school in mind when I was whacking those poor stunt women.  I want to state for the record that this does not include Miss Benassi! You were not one of them! My favorite teacher ever–ever!

I’ve heard that you don’t like horror movies: is that true?

I’m such a scaredy cat. I couldn’t watch 101 Dalmatians when I was like nine because Cruella was too scary. However, since researching for The Babysitter and Mayhem I’ve grown really fond of the genre.

Now that you’re into them more, what are some horror movies you’ve actually liked?

I really liked Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and Scream. The latest IT movie was too scary for me though!

What was it that drew you to this role Mayhem?

I really loved that Melanie Cross was arguably the toughest character in the film. She has a strong moral compass and a stronger sense of who she is and what she wants. She never wavers in the face of danger and dangerous people. I admired Matias [Caruso] for writing such a great role for a woman.

Do you have specific criteria for choosing roles, or is it more instinctual?

When it comes to roles it’s usually a gut feeling. If I’m afraid of the role and know it’s going to be a challenge that excites me. I love figuring out the layers of a character. It’s like a puzzle and hopefully, I get all the pieces in place before the cameras roll. I also have a brilliant team who give me really perceptive advice. They’ve been so wonderful–I’d be lost without them.

How was it physically to play this role and get into this character on set? All those fights and the gore looked exhausting!

We had a lot of stunt training in Serbia. The stunt team was really brilliant and a lot of fun. Those women could kick some serious ass.

How different was Three Billboards from these horror-comedy projects you’ve done?

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri is a completely different kettle of fish. Polar opposite to Melanie. They look kinda similar though.

You’re appearing in a lot in 2017: what’s your favorite thing that you got to do for the first time this year?

Oh man, that’s a tough question. I think I’ve been really lucky in the versatility of the roles I’ve played. So no, I don’t have a favorite. There have been golden moments in all the projects over the last couple years. I’m a very lucky lady.

What do you want from 2018?

As long as I keep working with creative, brilliant, intelligent teams I’ll be happy.

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Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer, TV-lover, and mac and cheese enthusiast. As a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects, she covers television through regular reviews and her recurring column, Episodes. She is also a voting member of the Critics Choice Association's television and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)