Sorority Row - Rumer Willis interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
RUMER Willis talks about the challenges of new horror film Sorority Row, perfecting the art of screaming and why female empowerment is important in films.
She also talks about her famous parents, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, why they’ve been so supportive and why she’d like to use her own celebrity to project positive role models…
Q. What attracted you to Sorority Row?
Rumer Willis: When I read it I was really intrigued by how unique it was. All the death scenes, and the way these girls were talking to each other… It was a female-driven cast, which I thought was great because most of the time in these horror movies all you see is a couple making love in the corner, then you see the killer outside the window, and the girl ends up dying two minutes later. I was excited by the female-empowerment aspect to it.
Q. Had you seen the 1983 original film [The House on Sorority Row]?
Rumer Willis: They didn’t want us to watch it.
Q. You spend most of the film screaming and crying with snot hanging out your nose… Do you worry about not looking pretty on screen?
Rumer Willis: God no, I would never want the responsibility of being the prettiest girl in the room. That would be too much. But after I did The House Bunny I don’t think I could look any worse. I mean, I was in a metal back brace, so after that the snot and the tears were kind of easy [laughs].
Q. Have you encountered any total bitches like the ones in the movie?
Rumer Willis: Definitely. All through elementary school, high school, middle school… they’re everywhere. How did I cope? You just don’t surround yourself with people like that, although it’s fun to play them in movies.
Q. You’ve had vocal training. Did that help when it came to all the screaming?
Rumer Willis: I’m sure it did. I don’t know where the screams come from. I had no idea I could scream that loud. The sound guys by the end of the movie were not so happy with me. You definitely lose your voice afterwards but I like screaming, it’s fun. But I was a little jealous that Briana [Evigan, her co-star] got to do all these stunts while I was hiding in the closet the whole time.
Q. Did you research the great horror movies for your scream?
Rumer Willis: I watched Scream and those other ones before that. Neve Campbell has some great ones in the Scream movies. You take things like that and keep changing it up.
Q. Is having a famous surname [and parents in Bruce and Demi] a help or a hindrance?
Rumer Willis: I don’t think you can ever look at anything you’ve come into this world with as either good or bad – it’s just what you get and you can’t do anything about it. Everyone has opportunities and different doors that are open to them in different ways to do whatever they want to do. The thing in the end is if you’re talented you’ll get work and if you’re not then you won’t. It doesn’t really matter who you know in the end. You could go and get an audition but if you go in there and you suck they’re not going to give you the job.
Q. Are your parents supportive of your career choice?
Rumer Willis: They’ve always been entirely supportive and extremely great in that way. I couldn’t ask for anything better.
Q. Did you ever consider any other careers?
Rumer Willis: For a while when I was a kid I kind of wanted to be a doctor, but I don’t know why. It sounds like so much work. But I figure one day I could play a doctor in something and get that out of the way.
Q. What do you most enjoy about acting?
Rumer Willis: Being able to connect with people. [Laughs] I hope people aren’t going through similar events to those in Sorority Row, but if you can connect with someone and they don’t feel alone because they saw something you were in. Or you can play a part that changes someone’s entire idea about something. And it’s like getting to play dress-up all the time and you get to do all these different things – especially a film in which, say, you have to learn a new skill for. I’m not a great dancer but if I got to do a film where I had to learn something completely new, I’d love to do that.
Q. Do you feel pressure as a young woman in Hollywood to always look fantastic and be in great shape?
Rumer Willis: I miss being able to walk to the grocery store in my PJs, but what are you gonna do? But one of the most important things that I would love to do, if hopefully it all works out and I get to continue doing this, is to set a really positive role model for young women about their body image and about eating. In the past few years this idea of perfection that has come up in Hollywood, there needs to be a shift in that – especially in the younger generations. I have two younger sisters in high school and I hear about it all the time, and I would like to give out a much better body image message.
Q. And what would that message be?
Rumer Willis: That girls don’t need to be stick-thin where you can see your bones through your skin. It’s not a good look. You don’t need that to be beautiful or to fit in. What you are is exactly what you should be. You can’t let other people dictate how you live your life or how you look. That’s not living. That’s another reason why I love being an actress. When you stop working you forget you don’t have someone to do your hair every day. You go on set and you look like crap and an hour later you can look beautiful. I could never spend that much time on all that myself.
Q. But isn’t everyone in the movie in incredible shape?
Rumer Willis: But they’re just normal looking girls. We didn’t go in and hire a bunch of girls who had no body. But it is a bit ridiculous when there’s a shot of them drawing the fat circles on one of the girls – that’s just so ridiculous.
Q. Are you any good at keeping secrets?
Rumer Willis: I’m OK. My own secrets I’m bad at keeping, but other people’s secrets I can keep.
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