Hello there 🙂
When Mary Elizabeth Winstead enters our West Hollywood studio, her presence is immediately felt. She's wearing a pair of black high-heeled boots that make her about a meter tall. Her face is free of makeup and her hair is fully grown, an elf casually hidden behind her ears. Her voice is low when she introduces herself to me and the entire production team. It's the third week of the award season and everyone feels exhausted, but Winstead is a welcome breath of fresh air and energy.
At the time of our shooting, Winstead is only a few days away from a worldwide press tour for birds of prey, the highly anticipated female team, starring Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez and newcomer Ella Jay Basco. (It's also worth noting that the film was written and directed by women Christina Hodson and Cathy Yan.) As Huntress, the vigilante of the DC world with the crossbow, Winstead is an outstanding film, but not without its share of comedic moments , The actress is at home and plays the action or anti-hero depending on how you choose Huntress, and that shows in her performance. "I am now in this zone where I feel very comfortable in this world, and I want to go further and further and maybe find something that I can develop and that really feels like me," said Winstead.
After a brief portrait session in which Winstead's beauty had no limits, we sat down to chat about everything from being attached to her to the others birds of prey Co-stars on their 2020 obsessions. (Even she can't stop talking about it The Netflix thriller doc.) Read on for our conversation.
let's talk birds of prey, Do you remember when you got the call for this project? What was your first reaction?
It piqued my interest because it was run by women. Margot Robbie, the fact that she plays the main role because I really respect her as an actress, but also the fact that she produces it was really interesting. I watched Cathy Yan's first film I loved, so I really wanted to meet her and talk to her about it. I was really curious birds of prey from the beginning, more than I think other films in this genre because I think I thought Oh, you kind of know what to expect, while that was something new for me. I was excited to meet all of these women who are strong and interesting and unique.
I imagine that the term "badass" is often used to describe this group of women. What does badass mean to you?
I think it just means not really caring about what other people think. Following your true self and heart, and what you believe to be true to your values, I find pretty bad. I naturally think that this requires strength. So if you follow your own path, you will become strong and bad.
Tell us about Huntress. What makes them a particularly exciting vigilante in the DC world?
It was so fun because it comes from such a dark place. This character came out of a lot of pain and a lot of trauma, but I think you can see it in the comics, and we also found that this character is still a lot of fun. Sarcasm in the way she's kind of a lonely wolf, she doesn't really like working with other people, and the way she kicks the other women was really fun to play with. I think we found humorous ways to play with it. So she is angry and violent and vicious, but also very funny.
Huntress has a characteristic purple look that has been preserved through her many iterations in the comics. How did you take the comic version of her look and give the film a modern feel? Was there anything you personally wanted to bring to your look?
I think the main thing we did to translate it into the film, which is different from the comics, is trying to make it a bit more tactile and a little more real, because the film has a kind of dark real world aesthetically to this within this very trendy comic genre. I think we wanted it to feel very tactile and functional, like I could really walk around and kill people in this outfit. Nothing is too tight, nothing is too restrictive and there are many pockets for weapons and the like. I think that was really well thought out. Of course, the things we thought were stylistically cool were really exciting to brainstorm with costume designer Erin Benach. And the purple was also very important and the crucifix motif. This is something you see a lot in the comics with Huntress because it comes from a Catholic background. So you see these crucifixes everywhere that she wears in the comics, so that the motif is reproduced in everything that I wear in the film. It's subtle, but it's there.
What was your fitness preparation for this role?
You know, luckily, they didn't set us on a specific fitness program, other than training for the roles. What do you need to know to play this character? What do you need to be able to do? Sometimes I was alone, sometimes I was with the other girls, but we only had a large warehouse and we trained with the stunt team for a few months, did a lot of jujitsu, different types of martial arts, and a lot of exercises that wanted to choreography slowed down so it was really fun. I really loved it. I love working with stunt people because I think they are just incredible people and so supportive and cute, and their work ethic is incredible and their talent is obviously unimaginable. I always find it very inspiring to be with stunt people. I feel very happy to have the opportunity to do so.
Are there skills or practices that you would continue to use or integrate into your everyday life?
To birds of preyI worked on a different film with the same stunt team, so I feel like I've made a lot of progress with each film, and I'm just a little different in my daily life. My body feels different. I feel stronger, I feel a little harder, and it has influenced me in a way.
This is such a strong female cast with Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Rosie Perez. Do you have particularly good memories of the women when the cameras weren't running?
A lot of! There were a lot of bonding moments between us on and on the set. They are such a beautiful group of women and so funny, so funny and lively and lively. I remember there was a night when Jurnee and I went to Rosie's house and everyone just sat and drank wine and cried, just cried together. It was just so nice. They really are all – Margot, Jurnee, Rosie, Kathy, Sue, Ella – they are all people I can just pick up the phone and say anything. There is real trust and camaraderie that is so special.
I want to ask you about your 2020 obsessions. Who are you obsessed with right now? What are you obsessed with right now? And what are you wearing over and over again?
Who am I obsessed with? I feel like a broken record and a bit of a cliché because everyone is obsessed with her, but I love Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I've been obsessed with her since season one fleabagstill obsessed with everything about her, from writing to acting according to her style. I love her. I'm so excited to see where she goes from here, and I really hope that she writes more female action-oriented films because that could be really exciting.
And what am I obsessed with? I think one thing I've talked a lot about and it's strange to call an obsession because it's very twisted, but I just saw this show Don't fuck with cats. I like it when you see something you tell other people to see, but you don't tell them about it because you don't want to spoil the experience. So I'm always excited when I find a show or movie like this that tells people to watch and find out what their reaction is. I'm a little obsessed with it.
As for fashion, I think I'm trying to keep things very simple right now. I put on pretty much everything and go, so a black turtleneck and a great jacket – that's pretty much my job at the moment.
Let's talk a little bit more about fashion. How do you and your stylist Penny Lovell approach a big press tour like the one you are currently on? birds of prey?
The nice thing about such a big tour is that with many looks everything is less important. You can really only have fun with it; I will wear one in a day and one the next. I don't think too much about it. It really plays and I leave Penny all the tailoring and stuff. I let them decide if something didn't look right on me and I don't really think much about it.
Is there a certain look that you are really looking forward to?
I am very excited about my premiere looks in Mexico and London because they are the most elegant, so to speak, and I am excited to have a bit of glamor.
What do you like about the red carpet?
I really like to be very chic and simple, with a pop of something that's a little bit quirkier or a little more extravagant, or kind of strange in terms of shapes. I've always really loved ACNE, so I love this kind of aesthetics where it's simple but maybe a little geometric or something that stands out. I was in Tokyo recently and went crazy shopping there, so I feel like I'm in for the year. I have a few key pieces that I just wear and it feels unique and different and not like something that everyone has, so I love that. I don't usually shop that much, but when I am in one place , which I don't normally visit, would be my time to get something special.
How does style come into play in your life compared to five or ten years ago?
It's hard to describe. For me, the way I live now, I don't go out that much, so style is not really part of my daily life as it was when I was younger, but it makes it all the more special when I make it glam , It's rare for me to wear jewelry or a pretty dress, especially when I'm not whirling around for something. But when I do that, it's really meaningful, it's like a special evening, and I kind of love it. In my daily life, I usually wear overalls and rubber boots because I live in a really muddy place. I like to be cleaned up once in a blue moon and do something glamorous.
What is a dream role for you in this phase when you are considering where you are in your career right now?
I don't know that I absolutely have a dream role because I am always inspired by what comes to me and I usually feel longed for what comes to me in one form or another, so I kind of send it quietly in Universe. But I think I'm really excited to do more action comedy. Since birds of prey and the film cottage I did it, I am now in this zone where I really feel comfortable and I want to keep going into this world and maybe find something that I can develop and that really feels like me. I look forward to these opportunities.
You are a real scream queen with lots of horror / thriller films on your resume. Would you like another scary movie?
I've always loved horror. I've always loved being the heroine of a movie where I have to do a lot of physical, gritty things. That's one thing I've always loved about horror, the physicality of it and what I'm doing and dirty and really got clawed through dirt and covered in blood. In these films you ultimately lose all vanity and I think that's really great. In that sense, I'm always open to it, you know? I don't join anything.
What horror films are on your radar right now?
I finally saw it parasite, It took me ages to see it, and I don't know if I would really classify it as a horror movie, but it's certainly terrible on many levels and it's beautiful. For me, that's the moment a horror movie presses the button – if it's really entertaining, it's creepy, you think, and it says so much about society and class, says something about fears on one other level. That is what I always love about horror.
birds of prey is in theaters now.
Photographer: Jade Mainade
Stylist: Penny Lovell
Makeup Artist: Adam Breuchaud
Next is our February cover story with Issa Rae.