||Q: What attracted you to the script for All The Boys Love Mandy Lane?
Amber Heard: When I got the script it was like falling in love. It was one of those moments when you read something and you instantly know it’s really special. It was so different. As a young actress just starting out in Los Angeles, you read so many scripts that want to pigeonhole you. They put you into a category as the pretty, young girl and nothing more. You’re always the girlfriend, there to support the rest of the characters. I read so much of that stuff when I moved here and Mandy Lane was just the opposite. The writing is so beautiful, so brilliant. I read the script and I knew there was something different about this character.
Are you usually a big fan of the teen horror genre?
No, generally speaking horror films are not my favourite. I do get a lot of those kind of scripts handed to me but I don’t watch them particularly often. I’m not a big fan of the genre so it’s not something that I go out and look for, but as with all films, it depends completely on the script. It’s about what can you imagine in your head as the final product.
When you read the script, were you shocked and surprised by the ending?
If I recall correctly, I read the script knowing what the part would be - I was forewarned - but that just made me appreciate it even more. I could see that on paper, Mandy looks like this beautiful girl caught up in the middle of this nightmare, so I could see that an audience would be fooled. That was what was so beautiful about the film, the genius of it. For the first part of the movie, I come across as just one of those sorts of characters you see in every one of these films.
Which is a bit depressing…
It’s a shame that there aren’t more powerful women written into scripts, more powerful women characters like Mandy Lane, but then that’s what’s so brilliant about Jacob Forman’s script: it plays to the audience’s expectations and then, in a way, it mocks you with the ending.
I was pleasantly surprised that the film doesn’t feel the need to explain or rationalize Mandy’s actions
Isn’t that the frightening reality of it though, how it generally seems to be in these high school shootings and tragedies? The killers appear like seemingly normal kids from seemingly normal suburban backgrounds. You don’t hear about the families, you don’t hear about what happened to them when they were three, you just turn on CNN and you watch a whole class being wiped out by angry kids.
Did you have fun making the film?
It was an amazing shoot in the middle of summer in Texas, which is where I’m from. I felt quite at home, running home around those fields, although normally I’m not running around with my clothes torn and covered in blood [giggles]. It was a lot of fun. We became a really close family unit filming out in the middle of nowhere for so long.
Do you think that helped the cast to create believable relationships between the characters?
You are close to the people you work with, especially on set, because it’s such long hours. It’s practically the place you live. In the case of this film, I chose to be isolated from the rest of the cast, in a social aspect, because I wanted to maintain a sense of genuine disconnect, in the same way that Mandy is disconnected from the other kids.
Why do you think all of the boys love Mandy Lane?
Well, I think it may be because she appears unattainable. Men seem to always go for what they can’t get. She’s really an enigma, so complex - there’s all these secrets buried deep behind here eyes which nobody quite gets until the end of the movie.
Would you like to have the power that Mandy has over men?
We, as women, live for that power.
But men always think they are the ones in control.
That’s what’s so funny!
In the film, Mandy Lane is held up as this image of physical perfection. Did that make you more self-conscious of how you looked and moved on set?
Yes. Like most people, I’ve been the girl who walks down a hallway and isn’t aware how I look and how other people perceive me. When you walk down a hallway as Mandy Lane in those slow motion shots, you become very, very conscious of how you look. But that was perfect for the character - this introverted, painfully shy, insecure girl… or so it seems at the beginning of the film.
Do you find it easy to watch yourself on screen?
It’s impossible to watch a movie objectively, especially your own scenes, but if it’s a piece of work and I’m proud of it, as I am with Mandy Lane - I love the movie - then it’s a little easier.
Were you much like Mandy Lane in high school?
I didn’t seem to spend much time in school actually. I had a close group of friends but it was rare that I actually went to school. I left high school, literally, to act.
Do you think that the film accurately represents teenagers?
Absolutely. That’s what I love about the film. Jonathan Levine, the director, and Jacob Forman, who wrote the script, did such an amazing job of portraying American teens, and encompassing how high school society functions. The girls in the film are amazing representatives of the girls who are generally considered to be popular and cool in school. Then you’ve got the other characters who are the insecure, nervous girls, who care about what other people think about them more than anything.
And thanks to Mandy, those popular and cool kids get their comeuppance!
I think in a gripping, terrifyingly real way, if you look at it from that aspect, the film is the ultimate justice; what most high school kids would like to see served. When you see all the stories about these real life teen killers, a lot of them seem to bear scars, that run really deep, as a result of the popular kids making their lives hell just to make themselves feel better. So in a kind of cool way, Mandy deals out the ultimate justice.
What’s next for you?
I believe I have five films coming out this year. Other than All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, I have a film called Never Back Down with Sean Faris and Djimon Hounsou. I also have a small independent coming out called The Beautiful Ordinary. I have an amazing film that I have just finished called The Informers by Gregor Jordan, with Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, Mickey Rourke, Billy Bob Thornton. I have another film coming out called The Pineapple Express, which is a Judd Apatow film. I’m really excited about this year.
All The Boys Love Mandy Lane released in UK cinema 15th February.