As the “Twilight” film franchise draws to a close, Ashley Greene has no intention of letting the sun go down on her career.
To that end, the 25-year-old star headlines “The Apparition,” a thriller in which she crafts something of an anti-clichéd horror heroine, with her character making reasonable, rational decisions even as the apparently supernatural circumstances grow even more terrifying. Greene shares her thoughts on the film, saying goodbye to playing Alice Cullen and the youthful family home videos she hopes you’ll never see.
How did you approach doing a horror movie like "Apparition"? Did they make you do a lot of screaming?
Well, I think the thing that what attracted me to this film, and to Todd Lincoln [the director], was that we didn't to make a film just like any other and make it about kind of cheap scare tactics – We didn't want to make a slasher film. We wanted it to be a little more elevated, and wanted, I think, the unknown to be the most terrifying thing. Because that's what terrifies me: not knowing what you're up against and what's going to happen and what you can possibly do, because no matter what do something horrible always seems to happen.
I felt like a lot of times it just wasn't necessary to be screaming the entire time, and I wanted Kelly to be smarter than that. I wanted her to not run up the stairs instead of out the front door. That was something that was important to me, and so I felt like if you limit the amount that you're running around screaming that it's more impactful. I feel like I was just trying to imagine myself and how I react whenever I get scared or terrified and think someone is in my house or whatnot. I don't run around screaming, and so I just thought that it was unrealistic to make it that way.
Since most of this movie is psychological and you're supposed to be worked up thinking about frightening things, was it hard to shake at the end of the day? Did it ever go home with you?
I was okay. I think generally after an intense scene I definitely had a moment where everyone kind of knew not to talk to me. I walked outside and it was freezing – it was February, so it was snowing and crazy, and in wardrobe which is definitely not a jacket. I had to walk outside and literally have two or three minutes to myself to kind of calm yourself down, because I think it's almost muscle memory. Your body kind of reacts and your hands are shaking and it is a hard thing to shake off. I didn't really have much time to assess things because we were literally working 16 hours a day, and I was in virtually every scene.
As the "Twilight" series ends and you start headlining movies like this, how do you hope to grow your career after having the advantage of playing a character like Alice that people loved – and that you had some magic with, too?
I think right now it's very fun because there are so many things that I haven't done and so many characters that I haven't played. Of course I want it to be well-rounded. I'm interested in playing basically every single different character. I certainly want to play a villain at some point because I think that's very fun, and the polar opposite of Alice. The great thing about Alice is that she is so lovable and relatable, so it definitely is an advantage because I feel like I can now take on those characters without actually having people think that's actually who I am, or what I'm like. You run in to that sometimes, where people just assume that you're like your characters.
Is there a specific genre that you're dying to be a part of?
I think I definitely want to do an action film. We kind of dabble in that in "Twilight" and I was always the one who was there with Jeff [Imada], the stunt coordinator, even when I didn't have to be, going, 'Okay, teach me how to do this! Teach me how to do that!' because I did do martial arts when I was a kid. I was extremely competitive and loved it. So I always try and do my own stunts for things.
I'm sure that even with your passionate fan base that you're still surprised from time to time. What's the last time you had a really great moment with a fan?
Not that it happens all the time, but it's happened a few times with a fan, either meeting them or fan mail. I do go through all my fan mail and sign it! Actually, we did last night – me, and my two friends who are in town, we were like, 'Okay!' and we all went through it. Hearing that you have some kind of impact on someone and changed their life for the better and gave them inspiration or passion for something, or allowed them to believe in themselves, that's something that's really important to me. That's kind of something that I get from people sometimes and it's great. I work with something called Empowerment and it's to stop dating abuse and violence. It's basically to empower women and young girls. That's always very special to me, whenever someone says, 'Your message or what you're doing or what you're saying has impacted me and made me be able to do this, or allowed me to feel like I could speak up for myself.' That's always very touching to me.
When did you know that this was an occupation that you not just wanted to pursue, but probably didn't have much choice to pursue. Were you driven to it?
I was looking back, and I was like, 'Yeah, I guess the signs were there,' because in Jacksonville there's not really a market for acting. I was like a competitive cheerleader and dancer, and looking at home videos clearly liked the spotlight and was a ham as a child. I went to this magnet law program and realized that it wasn't necessarily law that I loved that much, although, it's interesting. We would do mock trials and it was a whole performance of it, and so I think there was always that in me – wanting to be a performer – there. And then I took a commercial class and really liked it and someone said, 'You're really good at that. You should try an acting class.” And I took the class and fell in love with it. I think part of it was my teacher was extremely passionate and he radiated love and respect for this craft.
How embarrassing are those home videos of you as a kid? And are they on YouTube?
They're not! They're at my house. I'm actually transferring them to DVD because they're all on VHS. The other day – this so sad – I had friends over, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, we should watch these,' and then I realized I don't have a VHS player, so I could not watch them. So I was like, 'Gosh, I have to get these transferred.' They're not on YouTube. But I'm sure that they're going to end up on a talk show one day. They're hysterical.
How difficult is it to say goodbye to Alice, and literally, the family that the project has been?
I always say that the premiere, it's really, really going to hit and impact. Comic-Con was when I was like, 'Oh, wait.' That was the first event that was the last event that we were going to do for "Twilight," and I was like, 'Wow. It's crazy.' It has been such a huge part of my life and my career. It basically started my career. You do get comfortable and you do become a family with these people. So it's a little weird knowing that we're not going to go back to that, but I like to be positive.