Best known for her role as the sweet-natured Alice Cullen in the juggernaut "Twilight" saga, Ashley Greene is beginning to step out of the shadow of the uber-successful series and demonstrate her range. Moviegoers can now see her join an all-star ensemble (including Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry) in the long-delayed indie comedy “Butter,” a satirical look at internal jockeying and backstabbing within the world of competitive butter carving.
Here Greene reveals how she transitioned from vampires angst to sly send-up, navigating an on-screen snog with a sexy co-star and cinematic clubbing at punk landmark CBGB.
Having talked about this for a while, how relieved are you that "Butter" is finally making it to the screen?
It was an exciting thing to be a part of, and so to have to wait this long was a little tedious – It's exciting to me for people to see something different from Alice in 'Twilight,’ because I know that's what I get the most: 'Oh, we loved you in "Twilight," but what else can she do?' So it's an exciting thing to have people see me in a comedy and have me play kind of this extremely opposite character, I think, than what I've played before.
This is your first real foray into satire. What was your comedy learning curve?
I think the training was just, like, sink or swim. I went in and watched and learned and just allowed myself to let go of it. I think for comedy that's one of the more important things, to allow yourself to go outside the box. You go outside your comfort zone and you really just have to kind of let it all hang out and go for it – and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But when it does, they capture it and that's what goes onscreen.
By now, I think your fan base is well aware that you have a pretty spicy scene with Olivia Wilde. How did you guys negotiate how you were going to go for it in the moment?
We didn't really talk about it until we got to set, but luckily she and I were friendly, and we both had that personality where we just said, 'You know what? Let's just do it!' We didn't make a big deal out of it. Apart from her being a girl, it's the same thing that I go through kissing any male onscreen, and it's kind of a part of the job. There are so many crazy moments in the film that it just kind of fit, and so we got there.
What type of projects are you repeatedly offered? And what kinds of off-the-beaten path things are you looking for?
Listen, never say never, but I think in general college film – playing the like hot cheerleader – you're probably not going to see me do that. I think I've been really lucky being able to bypass typecasting. When I was cast as Alice, one of the really brilliant things about it is that she's the girl next door. She's everyone's best friend. She's sweet and charismatic, and so I think I got to bypass that whole kind of typecasting, saying, 'This is what we see you as and what you're going to play.' So I don't think I would want to backtrack in that sense.
Horror films and slasher films, 99% percent of the time I will probably shy away from. Thrillers I enjoy – there's a very fine line. Apart from that, right now I'm just looking for films that inspire me, because that's what it's about for me. I just enjoy doing my job and I enjoy doing different things and diving into different characters. I think playing a villain would be really interesting because psychologically there are so many different ways you can go with villains, and their reasoning for doing things kind of dives deep into the psyche. On the polar opposite side of the spectrum, doing a Victorian kind of film would be ideal. It's very hard to get those made, but that would be very fun.
Next up after the final “Twilight” is “CBGB,” about the legendary New York rock club of the 70s and 80s. How was that experience?
It's so interesting, the different kind of types and groups of people that it's drawing in, because everyone seems to have a tie to this film in some way, shape or form. Whether it's one of the bands that was involved with CBGB, the people behind the actual establishment, the club, it's just exciting to see everyone get so excited about it. Basically it's the story of how CBGB began, how Hilly Kristal started the establishment, how his idea of what this bar was going to be, and how it altered.
Originally it was supposed to be for country, blue grass and blues and ended up kind of turning into this underground punk haven, and just the transition from that. I got to play Hilly's daughter, Lisa Kristal, play the strong New York businesswoman. It was interesting because she was the daughter, but she kind of more acted like the adult. Hilly was a bit more like the child because he was musically very inclined and extremely passionate and had such a love for music, but really didn't know how to run a business. That was kind of the daily battle, was Lisa saying, 'There's a certain protocol and you have to do this to keep your business alive,' and it was fun working with Jody [Savin], the writer, and working with Alan [Rickman] to create this kind of balance in this relationship between the two of them and show this kind of tough love relationship.
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So yeah, I think it's going to be fun, and it's cool because Lisa was actually there [on set], and so I feel like there's just a bit of security knowing that we kind of did it right, because she seemed happy and we got to use the payphone from the actual club, and parts of the wall of the bar are actually from [the original] CBGB!