Leighton, Minka & Cam
SheKnows was invited to the Sony studios set for the psychological thriller The Roommate starring Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl, Minka Kelly from Friday Night Lights and buff Cam Gigandet of Twilight.
We can't say a lot yet, but trust us -- this is Leighton Meester as you've never seen her before. In the film, two college coeds, both interested in art and fashion, become roomies. One will turn out to be a little stranger than expected. Cam plays Minka's rock band drummer boyfriend and, of course all does not stay rosy in the halls and rooms of ye olde ivy-covered dorm.
After watching some pretty intense and bizarre stuff going on between Leighton's character Rebecca and her sympathetic roomie Sara, played by Minka, we got to pull the girls aside for a little chat. Picture them both in college girl casual dormwear, and both young women looked gorgeous with minimal make-up (we turn green with envy). We can't reveal specific plot points until closer to the film's opening next year but, we were able to get the scoop on Leighton and Minka's personal relationship and their upcoming projects.
Minka and Leighton
Minka Kelly: Yeah. Actually we worked together six years ago. We went to South Africa together and did a Clearasil commercial and have sort of championed each other on over the years and been really proud to see each other grow and now we're doing this thing together. It's just really funny how life works. It's great. I couldn't ask for a better opposite. I just love working with her and she's so much a pro. And, just the depth she's bringing to this character I couldn't imagine anyone doing better. She's fantastic.
Leighton Meester: I met her when I was 16 years old. They were doing a couple of commercials in South Africa for Clearasil and we went. She was in one where she played a waitress and I was in one where I'm this girl who goes to a party and uses the product and everything turns out great!
SheKnows: Of course. We're all only one zit away from complete happiness! (laughter) So you were friends even that long ago?
Leighton Meester: Oh yeah.
SheKnows: Minka, you shot the pilot for The Body Politic about interns in Washington, D.C. What are your hopes for the show?
Minka Kelly: I hope you get to see the show. I think it's put together with such a great group of people. I think the cast is fantastic. Scott Wynant did an incredible job directing it and he's an actor's director for sure. He has such love for the actors so we were able to make a unique and special piece of work. I think it's very current right now and I think it's appropriate especially with the huge movement that we had with all the young people voting for Obama and it's along those lines. I think that our audience, our younger generation is ready to evolve and think a little bit when they watch TV and have a larger vocabulary when they watch TV. I think we can assume our young men and women are a little bit more intelligent than just boys and girls dating and cheating. Let's feed them a little bit!
SheKnows: I agree! Anything else lined up for you, Leighton?
Leighton Meester: Right now, this. I've been doing Gossip Girl for a while so it's nice to switch it up for a bit and just be somebody else and be in a different environment for a while. I just did a part in this movie Date Night with Tina Fey which was very funny.
SheKnows: You play a babysitter?
Leighton Meester: Yeah. It was really fun and funny and they're very open and awesome. So that was very inspiring and cool but just so different. It's nice to have variety I think. But, this film is good. It's very challenging.
SheKnows: What about Minka guest-starring on Gossip Girl? Is that a possibility?
Minka Kelly: We joke about it a little bit. 'I'll come and be your sister!'. I'd definitely not shy away from that. I'm a big fan of hers period so that would be fun! I'd be in good company.
Leighton Meester: I'd love that! That would be awesome. She would be great.
At this point, the mutual admiration society is broken up as Leighton is needed on set so we continue chatting with Minka...
Minka goes solo
SheKnows: Your character Lyla is supposed to appear in a few upcoming episodes of Friday Night Lights?
Minka Kelly: Yeah. I know nothing of what the story is going to be other than I'm pretty sure it's just about my moving on to college. I'm very glad that that's the case because it's realistic. Everything is very real and they're keeping it that way instead of keeping us till we 30-year-olds playing high school and college students. I will forever remember that experience. I learned so much and it's why I'm here now. It's my baby.
SheKnows: You do have a favorite film in the horror or psychological thriller genre that you liked?
Minka Kelly: Well, just recently, I think that 28 Days Later was done really well. It's been a long time since a movie has actually scared me but that really got to me. I really enjoyed that. I also loved (Hitchcock's) The Birds. That was pretty creepy. I don't really like birds and I thought Psycho was really, really good.
SheKnows: They are re-making The Birds. Michael Bay's company is producing it.
Minka Kelly: Really, then that should be nice and big!
SheKnows: Any summer vacation plans?
Minka Kelly: I'm going to Africa after the 4th of July.
SheKnows: Just to visit?
Minka Kelly: Yeah but to visit some of the slum areas and visit the kids on the streets and the women affected with HIV. It will be very private but I'll talk more about it later.
And, Minka is gone. But, even though he's not in today's scenes, Cam Gigandet has come in just to talk to us! Here he comes in his form-fitting shirt, jeans and cute black and white tennies. That blonde hair is very spiked up. He sits down and a bunch of crew members start carousing behind us.
Cam Gigandet sits in
SheKnows: Somebody is having a blast.
Cam Gigandet: Hey, it's somebody's birthday!
SheKnows: We know you can't say much about your boyfriend role in this film but you have a lot of projects all over the map lately. Are you just hopping from one to the other?
Cam Gigandet: Yeah. There's been a lot of that. I have a good agent who keeps it all in line. It gets hectic and busy at times but it's fun so it makes it worth it.
SheKnows: What's next after this?
Cam Gigandet: I'm in Priest here at Sony. That would be coming up end of August. That one's a big movie. Paul Bettany and I are fighting vampire creatures to be exact.
SheKnows: Had you read the graphic novel it's based on?
Cam Gigandet: No. I hadn't even known about it until after I auditioned. Now, looking at both the script and the comic book, they're related but I don't know if it's based on it entirely. Personally, I like the script better.
SheKnows: It's kind of a Western and you are sort of a sheriff in it?
Cam Gigandet: Yeah.
SheKnows: You say vampire-like creatures? So they are not really vampires?
Cam Gigandet: They are I guess. If you wanted to call them something, they would be vampires but not in the terms that we think vampires are. They don't like sun and that's kind of the main similarity. Other than that they don't look like humans and they move differently. When people think of vampires now, they think of Twilight but it's not like that.
SheKnows: Sounds creepy. Are they guys in costumes on set or CG?
Cam Gigandet: I haven't started it yet but I'm assuming (guys on set) and I hope there will be some make-up or something to relate to.
SheKnows: What will it be like going from playing a vampire to vampire hunter?
Cam Gigandet: It's going to be a change from Twilight. This character in Priest is obviously very different but he's also very normal and he has a lot to prove. It'll be a nice change of pace.
Cam has to move on so we are relaxing in our director's chair against a huge citiscape backdrop and here comes the director Christian E. Christensen, a cute, blonde Danish fellow who is making The Roommate his U.S. directing debut after several films in Denmark, one nominated for an Oscar! Again, we can't reveal his very interesting take on the scary storyline but we did want to know why he cast Leighton and Minka as the two roomies.
Christian Christensen: We wanted Sara to be an all-American, likeable character and I knew Minka from Friday Night Lights and I think she was wonderful in that show. She's really sweet and she's a great contrast to what Leighton is bringing to the movie. We know Leighton from Gossip Girl where she is kind of the bad girl, most of the time anyway. We wanted to bring that in. We wanted to bring some of those qualities. No doubt people are going to see something quite different from her. Leighton's whole approach to the role is amazing.
Keep checking back with us closer to the film's release next year and SheKnows will bring you a more detailed on-set report. Suffice it to say that these young actors will impress you in roles very different from what you've seen them do so far and, oh yeah, be prepared to be creeped out and start looking at your roomie, husband or significant other in a very different, maybe even suspicious light...
Read on for more