Adrienne Wilkinson serves up sass as the self absorbed but fiercely well dressed Josephine in Jacob Johnston‘s thriller Dreamcatcher. I had the chance to catch up with my fellow Midwesterner for a quick Q&A about her new film.
Film synopsis: Dylan, known to his fans as DJ Dreamcatcher, is on the brink of global stardom. Everything changes the night of Cataclysm, an underground music festival, where two estranged sisters and their friends meet Dylan. After a drug fueled gruesome event, things begin to spiral into a 48-hour whirlwind of violence and mayhem.
What drew you to Dreamcatcher?
Adrienne: Josephine! Josephine, Josephine, Josephine. I really, really love this character. I’m lucky that she was only the first of 2000 things that I loved about this project, including the producers and the director and the cast iand the locations and and, and, and…. but initially it was Josephine. She was just the yummiest character. The director describes her as Coco Chanel meets Elizabeth Bathory. And I thought, ‘oh, perfection! She’s going to murder you but she’s going to do it looking fierce.’
How did you prepare to play Josephine?
Adrienne: This will sound insane but this job sort of came together at the very last second. They didn’t have the normal casting sessions they were going to have and instead they just reached out to me saying, ‘We need someone and now it has to be tomorrow. Can you do this?’ And I was like, ‘tell me more, let me see this, let me read this.’ And when they described the character, I was like, ‘oh yes!’ Then they showed me what was required for the next day and I just refused to let myself be nervous. I just said yes and jumped in trusting that it was going to be fine.
Josephine’s biggest scene which, in the script, I think was six or seven pages, but it’s basically just Josephine monologuing on and on and on about how amazing she is, essentially, and just how much she doesn’t care about all of the people at the festival. It was just this enormous amount of material and it was about 11:30 at night when the casting director reached out to me. I was on set the next day doing those pages. So I just didn’t even have time to let myself freak out, which I probably should have been, and instead, I was just so excited to get to wear this personality of someone who is so self satisfied and so full of freedom and just willing to say the worst thing to anybody at any moment, I mean, oh my god, that’s thrilling!
So other than the fact that you pretty much had to be on set the next day. What other challenges did you face when taking on this character.
Adrienne: Well, as Coco Chanel inspired, Josephine rocks a fierce pair of heels, which as women all know heels are sitting shoes. Heels are the shoes that we like to own but don’t want to have to run a marathon in. For this length of time, while also doing action, I would say that was a challenge that I was facing. And the other thing is just that we shot this film in January. So, even though it was in Los Angeles, anybody who lives here knows that it actually does get rainy and freezing and windy in January and we were up in the hills and a lot of it was outdoors. So, we managed to shoot what looks sexy and appealing, while also at moments being desperately uncomfortable and freezing. These are little silly details but they were certainly not little and silly in the moment…. We usually wear clothing that is appropriate for it being cold, bhen you’re filming, you don’t have that option. So it’s not just that it’s cold, it’s that all I’m wearing is the silk blouse and that just doesn’t do it. People sometimes don’t realize that when you’re filming, what takes two minutes on screen might take 12 hours in real life. When you start filming it’s not that big of a deal, but when you are several hours into laying on the concrete outdoors, that gets old real fast.
Are you a fan of slasher films?
Adrienne: I can’t say I am big into the fandom, I can’t say that I’m the head of the fan club for slasher films. I can say that I love a psychological thriller. I have a huge appreciation for every genre of film. But the problem with me and horror, traditionally, is that when I watch horror, I feel like I see behind the curtain and it can often seem just really silly and fake to me. I’m the girl who’s like, ‘Oh that’s a puppet. Oh no, she’s not really in danger,’ like I’m the girl who you don’t want to necessarily watch a horror movie with. I find them too predictable. I’m not in the story. I’m outside of the story, sort of watching the story, where what was exciting about being part of something like this, is that I did not find this predictable. So I was completely in it.… It’s this mystery that’s unfolding in front of us and I think that’s what will make it really exciting for the audience is that it’s not super predictable and while it pays homage to formula and predictable tropes, it also turns those on its head.
What was your reaction to the story after reading the script?
Adrienne: It was a shocker. I mean, there’s just no way to predict that right? But, even for the characters in that moment, I think that’s one of the great things about it is all of us trying to readjust to what the f just happened in front of us, you know? Are we seeing what is happening, because all of us are trying to figure out who did it and we all suspect each other. And the answer turns out to be something that just none of us could have expected, which is thrilling as a viewer. But it’s like jet lag, you know, it’s like your body is in one place but your mind hasn’t caught up to it yet. So it was that sort of feeling of us having to try to climb through that moment and understand what is happening and the idea that there’s this sort of supernatural spiritual element on top of this absolutely nitty gritty reality that’s happening. So just all of those things add these layers that make it more than what it appears to be on the surface and I love that.
Now the story is left open ended, what do you think really happened?
Adrienne: I just think that this story gives itself permission to be what it wants to be, which is great. So I think however people see that at the end, if it works, it’s no matter how you see it, you’re right. I think there’s this kind of obsessive romance that is being unpacked in those moments. You’ve watched these characters find each other, feed off of one another, manipulate each other and now you’re seeing that there’s also this sort of greater level to what it might mean. Which, in terms of a love story, is sexy and exciting because we all feel like, when we’re in love, that we’re superheroes and that there’s nothing we can’t do. You don’t quite know what to do with that and it’s both exciting and terrifying.
What is one word that you would use to describe Dreamcatcher?
Adrienne: Yes! Yes, yes, yes, I’m in! Yes, I’m going to watch it. Yes, I want to be that character. Yes I want to hang out with this incredible cast, yes I want to hear that music. Yes, I want to go to that music festival. Yes I want to sit at the pool and soak up that view! It’s just a giant ‘yes’ for me, so that’s going to be my word. Yes.