My love for Leighton Meester runs deep. So deeply in fact that I actually adored the actress before she was “Leighton Meester” and was simply Debbie Pendleton on the fourth season of “24.” But little did I know that the sweet young girl who died for Behrooz’s sins was capable of conjuring up a character so conniving, duplicitous and brilliant, even Jack Bauer might have struggled to stop her.
I am, of course, talking about Blair Waldorf, queen of “Gossip Girl’s” Upper East Side. For four seasons she’s been lording over the headband-ed hens who fall at her feet and delivering the kind of epic one-liners, icy glares and smackdowns that warrant legend status.
Now, she’s putting the bitch on the backburner and bringing the crazy as Rebecca in “The Roommate” (out today). I caught up with Leighton to talk about the emotional toll playing a mentally unhinged psycho took on her, why she never even considered playing the “stalkee” role and what she thinks of Blair’s burgeoning relationship with Dan.
PopWrap: What attracted you to “The Roommate?”
Leighton Meester: It was a combination of things but the character was the biggest draw. Itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve never done and very challenging, which was exhilarating. I never want to do the same thing from one project to the next. I love a character that is 100% different from myself as well, because thatâ€™s part of the joy of this job — I get to be on someone elseâ€™s side. It was tough during this project to be on my characterâ€™s side, but I had to find small similarities.
PW: So there was never any debate about which of the girls you would play?
Leighton: None. I’ve known Minka [Kelly] for a long time and I thought she was the perfect choice for Sara because she has this sweet innocent quality while still being smart, savvy and very sexy. Itâ€™s a great combination on top of the fact that after a transformation of changing my hair and clothes, I kinda resemble her.
PW: What was the most challenging part of playing Rebecca?
Leighton: She has no grasp on reality. Every decision she makes is based on delusion and the deterioration of her reality around her. I have friends that I consider close and she canâ€™t just have that. She has to have one friend to concentrate all her energy on and any threat to that is a threat to her livelihood. Obviously I canâ€™t completely agree with that [laughs], but I understood it for the sake of the film.
PW: You mentioned that it was tough to get under the character’s skin — did you do much psychological research?
Leighton: I researched what a â€śpsychopathâ€ť exactly is but she didnâ€™t really fall into that category to me. I talked to some psychologists who explained in gross detail their experiences with criminals and the mindset it takes to get someone to this point. It helped me develop her backstory and gave me a very good base for understanding why she is the way she is. Why A plus B equals C for her because you canâ€™t always connect the dots when so much is going on behind her facade.
PW: Lots of actors talk about the difficulty in shaking this kind of character when filming is wrapped, did you find that to be the case?
Leighton: During filming, I didnâ€™t try to shake her at all because it was the only thing I was working on, so for two months I really experienced her. Afterwards, it was a lot like a cold in the sense that you have to get over it. Playing Rebecca did not affect me in the most positive way in terms of sleeping soundly and interacting socially.
PW: From talking to your co-star Kat Graham, I know that you found moments to work on your album during the shoot — what’s the status there?
Leighton: Iâ€™ve been writing for the past year and itâ€™s been a very good time for me â€“ getting back in touch with that. Iâ€™m not in a hurry to release anything until itâ€™s perfect. I feel like Iâ€™m getting there. The whole process just makes me so happy so the type of music Iâ€™ve been making has been straight out of my heart.
PW: And, lastly, I must talk to you about one of my favorite things happening on TV right now — Dan & Blair. Thoughts?
Leighton: There are a lot of surprises there — some good, some not so good. They are two characters who havenâ€™t had much of a chance to interact, and thus Penn [Badgley] and I havenâ€™t. Before our scenes were mostly just been me dictating to him, now we get conversational scenes, which are great. I love working with and off him, and I’m just as curious as you are to see where that friendship goes. For me, he brings out a different side of Blair. One that we havenâ€™t seen before since he doesnâ€™t care what she thinks.
PW: Now, I love them together, but don’t want them to be together in a romantic way. How do you feel about a possible romance there?
Leighton: I like Chuck and Blair [laughs]. But I have no control over how they write her. Plus, I always love what the writers do — I know theyâ€™ll do her justice. Like the storyline with Prince Louis. I really enjoyed that because I always think Blair should be with a Prince. Although that might just be me projecting for myself [laughs].
“The Roommate” is now playing
Source: New York Post