Stars of Sundance: Jena Malone

Stars of Sundance: Jena Malone

Back In January, V Caught Up With All Of The Stars Of This Year's Sundance Film Festival For Our Fashion & Film Issue. Here, Jena Malone Dishes On Her Latest Movie, Lovesong, And Filming Summer's Soon-To-Be Cult Classic, The Neon Demon

Back In January, V Caught Up With All Of The Stars Of This Year's Sundance Film Festival For Our Fashion & Film Issue. Here, Jena Malone Dishes On Her Latest Movie, Lovesong, And Filming Summer's Soon-To-Be Cult Classic, The Neon Demon

Photography: Charlie Engman

Styling: Emma Wyman

Text: Natasha Stagg

“There’s an interesting relationship between an actor’s control over the jobs they pick and destiny—what comes to them for a specific reason,” says Jena Malone, who returned to Sundance this year for So Yong Kim’s Lovesong. “It tends to work in an interesting way. There will be aspects the character is going through that I’m going through in my own life, or they’re on a journey that I’m about to go on. There’s this mutual mirror effect.”

In Lovesong, Malone’s once wayward character is settling down—implausibly if you ask her former bestie, played by Riley Keough. But the guitar-playing fiancée, the outdoor wedding, the supportive new circle of friends could all actually work out, just like Malone’s dreamy real-life romance has. Unlike her last trip to Park City in 2007, she says, she didn’t party or stay out late once, seeing as she is pregnant with her first child.

COAT MAX MARA

Malone and Keough were never listed as costars before now, but they met, Keough tells me, on the set of Bradley Rust Gray’s Jack & Diane in 2012. Malone’s part was edited out of the final version. Coincidentally, we’re speaking a few days after it was announced that Malone’s part in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t make the cut. The news was a trending topic for days, proving the size and drive of her fan base. Since costarring in the three Hunger Games sequels, Malone’s roles in cult films like Donnie Darko and Saved! have only become more celebrated, so the attention Dawn of Justice got for dropping her scene wasn’t very good-natured. Malone isn’t taking it personally.

“It’s only the second time that this has ever happened in 20 years,” she asserts. “A similarity between both of these instances is that I was working with friends. Someone came in and said, ‘Hey, there’s this part, come and play,’ and I said, ‘Of course I’ll come.’ I tend to put a lot of love into things, and I’ve heard that sometimes I get too crazy, so maybe I’m not the best woman to come in to act for a day. But the reasons why the character is cut out could be a million, trillion things.”

Nicolas Winding Refn’s forthcoming thriller The Neon Demon is one film in which Malone’s role is critical. When I mention I’ve seen a screener, she exhales. “Nic doesn’t just hire an actor, he hires a body, mind, and soul. As much as you want to give him, he will take. If you just want to work with him as an actor, he’s fine with that, but if you want to work with him metaphysically, he will allow you to basically be possessed. I fucking loved working with him. Literally, sometimes I felt it was a full body possession. I had an out of body experience, twice, being on set. Afterwards, I was like, Holy shit, who knows what it’s going to look like—I wasn’t there for it.” She plays a makeup artist who lusts after her clients—and stops at nothing to satisfy her desires. If there’s one similarity between the characters Malone lately chooses, it’s their unwavering conviction. “I love strong women—I can’t help it,” she says. “I’m drawn to these characters, obviously, and I even tend to want to play strength into places where there is none on the page.”

Credits: CREDITS: MAKEUP, HAIR, GROOMING ERIN SKIPLEY USING DIOR BEAUTY (CLOUTIER REMIX)  PRODUCTION SYLVIA FARAGO LTD DIGITAL TECHNICIAN JONATHAN HOKKLO  PHOTO ASSISTANT MICHAEL TESSLER STYLIST ASSISTANT COCO CAMPBELL GROOMING ASSISTANT TAMMY YI EQUIPMENT ACME CAMERA COMPANY

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