After a series of smaller parts in “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Death Proof,” Mary Elizabeth Winstead set geek hearts aflutter as the quirky, purple-haired vixen Ramona Flowers in “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.” Now Winstead is starting to step up to where she belongs: into leading lady roles. While her latest part is in the prequel, “The Thing,” that's just the first of the big projects on the horizon for the actress, ranging from a big-budget vampire flick to an indie dramedy.
While Winstead recently dished quite a bit of info on her role as Mary Todd in Timur Bekmambetov's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," when we caught up her recently, she spilled one more intriguing nugget about her performance in the movie opposite Honest Abe, played by Benjamin Walker. “When it starts out, we’re very young and just dating and courting and it takes it right up to the presidency and the assassination and everything. So I got to span the life of someone from 19 to 46 and really go from this feisty young woman into this sort of force of nature who’s helping her husband fight along with the country. It was a really fun role to play.”
Aside from the vampires of course, 'Lincoln' will be a largely historically accurate telling of the president's life. “It’s our real history of America [as if] we really did have vampires amongst us. Abraham Lincoln, during his presidency and fights against slavery, was also fighting against these vampires and the evil that was existing in our country. It’s sort of this wild action/adventure period piece,” she added.
But one mega film you likely won't be seeing Winstead take part in is the gestating "Die Hard 5." Written by Skip Woods (”X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) and set to be directed by John Moore, the sequel will apparently involve McClane battling local forces in Russia with his two sons. But alas, Lucy McClane from "Live Free Or Die Hard" will probably be sitting this adventure out. “I’m assuming I will not be [in that] because I have not heard anything,” Winstead laughs. “But it’s cool, all the updates and everything. I’m excited to see what happens with it.”
However, it's not all multiplex fare for the actress. Winstead tells us she has been pursuing smaller, more character-driven material. Her quest recently landed her a role in the indie drama “Smashed” opposite "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul, "The Help" breakout actress Octavia Spencer and Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman and she told us about what we can expect from the movie.
“[Aaron Paul and I] play a married couple who are both alcoholics. It’s a really great script. Basically my character hits rock bottom really hard and decides to get sober, but he has no interest in getting sober. And it’s just about how our relationship kind of disintegrates because of it," she elaborated. "I’m excited just to seek stuff like this out and I probably wouldn’t have gotten this part had I not actively gone out and said, ‘I’m really passionate about doing something like this.’ I met the producer of this who got me in touch with the director. So it’s funny how sometimes you really do have to take things into your own hands to do things that you really want to do. So I’m going to continue to do that and be more proactive in finding the parts that I want to do.”
But sometimes, even passion alone can't keep a project moving and that seems to be the fate of "The F-Word." Written by Elan Mastai, the script made the 2008 Black List and last year, Winstead came aboard with "In Search Of A Midnight Kiss" director Alex Holdridge behind the camera and Casey Affleck in the co-starring leading role. The simple story follows two twentysomethings, Wallace and Chantry, who meet at a party and hit it off, but Chantry has a long-term boyfriend, and so the pair decide to remain friends, but struggle with their mutual attraction. But unfortunately, this one seems to be on hold.
“I haven’t heard anything for a while," Winstead told us. "I still love that script and I’ve been keeping up with any updates, but it seems to have fallen apart for now. But I’m definitely passionately trying to keep it alive.”
Mary Elizabeth Winstead can next be seen in “The Thing,” a prequel to the 1982 John Carpenter film of the same name. It hits theaters on October 14th.