Already a geek idol thanks to her role as Ramona Flowers in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead is having a pretty good 2012, thanks to her starring role in "Smashed," a drama about a young alcoholic married couple (completed by "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul), which won rave reviews at Sundance this year -- read our own here -- and continued when the film played the Toronto International Film Festival this week.
It's a performance that many are tipping for awards attention at the end of the year, and Winstead has several promising pictures on the way in 2013, including Roman Coppola's "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," comedy "A.C.O.D." and a reunion with "Smashed" director James Ponsoldt on "The Spectacular Now." But her future plans don't stop at acting, as Winstead told us in Toronto this week.
A few months back, it emerged that Winstead was teaming up with legendary hip-hop producer Dan The Automator (Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modelling School) to make an album. When we asked Winstead about it, she said it came somewhat out of the blue. "It's kind of random," she told us. "I've always been a singer, I've always loved to sing. I never really thought I'd do an album, though, I never wanted to be an actress/singer. But he called me up, he'd seen something I'd done on the Internet, and it was just like 'You wanna make some stuff?' And how do you turn that down?"
Winstead says she's loved the producer's work long before he contributed to the 'Scott Pilgrim' soundtrack, and the two turned out to have a similar idea on what to collaborate on. "I was a huge fan of his," she said, "I had been for a really long time. And when he told me his idea of what he wanted to do, it was perfect, because I'm a huge French '60s pop fan."
It's been a while coming, and there's no set date for any kind of release, but Winstead says you should be able to hear the fruits of their labors before too long. "We've been slowly writing and record stuff," she told us. "It's been like a year and a half. It's a slow process, it's something we're doing more for fun, and then hoping it'll turn into something we want to release. But that's the goal, ultimately, is to make something to actually release and put out there. But we don't know when we'll actually finish it."
And while "Smashed" will undoubtedly open all kinds of doors for her, she's not hanging about to wait for offers either. She's already collaborated with her husband, director Riley Stearns, on the short film "Magnificat" (watch below), and the pair have more in the works. "We have one more short we want to make," Winstead says. "And then he has a feature idea that we're both really excited about, that we'd probably do a Kickstarter thing for, unless we could find some financiers or something. Something really small and low budget and contained."
Exciting stuff, indeed. Look for our full interview with Winstead closer to the release of "Smashed" on October 12th.
Interview by Kevin Jagernauth