Interview: Analeigh Tipton Talks "Damsels In Distress," Playing Dungeons & Dragons, And Zombie Romance

Interview: Analeigh Tipton Talks "Damsels In Distress," Playing Dungeons & Dragons, And Zombie Romance
I read an interview in which you said you don’t really like sexualized roles. What kind of roles are you drawn to?
What I was saying was that I’ve always had a discomfort with sexualized roles. Maybe I fought them because I was always kind of pegged—I think a lot of girls end up getting pegged in just playing “pretty girl that’s just like this” and that’s just so not me. That’s not how I was raised. I think as an actor we’re supposed to play whatever we can be, to a limit, because I also believe that it's not always necessary. Women are not just sexualizedthings.

Now, I’m at the point where, well, I’ll be 24—I want to play woman parts, and part of being a woman is embracing my sexuality. I think that you can be sexy and smart. I’m OK with tapping into that. I want to play smart roles or if there is comedy in playing idiotic or silly roles, but there’s a way to do it with intelligence, with edge, or something a little bit different. That’s what I’m attracted to: I’m attracted to roles that might seem like one thing, but really have a different side to it.

Speaking of seeming like one thing, I heard you were into Dungeons & Dragons
Were?! [Laughs.]

Oh, I'm sorry! You are into D&D. [Laughs.] And you’re also applying to an astronaut program?
Oh, yeah. Well, NASA had this free application out that the public could put in to be an astronaut, which used to be so exclusive. It still is, of course—trust me, it takes so long. But I certainly looked into that. I went to space camp, I went to aviation camp, I’m obsessed with Stephen Hawking and Carl Segan and quantum mechanics. Down The Rabbit Hole is one of my favorite films. It makes me reall,y really happy.

I’m also reading the book on string theory, The Elegant Universe. I love the blur between reality and fiction, reality and impossible things or things that we think might be impossible. That goes into my love for Dungeons & Dragons and stuff like that. You know, to me, fantasy and science—neither one is more improvable. Improvable? I don’t think that’s a word. [Laughs.] At least, not in the way that I want to use it. Neither one can be disproved more than the other in a way.   

I'm going to have to sit with that thought for hours, actually. But I have to ask—who do you play Dungeons & Dragons with?
A team in Pasadena [Laughs.] I go also because I’m a writer; I love meeting people, they fascinate me. It’s a whole ‘nother universe right in front of you. That’s amazing to me. And Dungeons & Dragons has the most incredible people with their most incredible universes. These characters are like seven 60-year-old men that have beards down to the floor and they bicker like old clucking women over the silliest thing, like “Your character can’t... I’m a powerful god!” And I sit there and I just love it! I just eat it up. It's fascinating! That’s a big reason why I play Dungeons & Dragons, for the people.

In Damsels In Distress, a lot of the female characters are just OK with being who they are and they don’t really care, like Greta’s character. She doesn’t really care that she’s strange or weird or whatnot. She has no inhibitions about it and I think that’s rare and I think that’s great. You can’t take anything too seriously. Life is not to be taken seriously.   

You just finished filming the zombie romance Warm Bodies. Are you also into zombies?
[Laughs.] I am into zombies. I was writing a zombie-animated feature before I even read the script. It's still in the makings. I’m excited about it, it’s a pretty sweet little story. Yeah, zombies became kind of big, I’m trying to think of like the next big trend to jump on board quickly. Pirates kind of did their thing right? I’m not in love with ninjas—I can’t. Maybe dinosaurs might have a comeback?   

Maybe. They may do another Jurassic Park movie.
Oh, taken then. I’ll think of something else. [Laughs.] I feel like all of that weird stuff made it come back. Jedis for a while. Maybe Jedis fighting zombies? Vampires had their time.   

You have experience in all of them so you can just create your own.
I do. I keep one outfit for every day of the week, I change into a dinosaur slash Jedi. My license plate is “So Jedi” with a bumper sticker of “I love Harry Potter” on the back. I’ve had people on the highway take pictures of my license, which is odd.   

You dabble in Star Trek, too, right? Can you say something in Klingon?
Oh, I used to be able to, and I used to be able to do a Chewbacca sound. I think if I tried I might just accidentally spit. I can do a chicken impression really well, would you like to hear it?   

Yes, please.
[Clucks like a chicken.] My publicist is going to barge in. [Laughs.]

Tags: analeigh-tipton, damsels-in-distress, comedy, adam-brody, greta-gerwig, whit-stillman
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