There's more to Maisie Williams than playing Arya Stark, everyone's favorite mighty little sword-fighting hero on Game of Thrones. The 16-year-old actress has other dreams outside taking down the Lannisters, especially one in particular: a steady film career.

Her first taste of big screen stardom comes in Heatstroke, on VOD and in select theaters today. In the Evelyn Purcell-directed film, Williams plays Jo, a rebellious who finds herself being haunted down by an arms dealer during her scientist father's (Stephen Dorff) research trip gone wrong.

Although Williams plays another rough-and-tumble kid, she's surely setting her sights on more. Here, she discusses her experience filming the movie, being considered a role model, and how the word badass is overused.

How’d you land the role in Heatstroke?
Well I went out to America to do meetings and things like that, and the director and the casting agent already had me in mind.

What was it like filming this movie compared to Game of Thrones
It was just kind of crazy. We were in the middle of in South Africa and filmed in some of the most amazing locations I’ve ever been to in my life. But it as very different in terms of the scale of the crew. On this, I knew everyone by name and I had met everyone, which is so much more intimate, and I really like that about it. 

What do you think about getting cast as the badass? Joe and Arya are both tough characters. 
I think the word badass is thrown around quite a lot. Yeah it’s quite cool to play a strong female character again, but they are real people and I like that about them. They stand up for themselves. Overall, Heatstroke was completely different in that it’s set in present day and Jo is more of a relatable character to me because she's the same age and we live in the same world.

I think the word badass is thrown around quite a lot.

How do you feel about being considered a role model? Both you as an actress and Arya are looked up to.
I think it’s wonderful that people kind of look up to me and Arya, but that’s never really what I intended to be or do. It’s great that people like the decisions that I make and the decisions that Arya makes and that stuff is pretty amazing, but it is kind of a lot of pressure. I’ve never kind of wanted to be that person, and I’m thrilled that people do enjoy that about me, but I’m just like everyone else in this world, trying to do the right thing and trying to make the right decisions. I’m glad that people are supportive of that.

You’re really big on social media, especially because of Vine. What do you think about all the social media attention you’re getting?
Vine, I haven’t used in a long time. I’m kind of moving away from it. I feel like Vine turns into more of making jokes about gender or racial jokes which—I felt like that’s the way that it as a community went. I wasn’t a massive fan of that.

I still use Twitter and Instagram because I wanted to be known as Maisie rather than Arya. She's great and she’s a fantastic character, but I’ve always wanted to try to get my personality [across] as well. See, that’s why social media is so important to me; you can be yourself and people can know you for you.

Do you have a dream role?
Have you ever watched Coraline?

Yup.
That brought to life is something that I’d love to do. When I was younger, my mom would say Coraline reminds her of me. I just really loved it so much. That's the sort of film that I love, that sort of dark film. 

Have you ever been approached to do a young adult movie?
No, not really. People think that we all get scripts thrown at us, but everyone in this industry is trying to take the next steps and build a career.

Do you have any personal role models?
There’s a lot of people that I look up to, but I don’t like putting all of my hopes on one person. It’s mainly Miley Cyrus that did that for me. Everyone was saying, “She’s such a great role model and now she’s not. She’s ruined it." No one should be under that pressure to be that person. We all get one shot at life and we should have the freedom to do what we want to do. I guess I like to take little bits and pieces from different people and try to do the best I can at life.

Interview by Tara Aquino (@t_akino)

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