May 4, 2018 Interview – Matilda Lutz
Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz is an Italian actress with a multitude of television and film credits to her name – including quite a few productions in her native Italian – not the least of which is a starring role in the hugely-anticipated sequel, 2017’s Rings. A young actress who is still fairly new to Hollywood, Lutz is building an impressive name for herself. Her latest role, in the dastardly, blood-soaked Thriller Revenge, is absolutely guaranteed to turn heads. As Jen, a beautiful blonde Lolita who is spending a weekend in the desert with her married lover, Lutz is challenged to play both the young sex-pot and, ultimately, the woman who, abused and scorned, has absolutely nothing left to lose.
An enthralling thrill-ride, Revenge is due out theatrically and On Demand Friday, May 11th, with plenty of buzz surrounding it. Gearing up for the broad release, CrypticRock had the chance to sit down with the truly humble Ms. Lutz to talk about what inspired her to join the entertainment industry, her debut film role in Rings, her current, well-rounded character at the heart of Revenge, talented Director Coralie Fargeat, and more.
CrypticRock.com – Off to a very promising start in film/television, what inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?
Matilda Lutz – I actually didn’t have an idea that I was going to get into entertainment. (Laughs) I was done with high school and I went to New York for six months, because I had no idea what I wanted to do; all of my friends were going to university, but I wasn’t sure about if and what I wanted to study. So, I came to New York and decided to take different types of courses: I did a singing class, a dance class, an acting class. As I was in this acting course, I felt that it was the first time that I really felt so free, and that I could say and do whatever I wanted, and I wasn’t feeling judged. I could say things that in my life I was being judged for, because I grew up in a very, let’s say, not conservative but – I wouldn’t say conservative. My parents would tell me to say “Thank you” and “Please” all the time, and I couldn’t say bad words. So, it felt very relieving to be able to say and do whatever I wanted.
CrypticRock.com – New York must have been a bit of a culture shock for you.
Matilda Lutz – (Laughs) I always got to travel since I was a kid because my dad was American, and he lived a lot of his life in New York. So, I had been in New York already. It was completely different, for sure. It’s way more intense and the city life kind of style, but I loved it. After the six months, I decided to go back because I loved acting and I loved what I did, but some part of my family and I guess my conscience was telling me that I should go to school. I should go to school and get a diploma, graduate. I went back and started university and studied Psychology.
CrypticRock.com – Speaking from experience, that degree will get you nowhere! (Laughs)
Matilda Lutz – (Laughs) Basically! That’s why, after two years, I went to visit my brother who moved to L.A. and I had never been. I basically never went back: I called my mom and said, “I’m staying here, I’m not going to come back. I’m dropping from college.” (Laughs) I think it was great for some reason, because some of the things that I process while I’m acting – for the characters that I play and the background – it’s psychology. It did help, those two years, but I was ready to move on and do something else. (Laughs)
CrypticRock.com – That is perfectly understandable. Now, as far as your film career goes, you starred in the much-anticipated Rings. What was that like to work on?
Matilda Lutz – It was a complete different experience in the sense that I had moved to L.A. like a year before that. I didn’t know anyone in the industry! I started working in a restaurant and I started meeting people at the restaurant. I met my manager and started auditioning, and that was the first project that I booked. I was crazy excited, and I thought it wasn’t real; I was living a dream. Getting such a big franchise, a studio film – I did not expect that! I was ambitious and I had dreams, but I didn’t think it was going to happen that quickly. So, I was so happy and excited, and the whole shooting, the whole film was so fun. I was a bit scared at the same time, but it was my first experience in a big-budget film, so I got to experience the spectacle behind it and all, such a big crew behind it; and everybody’s job – the set designers and costume designers.
I have to say, team-wise, it was an amazing experience! I really felt supported. The costume designers were asking me advice on what I thought of the character, and I got to see special effects behind-the-scenes – which is so fascinating to me. The special effects team was so, they understood how fascinated I was, so they were showing me things and it was a great experience that way.
It was a complete different experience from Revenge, because Revenge was low-budget, shot in Morocco, in the desert in two days on the road, working 17-hours a day. No money, no trailer. (Laughs) It was a complete different experience, but I have to say that it was so much fun! I think I had the most experience: because we shot about a year ago, so I had shot and done TV shows and films after Rings; I had different baggage, let’s say, that I was bringing to the film. Also, it being a female director, we just had a trust that was beyond anything; I was trusting her on everything. Everything she would ask me, I wouldn’t even question! I was just going with her direction, and she trusted me that I would give her what I had; we were on a journey, basically, together. We were going into crazy situations and crazy weather, crazy locations – we would bond even more. So, it was a complete different experience.
CrypticRock.com – Now, obviously, let’s talk some more about Revenge. It is a great film and you do an amazing job in the role of Jen. What drew you to the role?
Matilda Lutz – I met Coralie before I read the script, and, as I was saying, it just felt like I knew her for some reason. We started talking and we talked for hours about life and, you know, what she thought about Europe and if she liked L.A. – just about everything, not just the film or her project. Then, she was telling me about her project in a very, we’ll say general way. I saw how passionate she was! Besides that, I had seen her short film and thought it was genius. I loved the photography and the sounds, the acting, the visuals, and the special effects. When I read the script, I was very surprised because it was such a different project. Her short film was a Sci-Fi theme, and this was a complete Horror, bloody, thrilling, entertaining film.
I didn’t know what to expect but I went in the casting process, and she asked me to audition. She was very specific about what she wanted so she would ask me to wear a blonde wig, then do my nails or wear a certain dress, say things in a certain way; she was very, very specific and we worked on the character together for a while. I was building the character with her. It’s actually the first time that I really understood how important a director is, because we were creating together and it wasn’t just a one-way road – “I’m doing my work, you’re doing your work.” It was teamwork! That’s what appealed to me the first time: working with her and the fact that I could play two different characters that are so different, but that I could really have an art to it; it’s not just a plain, flat character.
CrypticRock.com – Yes! She is a very well-rounded character. At first, viewers are not exactly sure if they should like her – she is, after all, someone’s mistress, but eventually you pity her and then you’re shocked by her empowered, no-holds-barred response. So, all things considered, is Revenge a feminist film?
Matilda Lutz – Yeah. This word is, I don’t know the word for it but there’s a misconception about being a feminist film, which is why I tend not to use it. A lot of people think that feminism is a bad thing, but if you really look at the word and its meaning it’s not a bad thing. I definitely think so! I think that it came at the right moment in time; not knowing, because Coralie wrote the film two years prior when the whole movement and the whole case wasn’t out yet.
I saw the film the first time in Toronto and I think the whole thing came out in October, if I’m not mistaken, right before or right after, and then we had journalists start asking questions about that. I didn’t think about it but then I was talking to Coralie about it, and she was like, “It’s so funny that this whole thing came out now, because when I was writing the film it was exactly about this; it was about the fact that the victims are being blamed. If a girl says ‘no’ – if she’s behaving a certain way or saying certain things, it means that she’s available.” All those things. It was really hard for me to understand, because I grew up in Italy which is very close-minded. I wouldn’t say that, if you can say this, it’s a very feminist country. (Laughs)
CrypticRock.com – That is funny, because Europe is generally viewed as being more open-minded and progressive than the United States.
Matilda Lutz – Oh really? Eh, I’m not sure about that! We’re very backwards, I feel. It’s kind of weird – I don’t know if it’s funny or scary – but I was in Italy for a while, and you see all these moms with strollers and kids. Then, I got to L.A. and I saw a lot of dads with strollers and kids. I was like hmm, that’s really funny. (Laughs)
CrypticRock.com – (Laughs) It’s a good thing. We are finally making some changes, even if they seem a bit slow, they are finally beginning to take hold.
Matilda Lutz – Yeah, it’s helping! It’s a slow change, because it’s so in the culture and the mentality. It’s going to take generations to change but it’s changing.
CrypticRock.com – That is true and change definitely has to start somewhere! So, before we go off on a tangent, to go back to Revenge, do you think men and women will walk away from the film thinking and/or feeling differently?
Matilda Lutz – I think it’s very personal. I’ve seen a lot of girls get really excited watching the film, and I remember at a screening in Turin, in Italy, a group of girls came out and they were like, “You’re all of us!” One of the girls, during the screening, was yelling “fuck you” every time the guy would come on-screen. (Laughs) I saw a reaction! Guys – I remember a guy basically turned around as he was walking out of the screening, and he saw me behind him and he was like, “Uhhhh. You can go before me!” (Laughs) He was obviously kidding, but that was the kind of different reaction that I got from males and females. I think there is a different reaction from men and women watching the film! It also depends on who you are, so I don’t feel like generalizing.
CrypticRock.com – Right. It can be a very empowering film for some women, and for others – and for many men – it will just be a fun thrill-ride.
Matilda Lutz – Yeah, exactly! Myself, when I saw it the first time, I felt so strong, and I felt like I could do anything; I felt like a superhero and it was me playing the character. It’s true: it is empowering watching it.