Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Larter tries on Alex Forrest’s shoes in ‘Obsessed’

Credit: Varonin
Credit: Varonin

Ali Larter is anything but formulaic –– whether debuting in “Varsity Blues” wearing nothing but a whipped cream bikini, or portraying genetically modified triplets with super powers in the hit TV series “Heroes.” Continuing to stray off the beaten path, this month, viewers will watch her pay homage to the classic femme fatale character with director Steve Shill’s “Obsessed.”

‘”Obsessed” stars Idris Alba (“Stringer” Bell from HBO’s “The Wire”) as a successful asset manager who is living the good life and enjoying a blissful marriage with his wife (Beyoncé Knowles) until a temp worker (Larter) begins to stalk him.

“I just love intense women,” Larter said during a conference call with The Pioneer on Tuesday. “I love strong women. I love women that go after what they want and don’t always worry about the consequences. There is a free-spirited nature that I’m really drawn to and a driven side of it too.”

With Lisa Sheridan, her character in “Obsessed,” Larter says she indulged her love of the anti-heroine character. However, despite portraying an archetypal, often-stereotyped character, Larter believes that Lisa Sheridan is relevant to the modern world.

“We’re in a new world of technology where there are other ways in which you could have an affair. Is it inappropriate to send that e-mail? If someone hits you with an iChat at 10:30, is it inappropriate? It’s a different kind of level that technology has taken us to […] and that’s something we’ve tried to explore a little bit,” Larter said. “You know, people go to work and they spend more time with coworkers in the office than they do with their family, [this movie] draws on those fears that live in some of us, [about] what’s really happening when you leave the house and go into that office.”

Larter drew on those fears while playing the seductive, other woman but it wasn’t always easy. To allow an audience to care for Lisa, Larter tried to stress the rational side of playing a deluded stalker.

“Lisa Sheridan is a bit delusional [but] she thinks that the things she’s doing is normal,” Larter said, “I was trying to play in her manner that kind of honored her truth. When you watch this movie, the movie fails if you don’t believe that she’s in love with this man […] so I did everything I could to make sure that people saw [these] characteristics within her and were able to understand that this woman fell in love with this man.”

Being an actress and being Lisa Sheridan were, sometimes, not too far apart for Larter. Juggling two shooting schedules (she shot “Obsessed” for four to five days a week and “Heroes” for two to three days a week), Larter tapped into her hectic professional life to play the troubled Lisa Sheridan.

“I was as organized as I could be, but I think that some of the times I was so tired that it actually fed into the delusion I was feeling with Lisa Sheridan,” said Larter.

Luckily for Larter, the cast of “Heroes”   was extremely supportive and flexible, and portraying the complex characters of Nikki, Jessica, and Tracy were easy and familiar. Shooting “Obsessed,” however, upped the ante for Larter.

“With the power of Nikki and Jessica, it’s more of a metaphor for what they need in their lives, so I think the opposite sides of themselves are more of the power that they’re displaying,” Larter said. “But with a movie like “Obsessed” it has to be done with a completely straight point of view.”

According to Larter, playing Lisa Sheridan raised the stakes for her. A character like Sheridan introduces a balancing act between the rational and the irrational which can too often lead into the trap of   being too over the top for an audience

To prepare for that balancing act, Larter said she showed up everyday with everything she had, focusing on all her stresses and fears, even though they were not on the same line as her character.

“I break myself down,” she said, “It’s this same old cycle […] I can use substitution to make it rational for the character that I’m playing. Yeah, it is difficult but for whatever it is, I love these women. I love getting a chance to play female characters that really have this hunger, this desire for life, this intensity to them.”

Despite her love for and attraction to the femme fatale character, Larter did admit that she is ready for a comedic role that allows her more time to laugh and enjoy herself. Although loving the fight scenes, she admitted that serious scenes with huge altercations between Derek (Alba) and Lisa were both difficult and painful.

“I’m ready to lighten up a bit,” Larter said. “Give me a little romance, a little lightness.”

Shooting “Obsessed” and indulging in her fascination with complex female characters was, nonetheless, a blast for Larter and she hoped that people are able to see that when they watch the movie in theatres on April 24.

“I hope people […] really kind of savor the deliciousness of it,” Larter said. “This movie is entertainment, and I hope people will get that.”

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