Even with all the guts, chainsaws, and shapely rumps thrust in the audience's face during Texas Chainsaw 3D, the film could have very nearly taken on a wholly different tone. The effects were so realistic, according to star Alexandra Daddario, because "they were the same special effects [used by] people who made the fake penis that Mark Wahlberg wears at the end of Boogie Nights, which I thought was pretty cool and sort of solidifies them in cinematic history."
Alas, in this latest Chainsaw go around, out today, Leatherface does not limp after anyone while waving a gas-powered "Diggler" over his head. "I think the material deteriorates and you can't exactly keep this type of stuff," Daddorio told Cultist, speaking of the prosthetic and not of the Texas Chainsaw series. As such, Daddorio did not ask the special effects team to craft any long-desired extra body parts. Not that she's opposed to body modification.
"I mean, if you were part bionic, that would be pretty cool," she told us. "An arm that was extra strong or something. Some people are bionic. They make some pretty cool prosthetics as far as medical goes."
Daddario claims to not know any bionic people but concedes that it would be difficult to tell when it comes to "acquaintances I'm not familiar with, ones where I don't know their life story yet."
Daddorio is a New Yorker who has moved to Los Angeles, where she has become "definitely a yoga, green juice-drinking girl. I don't know if that makes me a hippie," she said. The answer is no, but her mother very nearly named her "either Sun, Moon, or Star" and any of those three almost certainly would have had her in patchwork corduroys rather than your local multiplex.
Her biggest roles to date have been in the Percy Jackson movies, though she's halfway through hitting the Law & Order guest star cycle and she has had recurring roles on White Collar and Parenthood. This, however, is her first role that has required her to throw a chainsaw at someone. She'd never done it in her personal life either, so maybe she is a hippie after all.
"We had all different kinds of chainsaws," she recalled. "We had real chainsaws, we had chainsaws without the chain on it, we had chainsaws with like, just no blade. We had plastic chainsaws and all kinds of stuff. At no point did I have to hold a real chainsaw."
Each mention of the word chainsaw seemed to make Daddario tremble as though a deranged backwoods psycho were tugging at a starter cord on her back. Cultist reminded Daddario that there are other uses for chainsaws than chopping up young coeds. Ice sculpting and logging, for example, though each is chilling in its own way. Then Daddario came clean.
"I'm actually terrified of chainsaws. I wouldn't trust myself with a chainsaw."
And spending months on a movie in which people -- one of whom was Daddario herself -- were chased by a man trying to kill them with a chainsaw...that didn't get her over her fear?
"Um, no. I don't think so."
But whereas chugging, blood-spattered chainsaws have overwhelmed Daddario with terror, Miami has managed to overwhelm her with little more than natural beauty.
"I feel overwhelmed by how amazing it is, to be honest," she said, looking out her South Beach hotel room window. "The weather. And I was just looking at everyone swimming and the water is so gorgeous." Nota bene: watching to see who refuses to go for a swim is a good way to tell which new friends are hiding their bionics. "That might be a tip off," Daddario said. "I'll check next time."
And there will be a next time. "I'm already planning another trip here. I decided. It's really, really amazing."
How then would Miami Chainsaw 3D be different from its Texan counterpart?
"There'd be more bikini wearing," she said, as improbable as this may be for those who've seen the current film to believe, being as that it takes advantage of 3D for more than just scares. "It'd be more tropical. I think one of the reasons that Texas Chainsaw Massacre works so well is because it's sort of very creepy and desolate. Whereas in Miami, it might be a little bit warmer. Well, not warmer because it was pretty warm where we shot but definitely beach-ier."
Put to rest any images of Leatherface in a guayabera of human skin and attacking people with a pressed ham sandwich; "It would have to be a chainsaw," Daddario said. Not to say that Leatherface wouldn't find himself immune to a twinge of vanity, what with being surrounded by so many perfect physical specimens. Perhaps even back in Texas, Leatherface dished some beauty tips with our star?
"I mean, if you're wearing a human face, I'm not sure that you're looking to be beautiful," Daddario said, playing into generations-old societal standards. "You're looking to be terrifying."
Terror. Something about which Daddario has come to know more than a little bit. After all, she had to process the emotions of seeing her friends bisected with a chainsaw.
"We all have our own fears," she said. "One thing I learned when I studied acting was to apply things that make you scared and miserable and unhappy and all that kind of stuff to situations you've never been in. I've never been in a situation where I've been attacked by a guy with a chainsaw, but you can learn how to apply something else to that situation."
What personal experience she drew on, Daddario would not say. However, it should be said that she did flinch every time Cultist stuffed another complimentary mini egg salad sandwich into our mouth.
At the time of our interview, it was still unknown if the world would end according to Mayan prophesy. But ain't no Mayan ever chased Alexandra Daddario with a chainsaw. Her advice in the face of danger, be it dubious apocalyptic or the very reasonable fear of being attacked by a guy with a chainsaw?
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"Stay calm and carry on," she said. "Unless you're an actor who has to be in a scene with a chainsaw, and then you can delve into those weird fears."
Texas Chainsaw 3D opens nationwide today. Alexandra Daddario can be found on Twitter @AADaddario.