Maggie Grace is an old hand at big-budget actioners, co-starring in hits such as Lost, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 and the Taken series. Now, the 30-year-old actress is downshifting to a more low-key role in About Alex, out in theatres now. She plays Siri, one of a group of college chums reuniting, Big Chill–style, at a country house in the wake of their friend’s breakdown. Grace answered the FLARE Questionnaire and told us why the new movie will ring true with Generation Y—and beyond.
How would you describe your default mood? Curious.
What’s the one food you absolutely refuse to eat? Oysters. It’s a texture issue. And the whole aphrodisiac thing is a nonstarter—my libido is just fine, thank you!
When you look at your high-school yearbook photo, what’s the first word that comes to mind? It’s a comforting phrase, actually. “Don’t peak in high school.”
What quality or talent do you envy in others? I envy great writers. Love/hate those ballers.
Salty or sweet? Sweet. Dear lord, sweet!
Cat or dog? A cat who thinks he’s a dog (don’t tell him).
What part of your day do you dread the most? Swallowing this crazy everything-but-the-kitchen-sink health tonic I make, which kinda resembles green pond sludge!
What’s your biggest fashion regret? A lotta bad prom hair on the red carpet. Meh, I was 20!
What film speaks most to your sense of humour? When Harry Met Sally. Love it madly. And Patton Oswalt’s dirty standup!
What has been your all-time best purchase? The 2008 Prius I got used on Craigslist. I felt good about the “recycled” aspect, and she’s still purrin’ like a very quiet kitten.
Your worst? Anything that’s about trying to fit in or please other people. So, super-loud, trendy stacked heels that just sit there, gathering dust.
If you overheard someone talking about you, what do you hope they’d say? “Mags is sometimes an odd bird, but the more you get to know her, the more you find she’s loyal and authentic and loving as heck. She really nurtures and cares for other people. And dammit if she doesn’t make the best scones in the history of the world.”
And now a few questions about About Alex…
What sets About Alex apart from other friend reunion films? It’s a distinctly millennial take on coming of age. We’re the first generation in a long time to make less than our parents, we’re greatly concerned with impact and meaning at a young age, and we’ve collectively been raised to feel extremely “special” (some might say entitled) before colliding with the harsh realities of the economic downturn when we graduate. The film also touches on the friends-with-benefits “hookup culture,” and how we’re the first generation to integrate social media into intimate relationships. While this is a good thing—we’re increasingly connected—we’re also increasingly disconnected. I think a lot of people feel like Alex: isolated by this sea of superficial digital relationships that don’t lend themselves to intimacy and vulnerability. It’s easy to get caught up in constant comparisons between the flawed up-close texture of your own life and your own small failures, and the white-washed hyper-filtered #changetheworld/#bornawesome perfection of everyone else’s via Instagram, Twitter and FB. I think the film is a gentle reminder that we need to nurture each other, Stone Age–style—that we need each other as much as ever.
What was the funniest moment you witnessed on set? Who cracked you up the most and why? Max Greenfield and Jason Ritter had a running gag wherein they were like two weird funny stoner surfer twins separated at birth. At 5 a.m., after long night shoots, we were all putty in their hands. They had the stage and we couldn’t stop laughing! Also, Aubrey Plaza and Jason and I would spend untold hours making gloriously stupid videos together on our phones. We were lucky to be in a remote area with zero cell service and without any trailers or dressing rooms. It was perfect grounds for immediate group-bonding! I think that cozy camaraderie comes through in the movie.