The tale is a familiar one: A group of friends are trapped in a life-threatening situation, and they have to figure out how to survive not only said situation but the dynamics between each other that threaten to boil over. But Bodies Bodies Bodies, a new horror film that follows a group of friends who barricade themselves in a mansion to wait out a hurricane, gives the story a much-needed update. Starring Rachel Sennott, Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace and Pete Davidson, the film is a hilarious take on what happens when the Gen Z-est of Gen Z friends try to simultaneously blame each other for the titular bodies that pile up while taking accountability for their privilege in doing so.
Sennott gives a standout performance within a stacked cast as Alice, the comedic relief the movie clings to even as it gets more and more horror-y. Cosmopolitan chatted with Sennott about her character’s role within the group, filming scenes with improv, and Alice’s guiding principle: What if we just did drugs and hung out?
[There are light spoilers ahead for ‘Bodies Bodies Bodies.’]
Have you ever been involved in a project like this, that’s very Lord of the Flies, everyone turning on each other?
Shiva Baby, which I did with my friend Emma Seligman, was everyone turning on just me. This project was unique in that it’s a group tearing each other apart. And I thought it was just so true to toxic friend groups. Everyone has been in a friend group where there’s all these different alliances and riffs; It makes for interesting drama and comedy. So it was a lot of fun to play with that, and the relationships between my character and all the other characters.
Speaking of fun, was this movie fun to shoot? Because honestly, when you watch it, it feels like you guys are having a really good time.
It was fun. It was challenging in some moments. The way we shot it felt like a play. Our director Halina Reijn directed it in such an amazing way where it was like everyone was always in the scene, and the director of photography shot it where it’s like, It’s your coverage, now it’s your coverage, so you’re always in it. And that was really fun. Sometimes it was like, Whoa, this is intense. Like the scene with Greg in the gym. That was an intense day, because even though there are moments in that that are funny, when we were shooting it, it felt very real. That’s where some of the comedy comes from.
What do you see as your role within this group of actors and characters, for yourself as Rachel and then for your character Alice?
I think of myself as the dumb bitch of the movie. Alice hopefully gives some comedic relief or, as an actor, I wanted to bring some levity to certain moments. Halina would say all these things about the things in a horror movies you never see. Like, you have to pee and then you get hungry and then you want a snack. Alice spoke to some of those things. There are drinks and food everywhere. There are times where people have just died and she’s like, Is that wine?
Alice in the friend group wants everyone to have a good time. She’s always like, Come on guys, let’s dance! That’s her energy. It was fun playing this role because everyone else is like, Let’s fucking bring up three years ago. And I’m like, What if we just did drugs and hung out?
Lee Pace plays your boyfriend in this movie, and his character is older than the rest of you, so he really brings a different vibe to the group. Did you two talk about how to play that up with your performances?
I literally love Lee, he’s so amazing. It was great getting to work with him. We talked about our backstory. Our characters have only known each other for two weeks at this point. And some of the things we talked about came up when all the girls are questioning me about him, and I’m desperately trying to find reasons that we shouldn’t go kill him.
In moments where, for example, we’re filming the TikTok, I’ve felt this way before when I’ve been dating older people where I’m like, Oh, I get to feel really young and hot, because this is how you film the TikTok dance. Alice really enjoys being young. The characters are at an age where they’re still young, you’ve graduated college and you’re not 19 anymore, but you’re like, I’m still young.
There are a lot of jokes in this movie that poke fun at Gen Z. What was your favorite one? Was there one that made you say, Oh my god, it’s almost too real?
We got to do a lot of improv, which was fun. I took things from my personal life, like the body dysmorphia line. There was a day we were shooting where I saw an image of myself on screen and I was like, Oh, I hate these pants. And I was at dinner over the weekend and I was drunk and I was like, I have really bad body dysmorphia, and it’s hard. And that’s coming from a sincere place, but Halina was like, Say that instead of the anxiety line. The I’m an ally line, I improvised that. That was fun because people are dead and the character is still being like, I’m not racist!
This movie is so much about these toxic friendships. Is there one person in the movie that stands out to you as the worst offender?
I don’t know, I feel like it’s pretty equal. Everyone’s flaw is balanced out by someone else’s in an interesting way. Bee is the least toxic, but that might be because it’s not her friend group. It’s like when you’re around your family and you’re like, I’m my most safe but I’m also my worst self because I can be.
What do you think happened to Sophie and Bee after the credits rolled? Did they end up in jail?
Sophie’s parents have money, so Sophie’s getting out. Have you seen Bling Ring? It’s one of my favorite movies, and I love the way it ends. All of the kids did the same thing. Emma Watson’s character basically gets nothing and then the the male character, he’s in jail because he’s from a less wealthy family. Maybe Bee could get help from Sophie’s family, but no way Sophie’s going to jail. I don’t even know how they would explain all of that. There would be a big, long, drama-infused legal process.
Pivoting a little from Bodies Bodies Bodies, can you can tell me anything about this upcoming project with The Weeknd that you’re working on? The Idol?
I can say that I’ve had so much fun shooting it. It’s been so cool working with Sam Levinson, the creator of Euphoria. The cast is amazing. It’s a sort of project where, similar to Bodies, you get to kind of be free and try stuff and improvise. So I will say that, that it’s been very exciting to shoot.
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