Freaks is a breakout new scifi thriller by directorial pair Adam Stein and Zach Lipovsky.  It follows 7 year-old Chloe (played by Lexy Kolker) as she discovers the world outside her front door, which she has never been beyond.  As she steps further past that door she begins to discover the wonders and dangers that come with it, and begins to realize that all may not be as it seems.  

We got a chance to sit down with Lexy Kolker and Amanda Crew, who plays Mary, to talk about their experiences filming and to ask some fun questions.

In the movie, your character, Chloe, is very single minded about getting her chocolate ice cream.  Is chocolate your favorite flavor as well?

Lexy Kolker: So there’s a Thrifty flavor, it’s called Chocolate Malted Crunch.  It’s my favorite. It’s chocolate ice cream with these little crunchy marshmallows and these little chocolate chunks.  It is my favorite ice cream ever, also my favorite food.

Amanda Crew: I’m a pretty simple girl.  I like mint chocolate chip. When we were kids they didn’t have that many flavors.  When you went to the ice cream shop they had vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and mint chocolate chip.

Lexy Kolker in FREAKS | Image courtesy of IMDB

You spend a lot of time in the movie together.  What went into building your relationship?

Amanda Crew: Adam and Zack did such a great job creating this safe family environment.  We don’t have the luxury of time on an independent film to do all theses rehearsals and get to know each other. You kind of just have to jump into freezing cold water, but they really made the environment super welcoming and warm and inclusive.  They gave us the freedom to really explore during takes. They really took time to play with the scenes. Often on an independent film you really only get two takes per setup and you don’t want to explore because you want to nail it the one way it was written.  So what really helped build the relationship was getting the time to explore everything.

Lexy Kolker: Like she said, of course it was hard to film, but after they said cut, it was such a different environment.  Everyone would be laughing and hugging. It’s like you said – they created such a safe environment. It was like I was at my house the whole time.  It was really great.

Amanda Crew: I think one of the other things that Zack and Adam really excelled at with an independent film was this was their baby and they brought this intense level of enthusiasm, but also of “how high can we go?”  So then when you stepped on this set you saw where the bar was set and you were like “oh, I don’t have time to mess around. I have got to rise to here”. When I came, you guys had already been filming for a week and I was seeing the work that Emile was doing and the work that Lexi was doing.  It was kind of intimidating because everyone is on their A-Game. I think that really created an environment of rising to the occasion instead of phoning it in. I didn’t want to waste the opportunity.

What preparation did you do?  You had some pretty intense scenes, so what did you do to prepare for those?

Lexi Kolker:  Adam and Zack told me not to prepare.  They said just read the script over one or two time and just come and we’ll figure it out.  I think they didn’t want me to be stressed and overwhelmed by the work I had to do. They didn’t want me to be like “Oh my gosh, I have to scream.  What if I lose my voice? What about this or that?” So they really helped me in that way too because on the last scene, I was worried about it the whole time, but once it got there, it went by like that.  They just told my mom “Just read over the script. Don’t learn the lines. Just get the vibe and we’ll just see when you get there.” That was pretty much what I did.

Amanda Crew:  I don’t like to over-prepare things because then it starts to lose its spontaneity and freshness.  It’s probably why they didn’t want you to work too much on it because then you come in with too much of an idea of what this is supposed to be and then if they try to move you out of that there’s no flexibility.  That was another thing they really embraced in this was improvising and finding new moments. They wanted it to be as real as possible. I think that in supernatural and scifi type movies they an be kind of superhero-y and kind of formulaic and they really wanted this to feel very grounded and real, even though it is set in this sort of supernatural world.  They wanted the relationships and the family to feel very real, as though this was a drama.  

Aleks Paunovic, Zach Lipovsky, Adam B. Stein, Amanda Crew and Lexi Kolker for FREAKS | Image courtesy of IMDB

If you could have any power from the world of Freaks, what power would you have?

Lexi Kolker: If I had a power, I would have the power to give myself or anyone else any power.  So if I’m feeling teleportation or I’m feeling invisibility, or like flying, POOF

Amanda Crew: That is the smartest answer, the power to do everything.  I wish I came up with that. What would my power be? It seems like a daunting question.  I’ll take hers.

What lessons were you able to take away from your character after the wrap of this film?

Lexi Kolker: I think the lesson from my character is that it’s ok if you’re born different, because when you’re born different it doesn’t mean that you are meaner than normal kids or uglier than normal people.  Just because you’re a Freak doesn’t mean that you have bad intentions. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to do bad things with your powers. So I think the lesson to take away is that it really doesn’t matter.  You’re still a person. You’re still a human being. You’re beautiful inside, always.

Amanda Crew: That’s a great answer.  I can’t top that (laughs).  For my character, what I loved was that I really got to tap into her strength and I think that’s not always the case with a lot of female characters that I’ve gotten to play.  So I did leave feeling kind of a connection to that strength. Like Lexi, I was nervous about some of the scenes that I had to do because they seemed very daunting, and then to get through it and to accomplish that.  It’s like tapping into a new side of yourself where you are like “Oh wow, I can do that”. So I left feeling stronger.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?

Amanda Crew: I have a movie called Tone Deaf that came out August 23rd.  Then we’re shooting season 6 of Silicon Valley which comes out in the fall, and there’s another movie I did with Josh Hartnett called Guy Instinct that comes out soon.

Lexi Kolker: I don’t have anything coming out, but my Star Wars commercial is currently running.  It’s for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland.

Freaks comes to select theatres nationwide on Friday, September 13th.

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