'Magic Mike' Star Cody Horn on Ad-libbing With Channing Tatum, Getting Tased With Jake Gyllenhaal in 'End of Watch'
The actress also talks about how her philosophy degree impacts her approach to acting, and about working with stylist Elizabeth Stewart.
You may have seen Cody Horn on TV in The Office or on Rescue Me. But you definitely won't forget her in Magic Mike, in which she's cast as the normal girl-next-door who steals Channing Tatum's heart. (She landed the role based on just an interview, not a reading.)
Steven Soderbergh's film, initially a small indie expose of the male stripper world, has become a big studio release. And the Warner Bros. summer film, premiered last night in Hollywood, after a weekend long junket packed with domestic and international press.
"I got this role in an art house film and it’s turned into this huge film and now we (are) having press junkets about male strippers, who knew?," Horn, 24, told THR on Saturday.
Her character’s chemistry with Tatum is what moves the plot forward and causes Tatum’s character to reevaluate his life, his ambitions and career choice.
“Channing and I have a similar approach to a scene. We both do it with the understanding that you do the prep to know the story you're supposed to be telling and where that particular scene fits into the story," she explained. "But it was just out of playing around that we came up with those moments."
Turns out that their scenes were almost 10 percent ad-libbed for a long scene that takes place on a Florida sandbar. "We knew the beats we needed to hit but we didn’t know exactly what we were going to say. We had like 15,20 minutes and we were figuring it out, standing in the water knee deep," she said. "Then Steven said he was ready. But we weren’t ready. But the first take, we knocked it out of the park. Steven asked for another so we did it again but every take was completely different dialogue from the one before."
Horn has two things that no other actress we’ve ever interviewed has. First, a degree in philosophy from New York University's Gallatin School. And she says her studies have helped her acting. "There is a lot of psychology in philosophy. My degree taught me how to think, how to be rational. I like coming up with the reasons why characters (do) things. The techniques I use in acting I learned from the study of philosophy, not the actual philosophical works."
Second, she has a knowledge of the industry. Her father Alan Horn, the newly named CEO of Walt Disney Studios, is also a producer on New Line’s upcoming Peter Jackson film, The Hobbit. While they work in the same industry, it's in different areas so he doesn't give career advice. "But we do talk about work," she says. "It's like if we were both working in a coal mine."
Horn sports casual T-shirts and jeans in the film. But at the junket, she wore a chic orange Courreges minidress, suggested by her stylist -- and THR Power Stylist -- Elizabeth Stewart, who also styles Jessica Chastain, Cate Blanchett and Amanda Seyfried.
“I love Elizabeth and her assistant Katie (Bofshever) and seamstress Ana (Zmboyan). She understands the game but really tries to understand the person too," she says. "She was open to things. It wasn’t like ‘Here, I think this will look good on you.’ She was like. 'What do you like to wear? Who are your dream designers?' And so tomorrow I’m wearing (Jean Paul) Gaultier. I also love Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Zadig & Voltaire."
Off the carpets, she's usually in Rag & Bone, T-shirts by Brandy Melville, skinny fit jeans from a British Company called April 77 or clothing from her fave boutique, All Saints. She lives in leather jackets and boots. And her hair, long in the film, has been finessed into a current short layered bob by renowned hairstylist Jamal Hamadi.
Horn stars with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena in the upcoming LA cop movie, End of Watch, which is the complete opposite of Mike. "It's a total guy’s movie. And I got to scratch an itch of playing a tough cop. I was shooting guns, I even got tased!," she says, a little too enthusiastically.
She got what? “We had gone to this training facility for a tactical challenge and fitness test where you run, grapple, shoot to become a police officer. To pass the test to become a cop, you have to get tased and get pepper sprayed so you know what it feels like."
Her character, a former Marine turned cop whose dad is the head of the police force, is a real badass. So of course Horn raised her hand first for the tasering. “Then Jake had to do it and then we ended up tasing the entire cast."
Her descripton is pretty chilling. "It feels like it's ripping your bones out of your body and simultaneously hammering your bones with a jackhammer. Cops have to tolerate it for five seconds. They did it to everyone else for one second. But they did me for three seconds because I was screaming so much, I forgot to say 'Stop."
Definitely a bad time for forget your lines.