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Welcome to Cailee Spaeny Fan, the latest online resource dedicated to the talented actress and singer Cailee Spaeny. Cailee has been in films like "Bad Times at the El Royale", "Pacific Rim Uprising", "Vice", "The Craft Legacy", "How It Ends" & "Priscilla". She has also been in TV Shows like "Devs", "Mare of Easttown" and "The First Lady". This site is online to show our support to the actress and singer Cailee Spaeny, as well as giving her fans a chance to get the latest news and images.

Wonderland

CAILEE SPAENY

From Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla to Alex Garland’s Civil War, Wonderland Spring 2024 cover star Cailee Spaeny is carving a path of pure independence.

Pixie-faced powerhouse Cailee Spaeny was the obvious choice to play an intoxicating, glammed-up Priscilla Presley in the pastel-splashed world of Sofia Coppola. For long-time Coppola collaborator Kirsten Dunst (The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette) who suggested Cailee for the part in Priscilla, the 25-year-old was the one and only answer anyway. They were on set for their upcoming A24 thriller, Civil War, which tracks a polarised, near-future America descending into war stricken chaos when Cailee bagged the role of Priscilla and was applauded by an enthusiastic shower of Kirsten’s
tears. Now, bound forever through gutsy characters championed by Sofia’s cinematic femininity, and their knack for role picking done right, they’ve swapped being ‘the sad girl in the bathtub’ for the blistering battlefield as seasoned war photographer Lee, played by Kirsten, and aspiring young photographer Jessie, played by Cailee. Two generations of journalists, played by two generations of actors. On their visceral search for the truth, they embark on a roadtrip of survival across a lacerated web of fractured states in a subversive bid to land a final interview with the President before the brutal militia storm the capitol. Directed by Oscar nominated legend Alex Garland, expect a film overflowing with ear-rattling explosions, airstrikes and punch-in-your-gut peril which, as Cailee tells her co-star, was a savage, adrenaline-fuelled rollercoaster ride they’ll never forget.

Cailee Spaeny Hi! Are you gonna show your face?

Kirsten Dunst Hi Cailee! I will if you want me to!

CS I always wanna see your face. It’s very chill, I’m in sweatpants.

KD I did therapy before this and I had a moment of dealing with [my kid] James. He was so mad. He’s so into Spider Man right now.

CS He’s so chatty! What was he saying the other day?

KD He was saying, ‘I pound the cotton candy!’ [Imitating his voice]

CS [Laughs] Good luck – they are both such performers.

KD Let me ask you questions.

CS You must be so open post-therapy.

KD My brain is in a good place. So, when did we first meet?

CS We first met at the bar of The Four Seasons hotel in Atlanta. I was very nervous, but you were just like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ The second you said something, the second you gave me a hug, I was like, ‘Oh, it’s fine.’ You know when you meet some actors and immediately they have a weird wall up from the moment you meet them? There’s a line there and you’re not going to cross it, it’s usually the common thing that happens when you meet actors – and it’s totally fine – but immediately you just don’t have that. I don’t know if that’s something you intentionally think about?

KD You know what, I don’t intentionally think about it. But we were going to do this film together that’s very intimate and in order for it to be good, you want to be on the same team. That’s how I see it. It’s not like I’m thinking, ‘Cailee must be nervous – I want to put her at ease.’ I like working with people when you have that trust in each other and also it is who I am. We’re about to start an adventure together. It’s not like it’s ‘fun’ making a movie all the time. It’s very hard. I mean Civil War was very real. It was a very difficult movie to make together.

CS Yeah it was rough at times. But I think we had fun and I do think that approach was the best way to go about it. I mean, I haven’t seen the film yet, you have…

KD You haven’t?

CS I just always feel anxious. I also want to watch it with somebody – I don’t want to be alone.

KD I watched it with [my husband] Jesse [Plemons] and we were alone in the theatre and I could talk through the whole thing.

CS That’s the best way to do it.

KD I’d be like, ‘I don’t know about that scene baby!’ [Laughs]

CS [Laughs] Does the ending work?

KD The ending was amazing, it was moving. The last shot, what he does with the end credits, is very beautiful to me and says a lot about photojournalism and how everybody puts their lives at risk to capture the truth. For the people that have seen it that I know, you’re on the edge of your seat.

CS It was really intense filming it, having those real guns and those flash blanks going off the whole time…and I just have a memory of us being in the back seat of that car with that stunt driver and our whole bodies flying across the backseat. There’s no acting involved. We were just like, ‘Arghhhh!’ [laughs] Remember we just started laughing…

KD Because it was like we were on a Disneyland ride. I feel like we were smiling on the first take.

CS We were cracking up, we were enjoying it too much. But then at the end when those flash blanks hit our skin it would burn.

KD I remember when we were in the White House set on stage in the dark during the day, and then there was constant gunfire.

CS I think we permanently have hearing damage.

KD Well, I wore earplugs. You didn’t.

CS That’s the difference between the pro on the set and the new kid on the block. I felt like you did really take care of me though. But you never talked down to me, which you could have, you’re a master at your work. I don’t know, older people sort of love being able to be like, ‘So the thing is, I’ll let you in on a little secret…’ They sort of get a high off of that. You could be like that if you wanted to, you have every right to be. Even though I definitely felt like you took me under your wing, I felt like in terms of acting you took me seriously.

KD You’re so naturally good at it. The way we both like to work is very similar.

CS I was thinking about that too. I don’t know what you would call it but I definitely felt like whatever that was, we just connected.

KD I think it’s a soul connection that you can’t really explain. I remember I told you while doing that first scene, that my connection with you felt like a connection with a daughter in a past life. You can act that, and I had that in my own brain just to have something that would tie us together. But that naturally kind of was there anyway, and the way we act together was so effortless.

CS Yeah you know, sometimes when you’re in a scene you’re like, ‘I can’t act with this person’. I have to stare at their nose or something [laughs].

KD [Laughs] Oh my god, I just make up things in my brain like ‘I’m acting with someone different.’

CS Sometimes I do scenes and pretend I’m a different actress. Do you do that too?

KD Oh yeah.

CS ‘I’m De Niro.’

KD I haven’t been De Niro yet, but I’ve definitely done that. I’ve pretended when I’ve been on a set where I’ve had a director I didn’t like that I was working for somebody else.

CS Someone else who you had already worked with or someone else you would like to work with?

KD Someone I’d like to work with. I always pretended I was working for someone else because I was so frustrated and I just wanted to get the day done.

CS I’ve been in a situation where I got into the bad habit of making everything a battle with a director and I quickly learned that was not the thing to do. I felt like I was trying to fight the big fight or something [laughs].

KD Like stick it to the man or woman in charge?

CS Yeah, exactly. I’m sure you’ve navigated every kind of situation.

KD Yeah, I’ve never felt like sticking it to the man because I feel like it would shut me down.

CS Well, that’s what happened. That’s so smart. Were you nicer to them when you imagined them to be someone else? I love that you were acting on-screen but also acting off-screen…

KD [Laughs] Right! I never thought of it like that. Just before a take I’d be like ‘You’re working with PTA [American filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson] right now.’ It made me act better because the stakes were higher, because in my brain I was in a better film or TV show. I don’t want to specify [laughs].

CS I’m putting that in my back pocket for next time. I hope it doesn’t happen again.

KD I hope it doesn’t either, but it’s a fun trick. Well, because we’re both Sofia [Coppola] gals, how was it for you working with her?

CS It was so weird that whole experience. You had worked with Sofia when you were younger. You did Marie Antoinette when you were 23, and I was 24 when I got cast as Priscilla. It was like the
second to last day on the [Civil War] set and I remember jumping out of the car, and you were standing right outside of your trailer. I just went, ‘I got it!’ You just immediately burst into tears and you gave me this huge hug. It was so funny because Civil War was so intense. We were really, you know, down and dirty. And you were like, ‘It’s gonna be the complete opposite of this, you’re gonna look amazing and you’re probably gonna be sad in a bathtub.’

KD And you were! [Laughs]

CS [Laughs] And I was! It was the complete opposite experience. But it was so cool to have shot a whole movie with you having grown up watching a lot of your work, but particularly your work with Sofia. I must have been, you know, 14 or 15 when I had seen those films, and something inside me, in my soul just clicked. The story she was telling and also the performance you were giving – I just went, ‘Oh my god, this is it!’

KD And I’d never seen anything like that in my life as a young woman. I mean, even my best friend Molly, she’s like, ‘The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite movies.’ You’re younger than
us, but even at her age, there weren’t any movies like that. [The Virgin Suicides] was like a Three Women of our time. I think it really speaks to the melancholy you feel when you’re a teenager that you don’t even know the word for yet.

CS Exactly! There weren’t words to put to that feeling. Especially growing up in a sort of Biblebelt area, I think there were certain expectations for young girls even more so where I came from. Watching those films, it was like I was fully being given permission to be who I was. So, those films are so special to me and your performance in those films was like something I’d never seen before – how you could do so much with so little. I was growing up doing small town theatre and doing like Seussical the musical and it was my only outlet. I was so curious about the truth and subtleties of a film, but there was no outlet for me to explore that. And that was really when I decided ‘This is what I’m curious about and trying to do.’ That was really the floodgates opening inside me to then go, ‘I need to find a way to get to Los Angeles’. It was really those films! I didn’t ever feel like I got the chance to express that to you when we were on set because it was all just so hectic and we were filming.

KD I am so touched. I didn’t know any of that. How did you even find those movies when you were there? Were they at the Art House theatre?

CS We didn’t even have an Art House theatre. I was terrible at school, I ended up dropping out and basically what I would do is lock myself in my room and just find films. I stumbled across The Virgin Suicides and it was the first time I’d ever asked myself, ‘Who’s behind the camera?’ I had pinned
myself as ‘I’m a Sofia Coppola girl’, like that is my filmmaker, and then started watching her whole filmography of work. I mean it sounds like I’m putting it on but it was genuinely the key that opened the door for me.

KD Wow, I didn’t know that Cailee.

CS I know we were working so I didn’t say any of this to you. But it was so strange to have this experience with you, just to get to work with you and to have that time together. I mean, every scene in Civil War we were with each other. I got to watch you act and take it all in. And then at the end of that experience, to then work with Sofia..

KD It’s so witchy, so kismet.

CS So witchy!

KD But I also feel like when we’re acting together, you do feel like you’re riding on a different plane and that’s what you always want to feel like when you’re acting. That’s kind of the goal, you want to feel like you’re not acting. That’s why I love it, you just want to get to that place.

CS Those are the nuggets of gold that are so rare to find.

KD Because of the technicalities of it.

CS I used to try to shove the technical things aside and not think about them but I think the more you work in the world, you just have to sort of embrace it, and actually, understanding the technicalities serves you as an actor. But when you have those moments where you do feel like you’re floating or you’re sort of not thinking about what you’re doing, it’s so rare. I felt we had a lot of those actually, to be honest.

KD We did. I just love working with you, Cailee. I just love it so much. So, you’ve worked with Sofia, who are some of the directors that you would love to work with? You know what I would love to see you do? I would love to see you do a dark comedy.

CS I would love to do a comedy – that is next.

KD I want to do a dark comedy too! I want to have a good time, I don’t wanna be sad.

CS Well, you always want the opposite of the thing you just did. First it was Civil War, a war movie, so all I wanted to do after that was run around in dresses and be the sad girl in the bathtub – and then I did that. Then, I went and did Alien: Romulus and ran around town and shot aliens with a machine gun. Then, you want to do a drama around the dinner table, and then you want to do a comedy. You try to be selective, but it’s so hard. You have opportunities coming your way and you just try to sit and wait, but what if the ones you want don’t come? So, It’s tricky. The thing that I’m always looking for is diversity in the roles, and also longevity. And I feel like you’ve done that immaculately. You’ve done sci-fi, you’ve done comedy, you’ve done drama, and you’ve done a thriller…

KD It’s definitely not seamless. Listen, I haven’t worked since Civil War. Jesse has been working. I’ve been taking care of the kids. It’s, you know, starting to get to me a little bit. But…

CS I haven’t worked in seven months, like seven months just hit me. Things have come my way but I want to be super thoughtful and careful. But it really takes so much confidence in yourself that something will come. There’s no guarantee.

KD No, it will because you’re talented and there’s no way to deny talent. So that’s not a question, but it’s just like, you start to think, ‘Am I too picky?’

CS I know, like ‘Should I settle?’ But then I’m so unhappy when I’m on a set and I’m doing something I don’t believe in. And I’m like, it’s just not worth it.

KD It’s soul crushing.

CS Yeah, some actors just want to work and I totally get that and I really admire that. They’re just like, ‘I just love working.’ And I’m like, I feel so uncomfortable when I’m working and the only thing that gets me through working and having a camera on my face is going ‘Oh, this is a good project and I believe in their story, you know?’ So I guess you do just have to sort of keep your head down and trust the process.

KD [Gestures at her bookcase] I don’t have time to read all these books, but find a book and bring it to somebody. Just try and find a book or something you could start to develop for yourself, because that’s the way it’s going now. Especially for someone my age. When you get older, the pool gets even smaller. The pool of not just being a sad mom, you know? But back to the directors you want to work with. My number one is PTA.

CS Yeah, it’s always PTA, right? He’s always number one. I mean, he is the ultimate.

KD Also Jonathan Glazer.

CS He’s amazing. I met him recently and I just thought, ‘Oh, you’re the real deal.’

KD I loved Anatomy of a Fall. I liked that director a lot, Justine Triet. I just love that actress, Sandra Hüller.

CS She’s had a great year.

KD I want a career like that. Do you want to talk about your process of getting into roles?

CS I feel like all I do in the process genuinely – it’s different for every role – is basically open up a pot and put all the information I can in there from every direction. Then, I like to sit on that, meditate on that, journal or whatever, and see what comes out of me. I think you have to have an element of believing in magic or being a bit hippy about these things if you’re an actor.

KD Totally! That’s the school of Greta.

CS [Laughs] It is the school of Greta. But yeah, it’s just basically like, what can I read? What can I watch? Who can I talk to? I think about the parallels between my own personal life and also the story because I think scripts come to you and the right ones come to you at a time in your life when you need them. I basically just put it all in one big melting pot, and then hope that you know, I’ve had enough time to sort of sit and think on it that once I get to set on day one, I’ve got enough in me that something will come out that’s interesting.

KD I always think of it like a witch’s brew too, like a big cauldron you keep cooking up. Actually, Greta just gave Jesse a really good sensory meditation that I actually want to try. He has to teach it to me because Greta never told me about that. It helps you get in touch with all your senses, which completely frees you of anything that’s about to happen in the scene. So, you’re deeply in touch with other things, I guess that makes you very present. I don’t know, some Greta magic.

CS I want in on that. I just sent her a last minute text right before I had to do Alien reshoots and I was like, ‘We’re working with green screens and I just stare at them and I don’t know how to…’ and she just whipped something together and condensed it into something that was so straightforward and simple.

KD She’s the boss, she’s my Bruce Springsteen.

CS I need more music recommendations from you and Jesse because I felt like when we were on Civil War I just got such gold – that Nina Simone cover album is precious to me now.

KD I still can’t believe you haven’t seen it. We definitely don’t look as good as we look in Sofia Coppola movies. I’ll tell you that! Girl, we got range.

CS [Laughs] It was nice to do Civil War and then do Priscilla because I felt like ‘Oh, I can look good.’ I clean up real good. The lighting on Civil War…

KD The lighting on Civil War does not care about a woman.

CS And it’s gonna be in IMAX!

KD I just remember there were so many cameras in the car.

CS There were like 10 cameras on us. I mean, it made a lot of sense in terms of filming. It was nice to do those scenes, when most of the time we didn’t have to have a camera guy in place for one of the actors. We did it a couple of times. But most of the time, we just started the car and drove. It was like a play in the car because no one was there.

KD Yeah, that’s true. And also, I had never seen one of the references for the movie, Come and See before – Oh my gosh.

CS I will never watch that again. It was an incredible, incredible film.

KD Yes. And also that Marie Colvin documentary Under The Wire was really powerful to watch for this film. Are you still taking pictures?

CS Yeah, I’m not taking them with the manual camera anymore. But I have two point and shoots actually sitting on my side table right now. One that actually Sofia gave me, she gave me a little Contax as a wrap gift. And then one that I bought on my own. They’re just easy, like on a night out, but I try to always have a camera on me now post Civil War which has been a nice thing to take away. Okay, I just want all the wisdom and advice from you. I think that the ultimate question in terms of career is: What do you
base the roles you decide to do off of? Like, if you had an amazing script but an unknown director? When do you roll the dice? When do you take chances?

KD I’m always director-based – I’m not about the part or the scripts. It’s all director to me. If they’re a first time director like Sofia was, when I met her I just knew. She comes from a family of
filmmakers and I knew the stakes for her were even higher because of that, too.

CS It’s true, she really had to prove herself. In terms of scripts, Sofia’s scripts are pretty bare bones when you get them, and then there’s so many of the in-between moments that you find on set or that she has in her head, that you wouldn’t know when you’re reading the script.

KD That’s what she’s the best at, those feelings of in-between. She’s best at capturing those moments which no else really pays attention to. Those private moments with a character are mostly my favourite moments in film and television, when you get to sit with somebody and understand what’s going on internally, rather than just lines, lines, lines, you know?

CS You’re very good at that.

KD I should have been a silent actor, as soon as I talk – it’s over [laughs]. Do you know what you’re going to do next?

CS I’m in LA right now just hustling for a month. I’m taking every meeting. I’m doing every audition.

KD Auditioning? What are these idiots doing? It’s Cailee!

CS [Laughs] Well, why don’t you direct something? Let’s make something together. You’d be such a good director.

KD I will one day but with two small kids. It’s such a big commitment.

CS Put them in the show! What does [James] say again?

KD [Imitating his voice] ‘I will pound the cotton candy!’

wonderlandmagazine.com

Posted by Veronique on Feb 22, 2024
Articles & Interviews - Gallery - Photoshoots


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  • Maintained by: Veronique
  • Since: 28 August 2021
  • Layout Photos: Elias Tahan
  • Contact: Email Veronique
Current Projects
Civil War
2023Cailee as ?
Plot under wraps.
News Photos IMDb

Priscilla
2023Cailee as Priscilla Beaulieu Presley
Sofia Coppola's take on the relationship between Priscilla and Elvis Presley.
News Photos IMDb
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