In the fantasy drama “I Kill Giants,” actress Madison Wolfe (“The Conjuring 2”) plays the lead character Barbara, a troubled, nerdy loner whose job it is to keep her home town safe from dangerous giants that are lurking in the shadows. The film is adapted from a comic book of the same name published in 2008 about a teenage girl escaping from her troubles in real life by imagining herself as a hero in a world of make-believe.
I caught up with Wolfe, 13, on the phone to talk about her new role, the comic book that inspired the film and about the Oscar-winning actress she hopes to work with in the future.
What drew you to this story and made you want to be a part of this film?
I read the script and really loved the storyline and how many layers Barbara had. I thought it was very interesting. I was instantly drawn to the script.
Talk about Barbara as a character. Was there something specific that you liked about her?
She is a very tough character. She is a lot different than me in a lot of ways, so I thought that was very cool. That drew me to her.
Was the fantasy genre something you enjoyed watching before you made this movie?
I’ve always thought fantasy was really cool. I think anything that has a little bit of fantasy or mystery is really cool. I’m really drawn to that kind of stuff.
Did you know about the comic book before you started working on the film?
I had heard a lot of great things about the comic book, but it wasn’t until I got the audition when I actually read it for the first time.
Could you relate to what you read?
Yes, I think a lot of people can relate to Barbara because she goes through struggles in her life. Everyone goes through struggles whether they’re big or small. I related to her in that way. Also, she’s tough on the outside and I like to try to be tough. It’s so much more than your average comic book. It such an emotional roller coaster and has such a beautiful arch and character development. I think that’s what makes it so special.
This was director Anders Walters first feature film. What was it like working with a first-time director who had already won an Oscar (2014’s short live-action film “Helium”)?
He’s amazing. I love him so much. I felt like on set it was a very collaborate process. It was never him talking down to me or any of the other actresses. We were always bouncing idea off of each other. I really appreciate that as an actress. He is just a really great person. He’s super funny and kind, in addition to being a great director.
Was the look of your character also a collaborative decision or did Anders want to keep it as close to the comic book as possible?
We talked about a few pieces. I loved all the wardrobe they pulled for me. She is such a specific character. Her outfits are so particular and iconic to her as a person. I think the wardrobe team did an amazing job in showing who she is as a person and her personal style.
How important to you as a young woman is it for more films like this to be made that feature strong female characters in the lead role?
I think it’s really cool. You don’t really see a lot of roles that are young teenage girls who are heroic in their own way. It was really cool and such an honor to get to play a character like that.
You’re a teenager yourself. What kind of characters from the past have you looked up to?
I love Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games” and Shailene Woodley in “Divergent.” I think those would be really cool roles to play. Comic books like Wonder Woman and stuff like that are really cool stories to me. I would love to play something like that.
Was this the first time in your career you worked in front of a green screen? If so, what was the experience like?
The green screen definitely was a cool experience. I hadn’t really done it to this extent before. It was really cool to see how it was on set and how it ended up in the movie. Another thing I got to do was film in a water tank. That was really cool for me.
Did you get to keep a pair of bunny ears?
(Laughs) I actually do have a pair. They had multiple pairs in case anything happened to them. So, I kept a pair of the ears and a pair of the shoes and the little purse she carries around.
Looking forward in your career, what would you like to do?
Honestly, I just hope to continue to act because I love it so much. One person who I would really love to work with is Natalie Portman. I’ve looked up to her for a long time. I think she’s an amazing actress. I’d really love to work with her.
Natalie was around your age when she starred in “The Professional.” Have you seen that movie?
Yes! “The Professional” is one of my favorite movies ever! I love her role. I’ve been acting since I was eight. I think that role really inspired me as a child actress.