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HomeIndustry SectorFilmSheroes Star Isabelle Fuhrman on Trying to Prove Her Comedy Chops, Working...

Sheroes Star Isabelle Fuhrman on Trying to Prove Her Comedy Chops, Working With Kevin Costner on Horizon, and Her Own Desire to Direct

Moviegoers first took notice of Isabelle Fuhrman in Hounddog back in 2007, when she was just nine years old. She then wowed horror fans with her performance as Esther in 2009’s sleeper hit Orphan and co-starred as Clove in the blockbuster The Hunger Games before spending the next decade working on fright flicks (Don’t Let Me Go, Orphan: First Kill), sci-fi sagas (Cell), and acclaimed indie dramas (The Novice), in addition to acting on stage (the off-Broadway, all-female production Mac Beth), and television (Masters of Sex). Fuhrman is now 26 and an adult ready to tackle the next phase of her career: more mature roles as an actor, as well as writing, producing, and probably even directing projects she creates.

And it starts with Sheroes, a ridiculous but entertaining lark about four female friends — Fuhrman, Wallis Day, Sasha Luss, and Skai Jackson — who head off to Thailand for a hedonistic adventure replete with sex, drugs, booze, and relaxation. When they end up with a powerful drug lord’s stash, and that drug lord kidnaps one of the ladies, the other three join forces to save their pal.

Did we mention that the palatial villa where the gals are staying features loads of high-tech toys and a state-of-the-art panic room just brimming with machine guns, rifles, grenades, a 3D printer, and more? Cue the craziness, which includes Fuhrman as Ezra, a drama queen actress who ratchets up the sex appeal to obtain pertinent information from the aforementioned drug lord. Think of it as Charlie’s Angels meets The Hangover 2 meets Spring Breakers, which makes sense since Spring Breakers producer Jordan Gertner makes his debut here as a writer-director.

Above the Line recently caught up with Fuhrman over a Zoom call from the Utah hotel she’s staying in while shooting Kevin Costner‘s four-part Western epic Horizon. During the early morning conversation, which spanned from serious to silly, Fuhrman discussed letting loose for Sheroes, and the wonderfully dirty line she improvised for it, as well as the possibility of future Orphan and Hunger Games installments, working on Horizon, and her shift into producing.

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Isabelle Fuhrman in Sheroes/Paramount

Above the Line: You seem to bounce back and forth between studio films and indies — and between genres as well. What makes you say “yes” to a project?

Isabelle Fuhrman: Saying “yes” to a project is always different. It’s always different reasons. I had just come off of doing Orphan: First Kill and The Novice, [so] this movie, when I read it, I thought, “Wow, someone wants me to play somebody funny? [That’s] not what I normally get pegged or cast as. I’ll get to work with awesome ladies, make something fun, and have a good time? Hell yes!”

I felt the script was exciting, fun, and different, [so] I said, ‘Why not?’ Saying “yes…” if it hits you at the right moment… you go through different things in your life and if you read something at that time that resonates, or if it is something that you want to go for and try, [then you go for it]. In this case, I thought, “Wow, this will be really light. I’ll get to have fun and play, not just be so serious on set.” [And] that’s exactly what it was. I made great friends and I feel like we made a fun movie.

ATL: Ezra is funny, physical, smart, and a little melodramatic at times, and she also has the best line in the movie, which is, “Fuck somebody’s dad once, and it’s like you’re a fucking pariah…”

Fuhrman: That was my line!

ATL: You’re kind of turning away when you say it. So, did you record that in looping or on set?

Fuhrman: It became apparent to me when we were working on the movie that Ezra’s storyline is the audience’s storyline. These girls go on vacation. They all think they’re going to have a vacation and shit hits the fan. She’s the only one in the script who’s looking around and going, “My friends are actually crazy.” They’re not the action stars that they think they are.

Her journey is discovering that she actually can be the action star in real life she has always wanted to be in her film career. That was an improvised line. Jordan said, “When you’re walking away, if you want to say something, maybe throw something away.” I just thought that was funny, how she gets exiled to the maid’s quarters. I’m glad it made the cut. I honestly didn’t think it would.

ATL: It’s very funny, and I just sensed that it was an ad-lib.

Fuhrman: I’m trying to prove to everyone that I’m actually funny. I’ve been doing such serious movies for a very long time. I’m like, ‘Guys, look! I’m funny!’ I don’t know, maybe it’ll open the door and I’ll get to do some more comedy.

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Isabelle Fuhrman, Wallis Day, Skai Jackson, and Sasha Luss in Sheroes/Paramount

ATL: How much fun did you have working with your co-stars and doing so in such an exotic location?

Fuhrman: We had the best time. I felt like we clicked super-quickly. When I was watching the movie for the first time, the thought that I had was, “We actually had this much fun making the movie. It feels as fun as it was when we were working on it, and being in Thailand, too.” It was nearing the end of COVID and we were so grateful to be out there making a movie in such a beautiful place, with such great people, and to spend time together. It really translated in the movie. We became a unit, the four of us.

ATL: Let’s switch gears. The Novice was a powerful film. You were a revelation in it. Not a lot of audiences saw it. But what about the industry end of the equation? Do you feel it opened any doors for you as an actress?

Fuhrman: The Novice — for a tiny movie — made such a huge impact on my life, [and] in a massive way. I’m so grateful [for] that film and for the experience of making it. All of those things together have opened so many doors for me. I was a child actor. When you’re a child actor and you do a performance like I did in Orphan, for some reason — I don’t think it’s the case now — but when I was doing it, you didn’t really believe it. You’re like, “Well, this kid had all these people helping her.” That was a performance that I crafted. With The Novice, it was the first time since I did that movie [that] I got to show that it wasn’t just all these people helping me. That was me. I created and crafted that performance.

With that movie and us being nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards, it opened a lot of doors for me to meet a lot of great people. I wouldn’t say that it completely changed my life overnight. People recognize me from Orphan, but they don’t recognize me from The Novice. In terms of meeting with people for movies and working on films? Right now, I’m working on Kevin Costner’s Horizon and I know from him that he saw that movie on top of my audition tape. It helped in such a big way to show that I’ve still got it.

ATL: Speaking of Orphan, 13 years went by between Orphan in 2009 and Orphan: First Kill in 2022. I keep hearing whispers about a third film. What’s happening with that, if anything?

Fuhrman: I am involved in it. It is happening. There’s this little thing happening called the Writers Strike, so we’re on a pause, but it looks like it’s going to happen. I just find it so funny that I did this movie when I was 10 and now these last two years, I get recognized for it all the time. People would be like, “You look familiar, but I don’t know from where.”

I guess because my face is a little bit more mature than it was when I was a kid and we did the second movie, people are coming up to me and saying, “Oh my gosh, you’re in that movie Orphan!” I have to remind myself, “It’s not [just] this movie I did when I was 10. I did this [sequel] very recently, so that’s why people remember you from it.” It does feel a little funny because that character was someone I created so long ago.

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Isabelle Fuhrman in Sheroes/Paramount

ATL: And there is still more story to tell.

Fuhrman: There is definitely still more story to tell. David Leslie Johnson, our executive producer who wrote the first one, and Dave Coggeshall, who wrote Orphan: First Kill, are cooking up some magic with Alex Mace and the entire team. It’s pretty cool.

ATL: Jennifer Lawrence recently revealed that she’d be open to returning to the world of The Hunger Games.

Fuhrman: I know!

ATL: Even though your character, Clove, died, people want you back somehow. Does that kind of thing crack you up? And would you do it if they figured out a way to somehow include Clove?

Fuhrman: What’s funny about this industry is, if someone can find a way to make some money off of it, they’ll revive anyone. I truly believe that, and it’s totally valid. If audiences want to see something and they’re willing to accept someone coming back from the dead, it’s cool to me. That’s the magic of what we have with movies. We can do things like that, that don’t exist in real life, and we can create fantasies for people that they’ll enjoy. It’s wonderful.

ATL: How is Horizon going?

Fuhrman: It’s going well. I can’t talk very much about the plot, but I will say there’s nothing quite like making a movie in the middle of nowhere. We got hit by a massive dust storm yesterday. It’s just a normal part of the day at this point, that you’re in the middle of filming a scene and all of a sudden everyone’s like, “Get to the vans!” The entire set is covered in dust. You can’t see anything and you’re like, “Oh wow. This is what these people had to deal with.” They didn’t have vans to go to because we’re on these wagons with horses, or I’m riding a horse.

It’s been such a fun experience. Kevin Costner is not only legendary, but he is one of the most incredible people I have ever worked with. He is so specific — sure of himself and what he wants — and he’s lived with these characters for so many years. Being able to help facilitate this vision, work with him, create with him, and collaborate with him daily, I feel like, “How did I manage this?”

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Isabelle Fuhrman, Wallis Day, and Sasha Luss in Sheroes/Paramount

ATL: You’ve moved into producing of late, launching your company WHAT IF? in 2019. What compelled you to do that and what’s in the works?

Fuhrman: Producing — for actors, a lot of times — becomes, “Oh, we’ll give you credit as a producer.” It’s nice when you get to be a part of the creative process besides working on the parts that you do as an actor. As you get, I wouldn’t necessarily say older, because the more experience that you get, the more willing the people you work with are to look at you and ask for your opinion, but it’s nice to feel like your input is being appreciated in that way as a creative person, not just as an actor who’s like, “Go, puppet! Do your job, say your lines, wear your clothes!”

For me, producing seems like the next logical step. I write as well. I have a lot of projects that I have written that I am going to direct. Part of this film industry that I love is there are so many different facets of it. I’ve realized a lot recently that I don’t just want to be an actress. Actually, watching Kevin [Costner] direct these movies has made me realize that it’s about time I get out of my own way and I do that. You have to wear multiple hats if you want to have a say in what you create and not just be a part of it.

ATL: When the day comes that you do step behind the camera to direct and you’re acting in the same movie, who’s going to win any arguments, Isabelle the actor or Isabelle the director?

Fuhrman: That’s the big question that I have. I don’t know how I feel about directing myself. I was talking with somebody about this yesterday. I said, ‘I have scripts that I’ve written for people my age [and] I would love to play the roles that I’ve written, but I find it so much more fascinating to work with somebody and help them reach that than do it for myself,’ if that makes sense.

I’m not going to give an answer on whether or not I’ll be directing myself. I don’t know yet. I don’t think I’ve decided, but I feel like it’s probably difficult to wear both of those hats. I’ve been watching Kevin do it in this movie [Horizon], and he’s fantastic at it, but he also has way more experience than I do. So, I don’t know.

ATL: Before you hang up, where are you talking to me from right now? In a hotel…

Fuhrman: I’m in Utah, hence the incredible little photograph of a tire track dirt.

Sheroes is now playing in select theaters and available to buy or rent on all major VOD/digital platforms.



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