Don’t say we didn’t warn you: Dreama Walker is about to flip you out. If you’re used to her as June, the cute counterpart to Krysten Ritter’s conniving Chloe in Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23, you’re going to see a whole different side of her (and a whole lot more of her, period) in the intense indie, Compliance, playing in select cities now. The movie is based on a horrifying real life incident, in which fast food workers sexaully assulted a fellow employee because, get this, a voice on the phone who claimed to be a police officer told them to. The movie is so squirm-inducing and Walker’s performance so gut-wrenching that it’s virtually impossible to have a neutral opinion after seeing it. At Sundance, it caused an uproar, and the movie’s release is sure to spark intense debates about how just far people will go, and how much of their own morality they will compromise, at the request of authority. Walker, who remembered the original incident, says, "It was something that really hit me. Hindsight is 20/20 and I know everyone is thinking, ‘Oh, they’re so stupid. How could they have let this happen? These people they’re sheep.’ But you really can’t say what you’d do until you’re put in a similar situation."
Okaaay, so that’s some pretty deep thoughts for the day, especially from a style website. So read on for a little more from Walker about Compliance, but don’t worry, we lighten things up too—the star also spilled her fall fashion musts, and revealed her last genius Halloween costume.
This movie is quite a turn from your TV series, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt 23. What made you decide to go for it?
DW: We had a lot of conversations about how this film was going to be done sort of objectively, and also not have s gratuitous amount of nudity. Anytime you do nudity in a film, there’s all sorts of legal contractual stuff that you have to talk about and things that you have to make sure you agree on, but I trusted [director] Craig Zobel. It was a really interesting story and it always made me think.
Do you think your character sort of went into a state of shock, where she just gave in to the increasingly extreme demands?
I think that most people when put in a situation like that when they’re told that their whole job and their freedom and everything is on the line can understand it. Eventually your emotions and your soul kind of flee your body—you get resigned and check out. That’s exactly what I think happened to Becky. She had to get out and be like, "Alright, well my body and brain can’t deal with this anymore so I’m no longer here."
Did you know that it was going to be so polarizing when it premiered at Sundance?
I think that’s just kind of a testament to the fact that the film works. It’s visceral, it’s raw, it’s difficult to watch. It’s difficult to watch humans being so terrible to each other. It’s kind of like a Rorschach test and everyone is sort of going to react in a different way and everyone is going to sort of take away something different from the movie and let it be their own conversation starter.
Do you think that the negative outbursts at Sundance were coming from the fact that maybe people couldn’t separate the exploitation of your character with the exploitation of you as an actress?
I think that was a large part of why people reacted the way they did. I’ve learned recently that the two people who were screaming at Sundance actually made an attempt to plug both of their projects while they were screaming so publicly at Sundance. So I think it’s kind of just the world that we live in. But yes, I think there was a blur between the exploitation of myself and the exploitation of my character which is really ridiculous because I’m an actress in a movie and just because an event that happened is misogynistic or exploitative, it doesn’t mean it’s misogynistic towards me. You have to separate.
Do you think this project will make people see you in a new way, and perhaps think of you for different roles?
Oh, it’s a totally different genre. Yes, I do think that it’s hopefully going to be a platform for people to see me in a different light besides someone who can make people laugh, thought to be honest, I love making people laugh and there’s nothing wrong with that. But no actress wants to be pigeonholed or type-casted and of course I want the opportunity to show as many different sides to myself as I can. But I love comedy, and I love my job and I’m glad that I get to do that every day too.
Moving on to more frivolous topics, what was your worst job before your acting career took off?
Oh jeeze. I was a busgirl at a big restaurant in New York in Times Square. They thought that I was really strong apparently, which is something no one would think. Actually, I think they were pretty much just trying to be cruel but they were like, ‘Okay, you need to carry these large boxes full of glassware.’ And I couldn’t lift them and I would literally have to pick them up and I’d walk a few feet and then plop them down. And then I’d pick them up and walk to the next table and plop them down. I fell a couple of times and it was just kind of a disaster.
Are there any fashion trends you’re really wanting to try for fall?
I’m a big boots person. I just can’t think of anyone that doesn’t look good in boots. I always get my staples, like a pair of like burgundy-colored boots, a pair of camel-colored boots that I really got these awesome sort of mid-calf length suede yellow boots by Tracy Reese that I’m loving. So yeah, I’m a big boots and bags person. I always make sure I have cool, fun colors and for fall.
Are you more of a high-heeled boot person or a low-heeled boots person?
Well, I say I’m 5’2” but I’m 5’1½ “ so I’m always in heels. The great thing about boots is that usually they don’t look as intimidating as a pair of platforms so it’s not like when I walk into a room people know that I’m wearing ridiculous Kardashian-tall heels. I love to wear boots because they’re just connective and they’re just cohesive with everything, and you know they always look great.
Since the success of your TV show, do you put more thought into your outfits before you go out?
You know, I probably should, but I’m still pretty notorious for getting up in the morning, having a really great shower and saying, "Okay, that’s cool. I’m just going to throw on yoga pants or something and go out." So I’m still pretty bad about going out with no makeup on and wearing slightly funny clothes. But I look at it like, I can dress myself up and I love to look great, but at the end of the day I’m me, and I like to be comfortable.
Fair enough. Your co-star, Krysten Ritter, is also very fashionable. Do you guys ever shop together?
We haven’t. We’ve been talking about it for ages but we’ve never actually gone out and gone shopping together. It’s kind of funny, the last couple of events that we’ve gone to together we’ve worn something similar and people kind of end up grouping us together. We keep gravitating towards the same things and we’re going to have to make sure we’re better about that.
Anything else you’re looking forward to this fall?
Fall is my favorite season. I’m big into Halloween. Last year my boyfriend and I went as "Toddlers & Tiaras" and he was the crazy, deranged pageant mother and I was the toddler. I get really into Halloween costumes. We had so much fun. You know, I love it when the leaves fall, the fall weather. I love the sweaters, jackets and boots. I love the color scheme. So I have a lot to look forward to this fall and hopefully I’ll go to a cool Halloween party to show off my cool idea.
You can’t give up your idea for a costume yet, I guess?
I can’t. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet.
And how exactly did you pull off dressing like a toddler?
It was awesome. I had a hairpiece in, and I had knee socks and you know those shoes that you get at Payless? I don’t know even how they were my size, but they were like the flat, little girl Shirley Temple proper church shoes. So I had those and I had bobby socks and it was also how I carried myself that evening. I smiled that big smile in every picture like ‘Oh, they’re telling me to smile.’ And I’m naturally 5’2” and my boyfriend is 5’11” so there’s obviously a height difference there, so I flattened out the boobies and went as a toddler and it was awesome.
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