It may seem like the dust has only just settled on the Twilight franchise—because in the two years since the film series officially ended, 27-year-old Ashley Greene has never fallen off our radar. From her sleek red carpet style to her role in last year’s indie CBGB, Greene hit the ground running (literally—we caught up with her last month before she ran a 10K in Central Park!) after shooting wrapped. And this Friday, she’s back on the big screen in Zach Braff’s long-anticipated follow-up (not sequel) to Garden State.
Wish I Was Here, written by Braff and his older brother Adam, stars Braff as Aidan Bloom, a mid-30s struggling actor/family man trying to deal with his father’s terminal cancer. The film also stars Kate Hudson as Braff’s patient wife, Mandy Patinkin as his regretful father and Joey King as his religious daughter. Josh Gad plays his misunderstood genius of a brother who wants to impress his neighbor, played by Greene, at Comic-Con because she is “a character designer of full-size plush toys." Read on for our interview with Greene.
Lucky: What were your thoughts on Garden State? Were you a fan before you signed on for this project?
Ashley Greene: I really enjoyed and loved Garden State. Zach always does a really good job of making stories and characters that people really relate to. And, of course, I loved the soundtrack just as much as everyone else. When I heard that this was not a sequel, but a follow-up, and that it has the same general feel as Garden State but is set in Aidan Bloom’s mid-30s dealing with deeper heartfelt issues, I noticed that Zach was still able to add in bits of comedy at the right time. The movie really does make you laugh and it does make you cry, and it still leaves you feeling good when you finish the film.
So much of Garden State was about struggling to find meaning in your mid-20s. As someone at that age, have you ever felt that way?
I’ve struggled to try to make the right decisions and to figure out where I’m supposed to be at multiple times in my life. I’ve set arbitrary goals that I didn’t necessarily meet and have had to deal with that and figure out who I was and what I wanted to be. I don’t think that’s something that’s ever goes away—Zach was able to make the transition to playing a character in his mid-30s with a family who has to make decisions that don’t only affect him.
Your character Janine is into cosplay (costume play, usually with sci-fi, comic book or anime characters) and spends most of her time onscreen in a furry costume. What’s the most elaborate costumes you’ve ever worn, in movies or real life?
This furry costume is one of the most elaborate costumes I’ve ever been in. When Zach said “cosplay,” I thought of all those pictures of girls at Comic-Con in these really cute getups. But then I walked in and saw this huge and hilarious furry costume instead! But one year for Halloween, I had a custom-made peacock costume that was really neat, with these real feathers on it. I had the hair and makeup and everything to go with it and I felt like that was the most dressed up I’ve ever been. I’ve always intend to do these grand costumes for Halloween, but I never quite get there.
How did you find a custom-made peacock costume?
I had to look online for a while to find one that I really liked. I met all these women and men when we were doing the Comic-Con scene in Wish I Was Here and they actually made all their costumes themselves. If I had that talent to do that, then I absolutely would. It’s actually incredible how quickly and how efficiently they can make these elaborate costumes. But yeah, I just looked online for awhile and finally found a woman and called her up and sent her my measurements and stuff. I still have it. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it.
You have a really funny sex scene in your furry costume, too. Was that weird to film?
Hopefully, it’s as hilarious on the screen as it was in the room. It was an interesting way to make a scene that you think would be sexy just ridiculous and hilarious. Luckily, I had people like Josh Gad and Zach Braff in the room making me laugh, which made it really comfortable. You’re in this furry alien costume and he [Josh Gad] is in this space outfit and you kind of just have to go with it and trust the director and hope that magic happens. But it definitely goes down in the books as one of the oddest experiences that I’ve had.
What are your reflections on Twilight, now that the franchise has wrapped?
Never say never in this industry—but I don’t think that I’ll have an experience like than ever again. It was something really special that we couldn’t anticipate, and our fans really supported us and stood behind us. I loved being a part of it—it was fun and I learned a lot. It was like a rollercoaster ride because we went through things—not just myself but the rest of the cast as well—that we had never been through before. It created a bond between us that you don’t necessarily get on other sets.
Last question: Where do you think Alice Cullen would be today?
I think she would probably be in New York City, for sure, and I think she’d be a fashion designer. We got to have a lot of fun with the character because she did love fashion so much. I think she would definitely be at a fashion institute or in New York City designing.
Wish I Was Here hits theaters this Friday, July 18. Check out the trailer below!