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FUTURES: 'Compliance' Star Dreama Walker on the Controversial Film: 'I felt a tremendous desire to be a part of the whole discussion'

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire August 16, 2012 at 11:12AM

Why She's On Our Radar: Despite not winning an award at Sundance for her breakout turn in "Compliance," Craig Zobel's acclaimed and controversial drama, 26-year-old actress Dreama Walker gave what was arguably one of the bravest performances in Park City this year.
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"Compliance"
Magnolia Pictures "Compliance"

Did Craig have you meet the victim on which your character is based?

No. I have never spoken with the victim. I understand that she is married and has a child and wants to stay out of the limelight and I completely understand that, especially given what she's been through. She's probably trying to make a recovery on a daily basis and I respect that.

What kind of pressure did you feel to live up to her and portray her in a realistic light?

I watched interviews with her and I felt that she seemed like a very sweet, docile girl from Kentucky. I didn't really have any interest in trying to duplicate her and do exactly what she did. I had more of an interest in the relationship between Sandra and I, and furthering the whole arc of what happens when something traumatic like that is forced upon you. The stages that you go through. Craig and I had a lot of conversations about how initially we certainly didn't want it to stay on one level, because I didn't think that was at all natural. We wanted there to be an arc.

"Now we're in a better situation, because people know to stay away if they have any particular unresolved issues."

Were you surprised by the divisive reaction at Sundance? Especially given that it is based on a true story.

Sure. That definitely came as a shock. I think there were a lot of people who bought tickets for the movie or acquired tickets for the movie and didn't know what the film was about. I think that if I didn't know what it was about I wouldn't be too pleased either [laughs]. I think you kind of have to be prepared for something like that, and obviously there were people in the audience who had a tremendous sensitivity to the subject matter. I was surprised by that, but I think that now we're in a better situation because people have talked about the film and people have an idea about what happens in it and know to stay away if they have any particular unresolved issues.

READ MORE: Why Every Screening of 'Compliance' Should Be Followed By a Q&A Session

What did you walk away with from the Sundance experience?

[Laughs] Oh gosh! Well, I had been dreaming about going to Sundance since I was a little girl, since I first learned what an independent movie was. I grew up in a town that didn't have a lot of access to those types of things. So that was a dream realized for me.

I was really inspired and made to feel fantastic by the people who actually enjoyed the film for what it was and sort of got it. I was super happy to have lengthy conversations with people who wanted to come up to me and discuss what it meant to them. I'm still happy to have those conversations. That's what initially inspired me to do it in the first place.

This article is related to: Dreama Walker, Futures, Interviews, Compliance