You'd be hard pressed to find a more balls-to-the-wall comedic performance at SXSW this year than Sara Paxton's scene-stealing turn in the breakup/makeup romantic comedy "The Bounceback." In Bryan Poyser's Austin love letter, Paxton plays Kara, a heavy-metal loving wild child nursing a nasty breakup, who's called upon to come to the aid of her best friend Cathy (Ashley Bell), after Cathy's ex shows up in Austin intent on wooing his old flame back.
Best known for her work on the teen and horror film circuits in movies like "Aquamarine," "The Last House on the Left" and "The Innkeepers," Paxton proves in "The Bounceback" that screwball comedy is where she truly excels. It's no wonder a character in the movie refers to her as a Goldie Hawn-type. She's that funny.
Indiewire sat down the Paxton in Austin (she's also here with another, albeit darker comedy, "Cheap Thrills") to discuss her inspired turn, this new stage her career, and performing air sex (yes, it's real thing) on stage in front of a live audience at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Now where are you from exactly?
I’m originally from a suburb outside of LA called Woodland Hills and my family still lives there. I always wish I had a cooler answer than that.
No, I just asked that because you make for a very believable Austin resident/lover in "The Bounceback."
I think that Austin and I just really jive. I know that everyone in Austin is like “don’t move here.” But I’m like “fuck that, I’m moving here. This place is amazing.” I love it here and I think that what also helped make that transition a little more smooth was that when I first met Bryan and Megan when I first read the script I sat down with them and we had drinks and we hit it off immediately, we just clicked. So I just feel like I belong here. It feels like home. I love it here.
Was Kara all on the page before you came on board or did you bring a lot of yourself to the role? I'm guessing the latter.
There was a lot of Kara on the page. Bryan originally wanted me for Ashley Bell’s character Cathy, because that’s normally the kind of role that I play I guess. And I read the script and I thought, “oh my god, Kara is amazing. I have to play this girl.” And so I don’t know how I convinced Bryan to let me do that, but I feel like there’s a bit of Kira in me in real life, so I guess in some of our Skype meetings I showed him that. A lot of Kara is on the page, but I like to think I added my own flourishes to it.
I’m familiar with you from “The Innkeepers,” which I adore…
You got to earn some chuckles in that film, but I've never seen you really go-for-broke like you do in "The Bounceback." Have you been dying to go all out and do a full blown Goldie Hawn-esque performance?
Oh, totally. Goldie Hawn is my idol so thank you so much for saying that.
Well, you're called her in the movie, right?
Yes, Marshall [Allman] said it. He totally ad-libbed it. I loved doing “The Innkeepers,” and all of the horror stuff, “Shark Night,” and “Last House on the Left,” and everything. It was really fun, but I was ready to do a comedy and especially one like this. When I read it it was raunchy but lovable and when I met Bryan and watched his other movies, I think the script could have gone kooky in some place and wouldn’t have been so good in less capable hands. I think Bryan did a really good job of having the crazy comedy bits there but still keeping it really grounded and believable. So yeah, I’m really excited that I'm a part of this because its something new and different for me and I get to show a different side of myself I guess.