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Spike Jonze Had Margaret Qualley Dance Like a Tree During Kenzo Commercial Audition

"Now you’re a vampire, now your arm is trying to attack you and you’re eating your pinky," the "Leftovers" actress said the filmmaker would tell her as she was auditioning.

Margaret Qualley

Margaret Qualley is a “massive fan” of Spike Jonze. So when the “Leftovers” actress auditioned for the starring role in the filmmaker’s KENZO World perfume short film, released last summer, she was “terribly nervous”. At an intimate dinner party thrown by Kenzo designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim on Thursday evening to celebrate the launch of the new Kenzo World Intense perfume, the actress spoke about her experience auditioning for the “Her” and “Adaptation” helmer.

READ MORE: Supercut Celebrates The Brief, Wonderful Filmography Of Director Spike Jonze — Watch

“The only note I got from my agent was that they wanted me to dance like a tree,” Qualley said, recalling her audition, which took place in Jonze’s apartment, according to New York Magazine’s The Cut. “I’m terribly nervous because I’m such a massive fan. We sit down and talk, I filibuster while I try to calm myself and tell him bizarre anecdotes about my father that have nothing to do with why I’m there. He gives me a vague idea of the story and concept. He plays the song [the same one heard in the ad] and is like, ‘Okay, want to improvise?’ He records it on his iPhone. I dance like a psychopath for about an hour, literally until his phone dies.”

As she was dancing, the filmmaker would tell her things like, “Now you’re a vampire, now your arm is trying to attack you, and you’re eating your pinky.” She continued, “I’m crawling on his floor, jumping on his chairs, it’s winter and I’ve got a turtleneck and stockings on and by the end, I’m drenched in sweat and out of breath. Then I get up and he’s like, ‘Nice to meet you.’ I’m like, ‘You too.'”

READ MORE: What Makes Spike Jonze Movies Unique? A Video Essay — Watch

When her agents called to see how it had gone, Qualley told them, “Either he thinks I’m an absolute psychopath, and am just bananas, or this is going to work out.” Forturantely, “it turns out, Spike both thought I was a psychopath and I would work out,” she said during the dinner.

Leon added, “I got a text right after from Spike that was like, ‘I found the perfect person. Margaret gave me something that almost rescripted what I had.'”

Qualley worked with Sia choreographer Ryan Heffington rehearsing the dance routine for a week prior to shooting. The 3:48 minute long film was released on August 25, and has over six million views on YouTube. Check out the ad below:


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