Exclusive Interview: Sharni Vinson on You’re Next

Sharni Vinson helps us figure out what genre You're Next belongs in and reveals which big stunt she performed in Step Up 3D with two broken toes.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

The world is finally starting to catch up to Sharni Vinson, the Australian star of Step Up 3D and last year's You're Next, a home invasion thriller with a built-in cult audience thanks to years of celebrated festival screenings prior to the theatrical release. The acclaimed film from the filmmaking team of Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett – which made CraveOnline declared one of the best films of the year and one of the most underrated – is hitting home video on DVD and Blu-ray this week, so we caught up with Sharni Vinson two months ago to talk about the film and revisit some of her earlier roles on the soap opera "Home and Away" and one of my favorite b-movies, Step Up 3D.

Yes, I said two months ago. That's when we were able to set up the interview, and they asked me very politely to hold off on publishing until this week. I am nothing if not a man of my word.
 

CraveOnline: You got so much attention for this role. You’re a badass in this movie.

Sharni Vinson: Thank you.
 

You’re welcome. Were you waiting for this big, badass role or did someone see badass in you?

I really had been waiting for this role. It’s something that I have been manifesting for a long time. I think what I have tried to do in the progression of my career is always look at what I’ve just done and what I could do next as far as what skills that I have that maybe I learned as a kid, or passions even moreso, that I can put into roles. Because the beauty about acting is that you can be anyone, you know? When it came to Step Up [3D] it was such an amazing thing because I had danced for 20 years and I’d never got to show the fact that I danced, and it was just such an amazing opportunity to then get the dance movie, and to get a dance movie in 3D. To make that mark as well was just such an amazing thing. And then I had grown up in the ocean my whole life and had to surf […] so to go on to a surfing role in Blue Crush 2 was also just kind of a natural progression.

Along comes something like You’re Next, and it’s everything that I’ve been wanting to show as far as more of an athletic, actionesque, girl-kicks-ass… it was just a blessing that was written, that she’s a survivalist, and that they loved the fact that I was Australian. They ended up changing [Erin] into an Australian to suit me, and the role was just born. It just all kind of manifested. Everything that needed to happen happened.
 

What did they have to change to make her Australian? Were there anecdotes about growing up somewhere else, or…?

Not much. There was basically that one speech in the movie where they ask me, “How did you learn all this stuff?” and I say, “Well, I haven’t even told Crispian this yet, but I actually grew up on a survivalist compound in Australia.” So that kind of speech there was really the only one that we had to suck into more of an Australian territory, but other than that, really, I guess the cast were able to make fun little anecdotes toward Australia, Joe Swanberg gets up in the beginning and does the boxing kangaroo. So we were able to incorporate it throughout [the film] because she was Australian, and it kind of just added to the fact of the mystery as to why she had these skills.
 

That line almost gets tossed out. It’s just sort of, “I grew up on a survivalist compound.” A huge revelation that you grew up on a survivalist compound. Oh, just throw that anywhere. That’s one of my favorite lines of dialogue of the year.

[Laughs]
 

It just comes from out of nowhere.

Yes, it does, it really does.
 

What was the philosophy behind that? Were they like, “Just underplay it?” Or “It’ll be funny,” or “It’ll be badass?” What were your discussions about that bit?

You know, it’s so funny because… thank god I come from the world of soaps, because scripts are changed so rapidly, at such a pace, and you have to learn have to learn new dialogue so quickly. I feel like this was changed pretty much on the day, and it was like, “Here’s the new sort of dialogue, this is now what you say,” and the boys, Simon and Adam, gave us so much freedom, and it was so liberating as an actor to be able to step up on the set and be handed these lines and kind of… I don’t want to say make it up as you go along, but live in the moment with the fresh dialogue just gone in your head and going, “Alright, this is just what she says.”

What was definitely discussed between myself, Adam and Simon was if this is just who she is. So a big revelation to her is going to come as a revelation to the audience, but when she says it to Zee, it’s like, “This is just the way it’s been, and this is how I grew up, and I haven’t even told Crispian that yet,” and it is just the way that she is. So it was more just having a real sense who the character was, where she comes from, and her mentality, why she has that mentality, and the dialogue was just able to come out in reference to that, and make sense.