Interview: Leah Pipes from “Sorority Row”
Interview: Leah Pipes from “Sorority Row”

The Massie Twins recently had a chance to sit down with star Leah Pipes to talk about her new movie “Sorority Row,” a wickedly humorous remake of the cult ’80s slasher film “The House on Sorority Row.” Naturally, she discusses the amazing nudity, horrifying gore, and running around in lingerie.

The Massie Twins: We saw you earlier this year at Comic-Con for Sorority Row. How was your experience there?

Leah Pipes: I love San Diego. I go there all the time. How did YOU like Comic-Con?

MT: We go down there to cover the various movie events, so it’s half work, half fun. And we got to see you there! I’m sure you didn’t have to deal with the crowds and the lines.

LP: No. I actually want to go when I don’t have a film and dress up. I got just a glimpse of it and thought it was incredible. I’m a huge nerd.

MT: Are you? You can’t just be a nerd. You have to be a hardcore nerd.

LP: I’m not as hardcore as some of those people, but right in the middle of finals, I HAD to go see Lord of the Rings, which in turn made me do not so well on finals. It was a midnight showing.

MT: That’s a good qualifier. We’ll accept that. And now onto Sorority Row – we didn’t get to screen the film first, so can you tell us a little about your character?

LP: Jessica is the lead of the sorority. She is mean and not nerdy – she’s actually quite cool, so she’s very different from me. At least she thinks she’s cool. Between you and me, I think she’s just a bitch. But don’t tell her I said that. It was a fun character to play. As scary as the villain is in all horror movies, I’m the scariest villain because a mean sorority girl is absolutely frightening. She’s a killer with her eyes.

MT: We saw you holding the axe in screenshots. That’s pretty tough.

LP: I try to give that illusion.

MT: Were you familiar with the original House on Sorority Row? Were you required to watch it?

LP: They actually said not to watch it because it was so different. We took the concept of a bunch of sorority girls who get into trouble and someone’s killing them. But that’s really all we took. Once we’re done with all of the press and the movie comes out, we’re planning on having a big slumber party where all of us watch it together. And we’re going to have pillow fights. I’m looking forward to watching the original.

MT: We did ourselves a favor (or a disservice) by watching The House on Sorority Row and Sorority House Massacre 1-3 last week to get in the mood for your new film.

LP: Did they have nudity in the original?

MT: They do, but it’s here and there and not very gratuitous.

LP: The cool thing we did was it almost has an ’80s slasher flick feel, but jokey, more like we’re making fun of ourselves. But it’s super fun to watch and the boobs in this movie are some of the greatest tits I’ve ever seen. I have to be honest with you.

MT: We can’t complain about that. I believe they were originally going for a PG-13 rating for Sorority Row, but now it has an R.

LP: I blame Matt O’Leary for that. There was one scene where we’re taking him to the quarry and he thinks he’s killed his girlfriend, and he’s dropping F-bombs left and right. And he’s just so in character and you can’t ask him not to say “fuck.” He says “fuck” all the time. I know. So after that scene it was confirmed we were keeping it a rated R movie.

MT: It keeps the realism. Tough times call for harsh dialogue.

LP: Rumer was pissed because she didn’t get to curse a lot. And the rest of us got to.

MT: So you’re nothing like your character in real life?

LP: I would say if I was another character, I’d be Rumer’s character. But her character was complaining all the time and I don’t know if I’d be that whiny. I’d be more take-action. But not as much as Cassidy. Cassidy is really sexy. Briana Evigan is one of the sexiest women I’ve ever met in my life, hands down. I wouldn’t be that sexy.

MT: Didn’t you originally try out for both Jessica and Ellie?

LP: Yes. I did an audition for Ellie because I’m geeky. That would be the obvious choice for me. But I was really drawn to Jessica. After the original audition they wanted to bring me back for one of the other characters – I believe it was Cassidy – but I said, “No, I really want to try Jessica.” I came back really dressed up. They told me that if I was going to play this character, I’d have to really, really dress up. So I put hair extensions in, I wore the highest heels I’ve ever worn in my life, and the shortest skirt. Little did I know the next two months would be spent that way.

MT: What kind of research went into being a sorority girl?

LP: I’ve had no interest in sororities all my life until this film, and I read a book called Pledged. My mom was in a sorority, so I sat down with her and said, “Give me the dirty details.” But the funny thing about sorority girls is that they never do. My mom said it was just perfect and amazing and no one is mean. Everyone’s super nice. It’s all rumors. And then I asked around to some of my friends in college and they said sorority girls are pretty ruthless. That made it so much more fun to be in the film.

MT: We are predicting that Jamie Chung’s character gets it the worst. How close are we?

LP: No. We all get it bad. She gets it horrible, but we all get it BAD. I don’t know. The death scene that really creeps me out the most … Jamie’s is pretty bad. I would say Chung’s is the worst. For me, personally. I guarantee you that people will jump. It’s cut together really well.

MT: A lot of critics have been giving it positive reviews so far. Do you ever go online and see what people are saying?

LP: No! I did that for my first series and went online to see what everyone was saying. And they said the meanest things about me. And I said, “Never again am I doing this.” They called me fat; they called me everything you don’t want to hear. I’m gonna have an eating disorder and never act again!

MT: Since Briana Evigan was going to be here, but couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict, can you tell us something we don’t know about her? The naughtier, the better.

LP: Oh, man.

MT: No juicy details?

LP: She’s just not a very naughty girl.

MT: Well that’s too bad.

LP: Yeah.

MT: How about some juicy details about you? Any pranks on the set?

LP: Yes. Briana came out and was wearing Rumer’s stunt wig and her glasses. The character of Ellie is always crying, so Bri put a bunch of Vaseline on her cheeks and people were on their walkie-talkies telling each other that Rumer was having a breakdown – all the while she was inside, preparing for the scene. That was the extent of the pranks. Men are worse when it comes to pranks. We’re not really malicious.

MT: What was it like working with Carrie Fisher?

LP: It was so cool. She’s so educated on this industry. In her own way, she’s Hollywood royalty. You don’t know what to expect. Is she going to be insane? I was almost disappointed because she’s so nice, and so down to earth. I was hoping for some crazy story to tell, but she’s just a really cool woman.

MT: Even when you’re swinging an axe at her?

LP: Yeah. She got to do all her own stunts.

MT: Did you get to do all of your own stunts?

LP: No. One stunt I missed was a big catfight. Of course Jessica gets in a catfight. They wanted a pretty intense catfight, so they had to hire people to do it for me.

MT: Well, it’s like visual training.

LP: Yes. I watched them very closely and now I know. It’s lots of hair pulling. But I think we made it sexier than it usually is. Do people usually straddle each other in a catfight?

MT: I wish I knew.

LP: Just watching the stunt girls I thought, “This is very sexual!”

MT: In the movies they always find their way into a fountain or something and get completely wet.

LP: Yeah, we didn’t do that. The funny thing is we were able to make the characters over-the-top even when they’re at their sexiest.

MT: Is the violence over-the-top, or is it just grisly?

LP: It’s nasty. There must be something wrong with Pete and Josh [the screenwriters] to come up with such horrific deaths. I can’t believe someone can be so creative on how to kill someone. These deaths have never been done before.

MT: Does your character do any screaming?

LP: The other movie that I did, Fingerprints, has a lot of screaming in it. Rumer does all the screaming in this film. I think she’s just so good at it that we didn’t want to try and top it. It was the most amazing screaming you’ve ever heard. When I did it, I thought it was therapeutic.

MT: If we were trapped in a sorority house and being stalked by a vicious killer, what survival tips would you give us?

LP: I would say, “Don’t trust anyone. Especially not your sorority sisters. Always keep a weapon on you, but make sure you don’t go into the bubbles with it. Don’t lay back and chug a bottle at the same time. And keep your mouth closed.” That’s all I’m going to say.

MT: That advice could be given for quite a few other scenarios.

LP: In a sorority house, you should always keep your mouth closed. And in a frat house.

MT: In many horror films the characters who bring their own weapons always manage to have them used against them.

LP: Yeah. We utilize a lot of weapons in this movie. Our weaponry rivals Lord of the Rings.

MT: It gets medieval?

LP: (laughs) We have a lot of weaponry and we get pretty creative with it. Including things you don’t think could be a weapon.

MT: In the original, the killer uses a cane with a sharp edge.

LP: Yes – that made a cameo in the film. We were very careful with that prop, but if you watch closely, you’ll be able to see that very same cane.

MT: Is this the perfect date movie?

LP: Yes, it is. There are sexy women for the guys, and there are kick-ass girls for the girls. It’s funny and it’s scary, so I’m sure she’ll curl up real close to you. And it’s also really gory, so both people can enjoy that. If you take out the horror, it’s a comedy and if you take out the comedy, it’s a horror movie. It’s not like Scream. It has a really, really dark and twisted sense of humor. It’s not a light and fluffy comedy. I’m really impressed by the writers. They’re so clever and they wrote it so accurately for women.

MT: Did director Stewart Hendler make you watch any films for preparation?

LP: Yes. He sent us a care package. It had Mean Girls, Heathers, and Scream. That was the vision, the feeling he had for the film.

MT: What was the most difficult aspect of filming?

LP: The most difficult aspect couldn’t be foreseen. It was the 28 degree weather in lingerie. And the bustier I was wearing every single day, which was not comfortable. But Jessica’s big scene would be the initial killing of Megan, which you see in the trailer. It’s an emotionally up and down scene. She has to be really emotional, and then she has to pull herself together. I didn’t want her to be completely void of all feeling, but wanted to give her a motivation for just covering it up and moving on. That took some diggin’.

MT: Did you look forward to all the running around in lingerie?

LP: It was so cold that you don’t care what you look like. “Just do the scene so I can get that jacket back on ASAP!” I think we all had that mentality. You’re freezing your ass off and even if you think the camera isn’t getting the right angle for your body and you have the choice to just shoot it now or have the cameras reset, you’ll shoot it now.

MT: That must add to the realism.

LP: The weather really helped some situations. These were intense scenes and we’re supposed to be scared and you see us completely shaking.

MT: And you weren’t acting.

LP: Less acting and more freezing. It was like we were in the middle of Antarctica.

MT: Well here we have one season: Summer.

LP: That’s pretty sweet.

MT: In theory, perhaps. Do you find yourself wanting to drop spoilers about the movie?

LP: Yes! So badly. Because the best parts I can’t talk about. You have to go see it.

MT: They wouldn’t let us go see it!

LP: They don’t trust you.

MT: That’s probably a wise decision on their part.

LP: I just have to say that if you want to have a fun night, go see this film. We’ve made this for everyone to enjoy. We had so much fun filming it and we all brought our A game.

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