Ariana Greenblatt Takes On Epic Worlds in 65 and Barbie

What was your reaction to seeing the final film for the first time?

It was really exciting because I hadn’t seen anything from the film since two and half years ago when I initially filmed it. So it’s been quite a long time since I’ve revisited the world of 65 and my character. While watching it, I couldn’t help but remember what was going on behind the scenes. I will take myself out of what I’m supposed to be watching and be like, “I remember that day. I fell off the tree or whatever it may be.” I have my embarrassing stories attached to the scenes I’m watching. But it was really cool! It was sweet to see my 13-year-old self with my short hair. Finally seeing the dinosaurs put in and the sound effects and the lighting, it was like whoa! At the moment, I couldn’t picture what it could possibly look like because it’s this ginormous dinosaur that you can’t even fathom what it would look like in real life, so that was definitely cool—to see how they put it together and the details. 

Up next, you have the highly anticipated Barbie movie. Can you tell us a little about your role in the film?

Okay, so what I’m going to tell you is what you’ve seen so far is the tiniest little bit that you could ever picture. I’m never on Twitter because it’s a dark hole that I don’t want to go down, but when I was, when the little leaks were coming out, I was just filled with malicious excitement because I was like, “They have no idea what’s going on.” They are coming up with these stories, and it’s like, “You’re cute, but you couldn’t be farther from the truth.” So that’s really exciting. You can expect a lot of fashion moments, a lot of pink, and a lot of Greta Gerwig geniusness. [I] somehow [fit] into the story some way, but I can’t tell you. But you are going to love it, and I feel like it’s going to be such a beautiful and exciting movie that you can watch a thousand times over at sleepovers or wherever, and you are never going to get tired of it. It’s just a really fun, big surprise with a lot of fun people, and I am just so grateful to be a part of it. 

Did you play with Barbies when you were younger?

So that was my thing when I first got the whole memo of the project. I was like, “Okay, this is fantastic because Greta Gerwig is writing and directing, and hello, I’m one of her biggest fans.” Margot Robbie, one of her biggest fans. I was like, “Okay!” I had the Barbie Dreamhouse, but I put Monster High dolls in there and put all of these really weird not-Barbie dolls in the house. I just liked the flushing sound effect and the elevator and the fireplace. That was my jam! I liked that I had my own house that I could make little things in, but I never played with Barbies. It was definitely interesting. I was like, “Oh no, I hope not everyone on set is a huge Barbie fan because I’m not.” But it worked out in the end. 

You also have the film Borderlands in the pipeline, which is an adaptation of the popular video game. You have Cate Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black in this film. Can you tell us about your experience working on it? 

What I can tell you with this one is I auditioned for Borderlands in the midst of filming 65. I remember I got home one day and was literally exhausted, and it was midnight. I’m trying to find all of this research on this character—her name is Tiny Tina. Why is her name Tiny Tina? This is wacko. I looked it up and fully indulged myself and was like, “This is kind of lit. I love it.” So then my lovely mother was like, “Okay, I’m going to go.” And I was like, “What?” And she was like, “I have to get something!” She comes back from Walmart (we love Walmart in New Orleans—that was like our second home) … and she has all these little gadgets that she created so I can look kind of like this video game character with the dirt and Band-Aids and all of the above. So it’s the middle of the night, and we’re trying to film this tape, and I was like, “This isn’t working.” But at the end of the day, it completely did because you see the insanity going on in my brain and me just falling apart, and that worked beautifully for the character because she is psychotic. 

Working on the film, it was my biggest nervousness dream come true—starstruck, everything. …  From the age of 6 when people would ask, “Who is your dream person to work with?” you are going to expect [my answer to be] like Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, whatever, but my go-to answer was Kevin Hart every single time without fail. I wanted to work with Kevin Hart my entire life. So obviously when I heard he was a part of it, I was like, “I can’t. I can’t do it. I can’t meet him.” And then I go, and I’m meeting everyone, and they are all so lovely. I fell in love with everyone on set. Working with Jamie… First of all, let’s cover her beautiful soul. She is indescribable because she is just this caring, loving, sweet, professional, adoring person. She takes pictures every day. She’ll be like, “Don’t move. I’m making a black-and-white. I’ll edit it and send to you later.” She has endless amounts of stories. I mean, she is literally an icon.

And then Cate Blanchett. I really admire her. She always came to set looking fabulous, and she has the best personality. When we filmed reshoots a couple of weeks ago, we saw each other for the first time in a few years, and we bonded so much more, I think, because she finally feels more comfortable telling her dirty jokes. She told me, “I couldn’t say this stuff when you were 13.” So we definitely were able to banter back and forth a lot more. The whole cast weirdly and perfectly meshed together. And it’s such a weird group to put in one place and be like, “Okay, go crazy with these characters.” Florian Munteanu, who plays Krieg, is like my best friend even though he’s 32 and a boxer from Romania. He couldn’t be more like me! 

You are only 15 and already have a very impressive acting résumé. Who are the women and/or careers you look up to in this business? 

I love this question, and I spent a lot of time writing the people down because I don’t want to miss one person. … Trust me—I have many. I look up to Natalie Portman because she is fantastic. I look up to Saoirse Ronan. I would love to work with her. I think she is brilliant, and she is also in the family of Greta. Mia Goth, especially recently. She has blown everyone away and has created her own definition of camp and chaos. I’m obsessed with what she’s done. Anya Taylor-Joy—sick, cool. The Menu was dope. I would love to work with Zoe Saldaña. Although, I played a younger version of her, so it seems like I have, but I didn’t play one-on-one with her, and I think she is incredible.

I want to work with Winona Ryder because I recently watched Girl, Interrupted. I’m very late, I know, but I watched it, and it’s one of my favorite movies now. There are just so many people who I’ve looked up to for years, even behind the scenes—writers, directors, costume designers—because everyone plays such a huge role and part, and it can break or make the movie. I just have a big dream list in my brain, and whenever there is a full moon, I just say a name and say, “Alright, universe, line it up for me!”


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