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Halsey Talks ‘MaXXXine,’ Acting Ambitions and Channeling Cher

Halsey Talks ‘MaXXXine,’ Acting Ambitions and Channeling Cher

Halsey Talks ‘MaXXXine,’ Acting Ambitions and Channeling Cher

Halsey may be best known for her chart topping success in the music industry but the Grammy nominated singer-songwriter has been dipping her toes in Hollywood for some time. She had a cameo in Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, appeared in Cameron Crowe’s rocker series Roadies, voiced a lead role as Porsha Crystal in the animated Sing 2, and starred opposite Sydney Sweeney in Tony Tost’s yet-to-be-released crime-western Americana.

But with MaXXXine — the third and final entry in filmmaker Ti West‘s horror trilogy from A24 after X and Pearl — Halsey fully takes the plunge into Tinseltown playing Tabby Martin opposite leading lady Mia Goth‘s Maxine Minx. The film centers on Maxine who, as the lone survivor of the bloody massacre on a remote Texas property that played out in the original entry X, sets off for Los Angeles in the mid-1980s to pursue her dreams of big-screen stardom. As she makes her way through the industry, Maxine must confront her past while a night stalker terrorizes the town. Halsey’s Tabby is a friend of Maxine who also has her heart set on making it big while working in a dance club.

Halsey and Mia Goth.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“I was a huge fan of the first two films, and I obviously loved Ti as a human being overall,” Halsey explained to The Hollywood Reporter while standing outside Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre ahead of the MaXXXine world premiere on Monday night. “I actually just met up with Ti to talk about films, music and generally everything. MaXXXine sort of came up organically and I told him that I would love to audition. He said, ‘Great, send in a tape.’ But I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that I was going to get this.”

Still, despite her self-doubts, Halsey went ahead and put herself on tape. Much to her surprise, she received a call-back. “I was, like, ‘Shut up! Are you kidding me?’ Then the real panic set it because then I realized I had to actually then do it.”

Asked about her preparation process, Halsey explained that she leaned on her roots as a New Jersey native by adding a little East Coast attitude — and an accent.

“I had really minimal information but I knew that my character Tabby worked in a dance club. She was part of a really unique group of people, vulnerable women who are targeted, in a way. One of the things that stuck out to be about Tabby is that she really wants something amazing to happen for her. She’s looking for that moment, that burst of confidence. That’s why I based her as a New Jersey girl, because i was able to go back to where I was when I was coming up, thinking, it’s going to be me one day. Someday, something good is going to happen to me. I then just threw a little accent on it and it all came together.”

She also sprinkled some musical influences in there, too. “There’s a lot of Annie Lennox and a lot of Debbie Harry sometimes, those more alt-leaning girls of that era who are real tough. Tabby doesn’t need anyone to protect her. Well, she does but she doesn’t think she does. She’ll kick your ass, basically, if you try her.”

Not only did she channel some music icons for her work on the big-screen, Halsey also drew inspiration from superstar artists for her red carpet ensemble on Monday night. “It’s very Hollywood,” the 29-year-old artist explained of her look, a Bronx and Banco gold sequin gown. “I wanted a little bit of late ’70s, early ’80s Cher, you know what I mean? The big hair and the open tummy silhouette, and a little Grace Jones in the face with the eye makeup. I was kind of looking to those divas who were turning the times at the end of ’70s, catching up to the ’80s.”

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In addition to Goth and Halsey, MaXXXine stars Lily Collins, Elizabeth Debicki, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Monaghan, Sophie Thatcher, Moses Sumney, Giancarlo Esposito and Kevin Bacon. As with all of his films, West wrote, directed, produced and edited the film. His producing team also includes Goth, Jacob Jaffke and Kevin Turen.

Now with MaXXXine set to slash its way into theaters on July 5, Halsey is ready to officially call Hollywood home. “I have a couple pretty exciting projects coming, and I’m really looking forward to announcing when the time is right in the next couple months. But this is definitely going to be more than a venture of tourism for me. This is a place that I hope to really explore,” she said. “I love storytelling in any capacity. Songwriting and creating an album is inherently storytelling, and acting is just more of an extrapolated version of that.”

Kevin Bacon, Halsey, Elizabeth Debicki, Moses Sumney, Mia Goth, Giancarlo Esposito, Lily Collins, Ti West and Jacob Jaffke at the world premiere.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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