Jaime King on Transforming for Lights Out and Calling George Lucas ‘Family’


Jaime King has kept busy on both the big and small screen ever since she starred in the first of two Sin City movies. That includes voicing a recurring character on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, embracing true crime TV with the now-infamous Sherri Papini story and, just recently, playing an enigmatic cop in Lights Out, which is now playing in theaters, on demand, and on digital. In the world of underground street fighting, King’s detective persona gets entangled in a life of crime while keeping her law-enforcement colleagues at bay.

For the film, King transformed from the warm, beautiful presence she’s known for into a colder, tense woman with short curly hair. It’s a tricky role, and we recently caught up with King to learn more about it, plus her love for George Lucas and a new feature film she’s directing. Check out the video with the charming King below or read on for our interview.

Jaime King’s Acting Style: ‘Everyone Has a Different Approach’

Co-starring Mekhi Phifer and other household names like Frank Grillo, Lights Out has King sharing some juicy screentime with Dermot Mulroney, who fans will remember from hit films like My Best Friend’s Wedding and Scream VI. Here, he’s a crime boss who has pals in law enforcement, and that includes King’s Detective Ridgway.

“We immediately just created that dynamic of extreme tension and really both held in that space, so it feels dangerous and scary,” said King about working with Mulroney. “I really appreciated that part. And his son was working on set too, which is really great. And yeah, I just love actors so much because everyone has a different approach, and you never know what it’s gonna be like. And I like that danger, I like that edge.”

King continued to detail the unique way in which she was able to enter Ridgway’s headspace:

“For Detective Ridgway, I created very clear, previous circumstances as to why she was doing what she was doing. I spoke to a lot of detectives, a lot of officers about what causes corruption and why specifically, in this moment of time, there’s only a few things that actually do that… Sometimes I’ll use an animal totem, I’ll use things from literature. For this one, I chose a goddess, the goddess Calypso. And so I used the mythology of Calypso as well.”

Related: Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The 20 Best Episodes of the Series

Looking back on King’s expansive career in Hollywood, we were curious if she stayed in touch with the folks behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and if she’d welcome the opportunity to return to the franchise. “They’re my family, George and all of his kids. They have been for a very long time,” King told MovieWeb. She worked closely with Dave Filoni long before he became the bigwig Chief Content Officer for the Star Wars franchise. “When Filoni and I started working on Clone Wars, he never thought he’d be able to do live action you. You know what I mean?” She added:

To watch your friends grow and thrive, and to be there at the ranch when they’re writing these things, and to be a part of it and a part of the decision-making, all of it. I mean, my relationship with Lucasfilm is so deep and so rich. And yeah, of course, I’ll do anything for them.

On Robert Rodriguez and True Crime

Another acclaimed project in King’s filmography is Frank Miller’s Sin City, which famed director Robert Rodriguez also helmed. “Robert taught me this: He’s like, ‘Listen, you create your family.’ And that’s why there’s repetition of the people that he works with, the same way that I like to repeatedly work with the same people,” King told us. “It’s in a fierce loyalty because you feel safe with them. And the safer that you feel, the more we can all push each other to really go for it and really create outside of our boundaries that we feel like we couldn’t do in other spaces. He’s just so brilliant. I just learned so much from him all the time.”

Related: Mekhi Phifer Says Lights Out Relates to People ‘Trying to Put Food on the Table’

More recently, King starred as the titular real-life headline-maker in the TV movie Hoax: The Kidnapping of Sherri Papini. The wild true story centers on a California family that was ultimately charged with faking Papini’s kidnapping for the sake of some quick cash. We had to ask if King happens to follow these wild true crime headlines in the first place. Says King:

“I’m not like a big true crime fan… When I was doing Hart of Dixie… I never had turned on my TV in the trailer in like two years or something. So I turned it on. And then that thing broke, and it was just stuck on a true-crime loop. But I was never really interested in it because I’m so sensitive. It was just something about her when I read it. I was like, ‘Something’s off, something about the way the media is portraying her, something about this story. There’s something else,’ and I believe that I figured out what that was.”

Looking ahead, King is keeping busy behind the camera as well. “I’m in pre-production right now for a film my directorial debut, which is called Kill Me Now. I’m very, very excited about it,” she said. “Our cast is sick. It’s amazing. I’m so excited about it.”

In the meantime, from Quiver Distribution, Lights Out is now playing in theaters, on demand, and on digital. You can rent or buy it on platforms like Prime Video, Google Play, YouTube, and through Vudu below:

Watch Lights Out

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