It takes a really special talent like Chloe Coleman to command the screen opposite the hulking Dave Bautista in My Spy. Not only does Coleman deliver a towering performance in the film, she is also a great personality, as speaking with her about the film, set to open in certain markets this Friday, was a really fun opportunity. My Spy involves the titular spy (Bautista) finding himself at odds with a really powerful adversary (Coleman), and trust us when we say that she delivers in the film.
One of the best parts is that STX Entertainment’s My Spy was filmed in Toronto (subbing mainly for Chicago), and Coleman was delighted to learn this is where I hailed from, having just done a few media appearances in Toronto and speaking extremely highly of the place, despite being a Los Angeles native herself.
The following is an edited and condensed version of our exclusive one-on-one phone interview with rising star Chloe Coleman.
Brief Take: You must be excited for audiences to see this film on March 13th!
Chloe Coleman: I’m so excited for this movie to come out. Our amazing director, Pete Segal and the amazing cast that we have, we put it all together and I’m so happy with it. I am really excited for everyone to see it, I think that a lot of people are going to enjoy it.
BT: What was your favourite scene to shoot?
CC: Some of my favourite scenes would have to be some of the stunt scenes, those were so amazing and it was so much fun. My Spy was the first time that I had done a lot of action scenes, to do along this massive action star Dave Bautista, so it was so much fun. I kind of learned from it in a way because he is a great stunt person.
BT: What was your favourite part about filming in Toronto?
CC: I mean…Toronto, I have to be honest, it’s so beautiful, I would for sure live there. Everything about it- it has amazing food and everybody there is so nice, and I made some great friends in that area of Toronto. There were these two twins that worked on the movie and we’re very close to their family and they’re so sweet to us. So I love Toronto and I was happy to be back, it kind of felt like I was there yesterday, but it was good to be able to see it again.
BT: Can you describe the elevator and the ice cream sequence in the movie? I notice that both you and Dave have different flavours.
CC: You know, I’m pretty sure that Dave is gluten-free, he did have a gluten-free cone, but I actually love sorbet more than ice cream to be honest, which some people do find weird, but I was eating rainbow sherbet, I was actually eating it. In between takes, they would specifically ask me to not eat the ice cream and I would say “sure”, while I was licking it.
BT: Still a favourite?
CC: Yeah it is! It’s vegan, so I eat it.
BT: What sort of spy skills did you pick up from the movie? How much of a spy would you be in real life?
CC: Dave, he plays the CIA agent, and I will admit, I don’t know that his character is that great at being a spy himself, but I feel like my character Sophie is pretty good at it because she was a partner and they don’t even notice her. One of the things that I would do a lot on set is that I would sneak around and listen to people’s conversations, only because I had the swear jar with me, I was trying to find who swears a lot. Our director, Pete, he swore a lot, so I would hide behind this door onto the set and I would listen to his conversation, and when he swore, I would jump out from around the corner and yell: “swear jar!”, and it upset him a lot. [laughs]
BT: When you said some of the dirty words in My Spy, did you yourself have to contribute to your own swear jar?
CC: Well…[pauses] It was one word! It was only one word, so I don’t think that it counts. Well actually, most of the swear words that were scripted in the movie, they didn’t count. And about that, I didn’t think that they would use that, because we had an original version that didn’t have a swear word in it and then we tried this way. I was like: “Ah! They’re probably not going to put that in there”, and then when I saw the movie, I was like: “Oh my gosh! They used it! Wait, what?” [laughs]
BT: Can you talk a bit about your charity work with the swear jar and with Ronald McDonald House?
CC: I had been waiting for a good cause to give the swear jar money to somebody or to a company, and there has been this homeless woman who lived around our area and she did a lot of recycling. I think that we went on a trip and when we had come back, we weren’t able to find her and I was really disappointed because I really wanted to give it her, because she was such a hard worker. But when I realized that the Amazon rainforest was starting to burn, I raised the amount that we had gotten from the swear jar, which I believe was $256 and I raised it to $500 and I donated the money to the Amazon.
The Ronald McDonald House is amazing, it gives families in the hospital a place to stay for free. I like to go there and spend time with the kids. Then recently, they had this event for Black History Month and I was invited to come and read books, and that was really nice. I feel like families need that, they need to be able to be close with the kids in the hospital and be able to be there with them.
BT: You’ve described your character Sophie as a ‘master manipulator’, but also that you and Sophie share some similarities. What would you say are these similarities?
CC: I would have to say how Sophie feels in school more than anything. It’s not like there are bullies in my school, I have a wonderful school and they’re very supportive of my acting and stuff, but when I leave to go and work on a film or somewhere, I get removed for a bit to work, and then when I come back, I feel out of place because I haven’t seen these people in a while and it seems like they’ve done…I’ve missed them and feel kind of left out sometimes.
BT: I imagine that kids at your school are really excited for My Spy.
CC: Yeah, actually kids are really nice about it. People will come up to me and they’re like: “Oh my gosh Chloe, I’m so excited to see your film”, and it makes me so happy to know that my classmates in my school are so supportive of me, it makes me want to cry. Today I walked into class at school and people were like: “Chloe, I saw your billboard up, I saw this ad, you did this press thing.” It makes me so happy that people are so supportive about it. My school friends are so sweet to me and amazing. They’re a big part of my life.
BT: What is it like acting opposite Dave Bautista? He’s a massive person, as you mentioned.
CC: You know what, he might seem intimidating at first, but he is not. He is the sweetest person ever. When I started working with him, I was so happy, he’s so inclusive and generous of himself and giving and he’s such a great friend, and I really do love him. Also, a great actor – it was great working with him, it didn’t even feel like acting. I just love him so much. Even though he’s this big wrestler guy, that’s not really who he is deep down inside.
BT: What did you like most about working with Greg Bryk and Parisa Fitz-Henley?
CC: I mean Greg Bryk, he’s incredible. I mean he is the villain, but he’s so good at it, and it’s kind of easy for me to cry around him. He plays such a good villain [chuckles] it’s crazy. And Parisa was so sweet, she’s so nice and kind and I loved her role, it was so funny, especially in [chuckles] that elevator scene. I feel like that’s what all of the protective moms would do, I love that.
BT: It was just announced that STX Entertainment also has you as part of Gunpowder Milkshake. What does that mean to you and about the film as well?
CC: When I heard that STX was going to be releasing Gunpowder Milkshake, I was so happy because I know and love everyone at STX and they do such a good job. My Spy is everywhere and I’m happy to work with them again on Gunpowder, that is one amazing film. It’s really female-empowering and it has three generations of women as the core of the film. It has humour and action and it goes hand in hand.
BT: You left out the second part of the title. Maybe now that you’re a vegan, it should be Gunpowder (Sorbet) instead?
CC: Yeah! You know what? The milkshakes that we had on that film, they were actually vegan. [laughs] They were pretty good!
BT: When someone is seeing you for the first time in My Spy, what’s something that you would like them to know about you?
CC: Thinking about my character and me, I think that I want them to know that I’m a very nice and a polite person. I’m not such a dirty rat [giggles] as Sophie might be, I’m a lot more polite than she can be. Like she would say things that I would not say in real life, like to have the guts to go up and to blackmail this massive guy, like “Uh! I need that”.
BT: What has it meant to you to have this film debut right after Timmy Failure: Mistakes were Made and the SAG Awards? What has this stretch meant to you and what have you learned from the experiences?
CC: Yeah, this month has been a real whirlwind, with the SAG Awards and Timmy Failure. Tom McCarthy was such a great director, I loved how the movie turned out, he did such an amazing job with it. It premiered at Sundance, which was incredible, and now My Spy is coming out and I can’t believe that it’s all happening so fast. I have one family with Big Little Lies and I also have one family with Timmy Failure and one family with My Spy, and I have gotten to see and celebrate with them all. So it feels really good.
It’s important to get along with other people and every family. I always carry on a memory from each project. Everybody will always be important on every project on which I’ve worked and I love them all so much. And I do learn from everybody with whom I have worked- when I worked with Meryl Streep and Lena Headey and Nicole Kidman, all of those people, just by watching them, you can learn so much from them. I carry bits of that onto each set on which I work. All of those women like to be treated like regular people, because they are.
BT: Why do you think it’s important that audiences see My Spy on a big screen?
CC: You know kids still love going out and families love to get out of the house and go to see movies on a big screen in theatres – they have giant sound and seats and the experience is great. My Spy is truly for all family members, not just kids. People liken it to Kindergarten Cop, but it’s more mature and the comedy isn’t just for kids, it’s for adults, too. The comedy is for everybody. The movie is a family film but it fulfills everything- action and comedy and all that stuff. I’m thrilled about the movie coming out and there is so much more that isn’t shown in the trailer. Like the trailer is literally just the surface of the movie, as you know, there are a bunch more characters and stuff that happens. Audiences are in for a big surprise.
My Spy opens in Canadian theatres on March 13