Shawkat is primarily recognized for her role as Maeby Fünke on the television show, Arrested Development, and other lighter fare. But in the past few years, Shawkat has begun to make a name for herself in indie films such as Whip It (which premiered at TIFF—right here at the Ryerson—in 2009), Damsels in Distress (2011), and Ruby Sparks (2012) and memorable TV appearances like her brilliant turn on Broad City in the episode "Coat Check". Her sharp wit and comedic presence make her a stand out even in smaller roles.
In Green Room, Shawkat takes on a new kind of character in this violent siege story. As a member of the punk band held hostage after a gig, Shawkat’s character, Sam, has to fight her way through the onslaught of terror. She is the only girl in the band and, as she relates to Robert Mitchell in her red carpet interview, she got the part even though it was originally envisioned as another male band member. As the audience can attest, it is not hard to see why director Jeremy Saulnier decided Shawkat was perfect for the part!
Like her role in Life After Beth (2014), Shawkat brings her background in comedy to the horror genre in director Todd Strauss-Schulson's The Final Girls as Gertie, the friend of Max (Taissa Farmiga). Along with their friend, Vicki (Nina Dobrev), the girls find themselves magically transported to the slasher film they are watching starring Max’s mom, 1980’s fictional scream queen, Amanda Cartwright (Malin Ackerman). Again, Shawkat’s character will have to fight her way out of the terror!
With several more films out this year and next, keep an eye on Alia Shawkat—if she can take on the 2015 Midnight Madness programme from beginning to end, we know she’s going to wow us in many things to come!
FINAL GIRLS screens:
Sat, Sept 19, 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sun, Sept 20, 5:00 PM SCOTIABANK