Riley Keough plays the lead role in Starz’ The Girlfriend Experience, which focuses on a law student who turns to an escort website. But the actress doesn’t like the way roles are written for women nowadays, and she talks to THR about the “shitty” roles and how she refuses to play the “hot dumb girl.”
On her role in The Girlfriend Experience:
Steven [Soderbergh] came to me two years after Magic Mike and was like, “Hey, we have this show and we want you to play the lead in it.” I read the script and had questions like, “What is the point of this show?” I tend to overanalyze. They just ended up giving me [scripts for] all of the episodes, which is rare for TV.
I cannot and will not play something if I still have questions. I feel like I am being fraudulent. I’ve done it once probably, and I will never do it again. That is just my own integrity. If I feel like I’m full of shit, then surely everyone else will feel like I am full of shit.
On how people see her:
Not to be an asshole, but people are expecting a hot dumb girl, whereas I am sort of cynical and smart. I know from auditions because I get called in to do roles, and I’m like, “You don’t know me. I am not going to be able to play that well.” And it’s for the pretty girl, the sexy girlfriend. The roles they write for women are so shitty. I think part of me just rebels against it, so I immediately make myself not able to do [the part]. I walk in the room, and they are like, “Oh, never mind.”
On roles for women:
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And if there is a good movie, there are five girls who are going to do it, and all of the other ones have to play the dumb girlfriend forever until they finally get their chance. That’s why I feel so empowered by Brie Larson and Alicia Vikander. Now we’re demanding more-intelligent and less-two-dimensional roles. It’s breaking down that stupid thing where you have to be a dumb blond girl with big boobs. Whoever first brought that to the table is being torn to shit.