Mark my words – Hollywood is about to fall in love with Havana Rose Liu.
The actress leads the upcoming Hulu thriller No Exit. Liu plays Darby, a woman stranded by a blizzard at a rest stop with a group of strangers. Things go from bad to worse when Darby discovers a kidnapped child in one of the strangers’ cars. But which of these strangers can Darby trust, and who among them is the kidnapper?
During a press conference for the film, Liu discussed how she felt drawn to Darby from the beginning.
“Honestly, I just fell in love with Darby right away,” said Liu. “I use this thing, “The 36 Questions To Fall In Love”, in order to find character every time. I’m untrained, so generally, I’m just, like, throwing pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks. But with Darby, I barely even had to think. It just felt like it was flowing right from me.”
No Exit marks Liu’s first role as the lead in a feature film.
“I like to make the joke that I felt like I was gonna die, and also felt very alive every single day. Like, the most alive, and the most close to death I’ve ever felt,” Liu said, explaining her simultaneous excitement and anxiety at taking on No Exit. “I have so much respect for everyone I was working with. I’m newer to this craft, and so for me, most of the work is being a sponge. I learned from every single one of the cast, and also every single one of the crew the entire time.”
Liu said the experience actually made her feel closer to her character.
“I think a lot of it just was able to parlay into the role, right? Like, Darby doesn’t know what to do. Darby is terrified out of her mind. Darby’s in a new situation. And for me, in some ways, it was a perfect marriage, because I was able to sort of exercise all those feelings I had about acting with such a trustworthy and lovely group of people.”
No Exit is a challenging film emotionally, as Darby struggles with her personal difficulties, but it was also physically challenging to film. As the thrills and danger ramp up in the story, Liu had more stunt work to do. Game for anything, she described coordinating stunts for No Exit as a highlight of her experience working on the film.
“There was so much trust that was built, even just through the physicality of this. We had an incredible stunt master, John Costello, who helped us sort of ease our way through the choreography of a lot of the stunts… The stunts and really the physicality of the movie is sort of at the heart of where a lot of the trust comes between all the characters,” explained Liu. “We all know we’re trust-falling together in a safe environment, John’s got our back, all the stunt doubles got our back. And I think that’s part of what makes it so fun, too.”
Overall, Liu said she couldn’t imagine a better role than Darby
“It was just the best, most complex, nuanced character I could have asked to play, given that so many of her faults really are her strengths, and vice versa. I think playing around with that duality was just something that made me feel so alive every day. And I thank Damien [Power] every night before bed for giving me the role!”
You can see Liu in No Exit on Hulu starting February 25.