Despite What They Might Have Told You, VICTORIA PEDRETTI | Its Better Over Here - Bliteoc

Despite What They Might Have Told You, VICTORIA PEDRETTI | Its Better Over Here

3 months ago 80

I’m sitting in an air-conditioned car on a rooftop parking lot overlooking the Pacific in Malibu, awaiting to connect with Victoria Pedretti, who is currently in New York City. As we greet each other, I hear in her the enthusiasm of a bright, young 24 year-old. I also sense the respectful nature of someone purposefully pursuing their life’s calling.

“I have always loved film. Most of us who get into the industry get into it because it was a positive place to explore when we were younger,” she shares. “I spent my entire childhood glued to a television. It absolutely shaped my perspective of the world. Film taught me about so many different things. I got to see the world; I saw Hollywood before I even got there.”

Pedretti plays Lulu in Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Lulu is best known as Leslie Van Houten, the still-incarcerated member of Charles Manson’s notorious family, for her role in the killings of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca at their Los Feliz home in 1969.

The casting opportunity for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood came unexpectedly and quite literally to Pedretti’s doorstep. Still in production shooting her first job in Atlanta, Tarantino’s casting director, Victoria Thomas, sent someone to knock on Pedretti’s hotel door at 6:00 AM.

“I was handed the audition sides with no context of what the story was,” she recalls. En route to the audition, “no phones were used, and we traveled by horse and buggy,” Pedretti jokes. “I feel like the bigger and more mysterious the projects, the more secretive and fun, or stressful, the audition process becomes. I choose not to stress. I just don’t think about it.”

When she finally met Tarantino, their interaction was humbling if not somewhat awkward. “I just wanted to play it cool,” she remembers. “I did everything you shouldn’t do when someone tries to give you a handshake,” Pedretti laughs. “He did the ‘dap’ handshake that bros do when you smack hands and go down and I can’t do that! I don’t know what it was but it was awkward as fuck and he ended up just giving me a hug because I failed so miserably.”

During filming, Pedretti recalls watching the camera operators in awe. “Seeing actual film being taken out of the camera was a pretty gobsmacking moment, like, ‘Damn, that was shot on film!’ I don’t know why that is so cool. I think it’s because it’s a tangible thing.”

Pedretti is also cast in the second season of Netflix psychological thriller series, You, which completed production in Los Angeles this June.

Originally from Philadelphia, Pedretti studied at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh. Not long after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2017, she was cast as Nell in the widely praised Netflix horror series, The Haunting of Hill House.

Now in pre-production for its second season, due to launch in 2020, Pedretti returns in The Haunting of Bly Manor as Dani, the governess of “two very unusual children.”

“I feel like I’m getting to enjoy really letting my imagination go wild. I’m coming up with ideas and exploring the story,” she says, elated. Pedretti’s immersion into horror shifted her perspective on the genre as a whole. “I did not have the appreciation that I do now. Though it’s a horror show—which has often been labeled as being ‘camp’ or ‘provocative for the sake of being provocative’—what Mike Flanagan and the writers do with the material and genre is really complex, and has depth.”

As our call nears its end, I begin to see Pedretti as an empathetic observer in an era of hyper-reactionary entertainment. It’s reassuring to meet an actor who studies and absorbs the material she’s given in order to re-materialize it, adding gravitas to the original work.

“The thing about being an actor is that nobody tells you what you’re supposed to do,” Pedretti confides. “You kind of define that for yourself. Nobody is going into your journal, checking your notes. It’s on you. You decide what that means to you. And to me, my responsibility as an actor is to bring characters to life. Not stereotypes. Not tropes. But to bring true human people to life so that audiences can have their own relationship with them. That’s all.”

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