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Interview: Gaby Hoffmann talks Goodbye World

We spoke with Gaby Hoffmann (Crystal Fairy, Girls) about her role as the complicated heroine Laura in Goodbye World, post-apocalyptic life, Dorothy Day, watching Kid Cudi discover the joys of acting and her transition from child to adult actor.

How did you prepare for the role of Laura?

I don’t do much to prepare to be honest, it just hasn’t ever been a part of my approach. Maybe that will change. But you know I think a lot of the character but not any sort of formula for a specific approach for thinking about them. But I don’t actually apply much of that when I’m working at least not consciously.

With Laura I really had no idea who she was until I just started being her. Sometimes I have much more of a grasp on who I think a character is and it usually changes once I start saying their words but it was really quick the process like I think I got the call about the movie one week before I left and we didn’t have any rehearsal so I just had to dive in anyway. Really fun to play

She just sort if came to me the second I opened my mouth and I found her really fun to play and decidedly more complicated than I had originally seen her.

If a similar apocalyptic situation occurred in real life what are some of the things that you would miss the most?

Besides people?

Yes.

I’m not attached to very much in the material world I know that sounds cheesy but I don’t like to indulge in a lot of luxurious stuff so food is the thing I think. Food and wine probably.

If this apocalypse prevented you from continuing to act what would you be doing right now?

Well if I was living in a post-apocalyptic world I would imagine I wouldn’t really need a job.

I spend a lot of time living up in the country, in the middle of nowhere just sort of living. Cooking and building fires in the wood stove and maintain the property and just literally living and cleaning. So I’m kind of used to just surviving. I mean obviously it’s not a post-apocalyptic world.

I’m pretty good a just enjoying myself doing very little.

What are your personal thoughts on “Living off the Grid”?

I think living off the grid is really interesting. We don’t live off the grid but we certainly live on the edge of the grid, sort of. In part of the year and in the other part of the year we live completely in the grid, in Brooklyn.

I’m very drawn to a minimal state of livelihood and being removed and isolated in the country and having as little as you really need in terms of electronics.

Laura clearly admires George Washington. Is there a specific historical figure that you admire from American or world history?

There was a woman named Dorothy Day. She’s a bit more contemporary than George Washington. She was born in 1900, she died in the 80s. She was a socialist fighter in the 20s, a radical and she – I’m not religious myself – became a devout Catholic. She sort of had an awakening in her 20s and she devoted her life to the poor. She started the Catholic Worker Movement. I only had a very complicated relationship to Catholicism because the church is corrupt. But she was a true, true Christian and devoted her life to the poor and maintained her radical, political agenda.

Her devotion to helping others in need is the reason she’s a hero of mine.

Since most of your characters are quite off-beat (Crystal Fairy, Caroline) do you find that people expect you to be similar in real life?

Yeah, I guess some people have said to me over the years, “Wow you’re not as crazy as I would have thought”, but I don’t really know what peoples impressions of me are.

I really liked the romance between your character Laura and Lev. What was it like working with Scott Mescudi (Kid Cudi)?

It was exciting working with Scott because he had just started acting and he’s like a genius performer. Obviously he’s very successful and confident in his music but it was sort of great and fun to see him discover himself as an actor.

Was there a time when transitioning from being a child actor to an adult actor was difficult or frustrating?

I pretty much took 10 years off. I went to college when I was 17 and really didn’t think I would act again. I wasn’t really interested in it. It wasn’t something that I had pursued as a child it just sort of happened to me and I enjoyed making movies but I had always planned that when I was older I would go to college. I thought I was a teacher really.

Then I decided to really turn to it and take it seriously and see how it felt and I did and I discovered that I really loved it.