Haley Bennett has flipped a couple of ATVs in her day. In fact, it turns out she wreaked a fair amount of havoc as a kid. So much so that she proffers that she would've made a pretty good Harley Quinn.
But, since Quinn and the bat**t-sexy pigtails of "Suicide Squad" are Margot Robbie's thing already, Bennett is settling for a spot in every movie this fall. "The Magnificent Seven" (basically "The Fast and the Furious" on horses, with better acting), "The Girl on the Train" (as in the perpetually best-selling book), and Warren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply," three movies that boast a roster of co-stars—Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Chris Pratt—who could headline a “Hi, I'm Hot and Famous” party.
With her puckish charisma, Bennett is becoming a similarly bold face and name, even if people don't actually know what that name is or mistake that face for someone else's.
What was life like growing up in Ohio?
I lived somewhat of a nomadic life even when I lived in Ohio. We spent time in rural areas, in suburban areas, never really city areas. We rode four-wheelers. We had pigs and ferrets. And creeks. We had a creek in my backyard. It was like "Huckleberry Finn."
What does one do for fun in small town Ohio?
Mostly we would spend time with family. That was the small-time values. We would go to my aunt's house and my grandma's house. My grandfather was always planting roses and we would go fishing. We would cook together, or my grandmother would cook for all the grandchildren. So I’d spend time with cousins and we would just lay outside, which I feel like is a lost art: laying outside.
And what were you like growing up?
I was kind of a tomboy for awhile. It's tough to explain because I grew up with my mom and my dad simultaneously but separately because they weren't together. So I kind of get femininity from my mother and boyishness from my dad. He loved fishing, he loves hunting, he loves boating, and football, baseball, and basketball. So that really saturated my life. And then my mother was very soft and also strong, but more of an artist. So I kind of had the best of both worlds.
Paint me a picture of peak-tomboy Haley Bennett.
[laughs] I tried to play sports, which was a disaster and probably one of the reasons I ended up being an actress. [I was] totally uncoordinated. My peak-tomboy era? Hm. My dad banned me from doing anything like wearing make-up or wearing certain clothes. I think I just gave up on trying to be girly. I wasn't getting any boyfriends. That's for sure. I went through a really dorky phase. I had very crooked teeth and a really bad haircut and no boobs. I was just riding four-wheelers and catching tadpoles in the creek. Probably 6th or 7th grade was my Tomboy-est.
I’m surprised you scared boys away with the four-wheelers…
I flipped a couple four-wheelers. I probably almost killed myself.
How many times did you flip a four-wheeler?!
One time that I remember in particular [was] when I was in 6th grade and I thought I was going to die. And then, the second time I flipped a four-wheeler—well, almost flipped the four-wheeler, I didn't actually flip the four-wheeler—I was with director of "Girl on the Train" Tate Taylor, when I first met him in Mississippi. But I didn't actually flip it.
Wait. Hold on. Tell me about the first time you almost flipped a four-wheeler, the one where you almost died. You can’t just say that and not tell the story.
[laughs] I wasn't supposed to be riding the four-wheeler when my dad was at work. But every day after school I would come home and sneak the four-wheeler out and ride around in the woods. And one day I was with my best friend and she was on the back, and I flipped it. I was going really fast. I was less concerned about myself and more concerned with getting caught because the handlebar got bent. So I was really concerned not about my well-being [from the crash] but about my well-being if I got caught flipping the four-wheeler cause I wasn't even supposed to be on it.
Were you okay? Was your friend?
My friend was fine. I was fine. don't really remember if I got in trouble. I probably definitely got in trouble. I can't imagine getting away with that. [laughs] That, or I had super powers and bent it back. I might have actually, just for the sake of survival, somehow bent it back to the place it was supposed to be.
You tried to sell yourself as this laying-in-the-grass nice girl. But you were causing some trouble, clearly.
I got into some trouble as a kid. [laughs]