Stephanie Leigh Schlund is a fierce competitor, both on and off-screen. Her dedication to her art is palpable as she tells us not only where she started, but where she is right now and where she is going. So it comes as no surprise that she was cast as one of the most ferocious female contenders of the annual Hunger Games in the upcoming film, Catching Fire. And this girl definitely doesn’t lack fire. With her undeniable beauty, unstoppable passion and unmatched energy, Schlund is the complete package among young Hollywood. This total knock-out is on the rise and we’re happy to have caught her on the way up.
Cliché: First of all congratulations on landing the role of Cashmere in Catching Fire.
Stephanie Leigh Schlund: Thank you!
The Hunger Games franchise has a huge following. Did you celebrate after getting the part?
Yes, I celebrated with a grilled chicken breast and broccoli! I was in Mexico when I booked the role. My family was there celebrating my dad’s birthday. I went back to the room because I had a feeling like I needed to check my phone. It’s been off all week long. I turned it on, and I sat there and checked my voicemails and text messages that had piled up—nothing new or exciting. So I thought, “Okay you’re losing you mind here.” When I attempted to turn my phone off, it rang. It was my agent telling me that I had booked the role of Cashmere. I immediately went back to the beach, and I told my family, “Guys! Guess what? I just booked the role of Cashmere!” My sister replied with, “Yeah, and I’m Katniss.” They didn’t believe me! They thought I was just playing with them! I was like, “No guys, I’m really serious.”
I had been tipped off from my agent previously that, if I were to book this role, it would definitely entail a lot of physical training. I was a ballerina and figure skater growing up, so I’ve always had a very lean physique, but I’ve never been one with big muscles. I knew I’d have to bulk up for the role. So the day that I found out that I booked it, I immediately started eating high protein and low carbs. That’s how I celebrated.
Oh man! No nonsense!
No! I kept the secret of being cast for a month before they announced me. Before we started training, I had about three or four months to get into perfect shape for the role. So there was no time for nonsense; it was game time!
And what was the audition process like?
I auditioned and then I got a call back. In the call back you sit and meet with the director. I knew what I would have to do, to a certain extent, but the rest of it is up to the director’s discretion. He can pull anything out of that hat and ask you to do it. You have to think on your feet. So I went in and I did what I had prepared. Then he pulled one on me and told me to come up with something that I totally wasn’t expecting. I did it, I gave it everything I had and I walked out the room knowing that I either booked it or he thought I was completely crazy.
Right before I walked into the room there was a girl obviously going out for the same role as I. She walked in the room, was in there for about a minute and she walked out hysterically crying. I just sat in the corner and was like, “Oh God! What’s going on in that room?” And then someone opens the door and says, “Stephanie Leigh, you’re up next!” I was like, “Oh great, here we go!”
For readers who aren’t familiar with the series, tell us a little bit about your character.
She is a former victor from District One, and she and her brother Gloss reenter the 75th Quarter Quell. She is not necessarily a girl’s best friend. She’s very good at mass manipulation 101 and she uses that in her interview to try and win over the crowd. She’s also been trained from birth to compete in the games, so she is a hardcore killer. She and her brother take a lot of pleasure in that. She’s not one to mess with.
For the full interview, check out our Oct/Nov 2013 issue!
Feature image courtesy of Joe Deangelis.