“Goofy” seems like such an old-fashioned word, but after a 30-minute conversation with Haley Lu Richardson, we felt it was the most apropos adjective to describe the 21-year-old—that and “delightfully, disarmingly unaffected.” This is one young
actress who is not “cool,” and she’s not even pretending otherwise. Case in point: Within 30 seconds of our getting Richardson on the phone, she’s laughing as she tells the story of her ill-fated tenure on the high-school track team. “It was my first race at my first meet,” she recalls. “I looked behind me to see if anyone was catching up to me…and then I just dove into the ground and did like five somersaults. I finished rolling a few inches from the finish line. I sat there criss-cross apple sauce as all these people ran by me.”
Richardson, an Arizona native, has lived in Los Angeles since she was 16, wedging her foot in the door with momentum-building-type roles such as a lead part on the short-lived TV show Ravenswood, a critically acclaimed turn in indie film The Bronze and most recently as Hailee Steinfeld’s BFF in the buzzy The Edge of Seventeen.
“Slow and steady wins the race,” she says of her career thus far. “I see people who work really hard and don’t get a break until they’re 50, and then I see people who book the first thing they audition for and then get really busy and overworked and burned out.”
Next stop on that path? A lead role in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, Split, out now. “I thought you were supposed to call him ‘M. Night,’ so in all my emails to him and on the phone before we met I was calling him that,” says Richardson of working with the director best known for The Sixth Sense…who goes by “Night.” “I was an idiot.”
In the film, Richardson plays a woman abducted by a man with dissoci-ative identity disorder. If this sounds a bit like 2015’s Oscar-nominated Room…. “It’s very different,” protests Richardson, unfortunately hamstrung by not wanting to give away the twist. “It’s really cool and creepy.”
When she’s not on-set, Richardson says she can be found “eating and crocheting”—usually at the same time. “Right after a meal I’m full, and then I burp and it kind of releases and I’m hungry again,” she says. “And I crochet pretty much all the time too. I always bring my yarn on-set.” (In fact, she stocks an Etsy store, called Hooked by Haley Lu, with her handicrafts.)
If you’re wondering about the “Lu” in her name, so is she. “I honestly don’t know why, but my dad came up with it,” she says. Like Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas? “Exactly!” she says. “I kind of look like her because I’ve got one of those noses with a ball at the end. If they do a remake, I could definitely play her.”
M. Night Shyamalan’s “Split” has turned into a horror hit with a surprisingly strong $40.2 million in its opening weekend at 3,038 North American locations.
“Split,” starring James McAvoy as a man with 24 different personalities, performed far above recent expectations for Universal and Blumhouse. It easily topped the 2015 launch of Shyamalan’s found-footage horror movie “The Visit,” which scored an opening weekend of $25.4 million.
“Having M. Night Shyamalan’s name on the title means a lot, because his fan base is so devoted,” noted Universal’s domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou. “He’s the master of the plot twist.”
Carpou noted that “Split” showed plenty of drawing power in all demographics with the 52% of the audience being female and 52% under 25 and should perform well in coming weeks. “As a psychological thriller, this should have a lot of playability,” he added.
“Split” doubled Vin Diesel’s launch of “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” which is heading for a second-place finish for Paramount with $20 million at 3,651 sites — in line with recent forecasts. Fox’s historical drama “Hidden Figures” maintained its impressive performance in third with $16.3 million at 3,416 theaters for a domestic total of $84.2 million.
Actress Haley Lu Richardson
On Nightly Routines, Barre Workouts & French Toast
Haley Lu Richardson is the kind of woman we want as our new best friend. We’re not exaggerating when we say that her ideal food day matches up perfectly with our’s (She even makes us want to start taking regular barre classes). We sat down with the up-and-comer to get the scoop on her new movie, Split (from the amazing M. Night Shyamalan), her favorite on-set snacks, and nightly routines. Read below for more from Richardson; she’s officially an honorary Potatohead…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Oh my God, this is the best question I’ve ever been asked. I’m so passionate about food.
For breakfast, I’d go all out and make two fried eggs with sweet potatoes (diced really small so they get crispy) and bacon. Also, I’d make a side of stuffed French toast filled with cream cheese and berries!
Then, I would take an hour to digest and eat some sort of sushi for lunch. I love eel.
After that, I would probably just keep snacking all night until I fell asleep. My boyfriend makes these amazing roasted beans on a cookie sheet in the oven, so I’d have about three cans of that. Then some goat cheese and wine. If I get really hungry later I’d go to some steakhouse and order crab and lobster mac n cheese.
That just made me so hungry.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
I really do think the better you feel the better you look, not the other way around. So, I just try to not focus on the outer stuff and just do things that make me happy! I feel like I’d be miserable if I had to lift weights under the fluorescent lights at the gym every day, so I do things like dancing and hiking, which makes me sweat, but more importantly make me a happier person.
What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?
My friends have always made fun of me for having such a specific nightly routine! Even in high school if we would come home in the middle of the night and be sleeping at a friend’s house everyone would just pass out with their makeup on and I was that one kid who had a huge organized toiletry bag with my retainer, electric tooth brush, special toothpaste “for sensitive gums” and all my facial products.
I have been using the same products since I was twelve. I really love the oil-free Olay moisturizer, it also has sunscreen in it. I used to think that the more lotion I put on, the more oily I would get and the more zits I would get. But, I figured out that the more lotion I use the more my skin doesn’t feel like it has to overcompensate for the dryness and I don’t break out as much. I use coconut oil now too – you can use that stuff for everything.
What is a beauty mainstay that hasn’t changed since your teen years? Are there any beauty products you can’t live without?
I had my braces removed in 8th grade and I pretty much have worn my retainer every night since then. I swear I’m going to be eighty-five and still using that same one. It has the Beatles on the plastic part.
What are some of your go-to workouts? Workouts you find overrated?
I did competitive dance for ten years before I moved to LA so that is definitely still a big part of my life and how I stay healthy. I go to this place called Cardiobarre, which is a ballet inspired workout class with no impact. I have a couple of injuries from dance so I’m really thankful for that place.
How did you prep for your role in Split?
There honestly wasn’t much prep time because Night was really secretive, and I didn’t get the script until after I had accepted the role. By that time, we were filming in a couple of weeks. When you are doing a movie as crazy and intense as this, with a director as specific and experienced as Night, you just have to know your character inside and out and then show up and go with it.
The Split trailer has us totally spooked – Was shooting ever scary?
I never felt scared doing any of the scenes. Everyone around you makes it very clear you’re in good hands and you feel safe. But when the stakes are that high and you’re working against an actor that is so in it like James [McAvoy], it does feel pretty real. There were moments when I was off camera for someone’s eye line and at the end of the take I would be crying because I was so affected by everyone’s acting and the world we were living in.
What was it like working with M. Night Shyamalan?
Night is the first director I’ve done a movie with that has so much prior experience. He is an honest director who knows what he wants and gives specific directions.
How do you always start your day? What’s your go-to breakfast?
I try not to look at my phone first thing in the morning. I’m working this year on being less brainwashed by those things. I always drink a huge glass of water in the morning and either make a peanut butter smoothie or eggs.
Where do you love to travel? What won’t you travel without?
I love traveling with my boyfriend; it’s the best. Wherever we are we always want to do the same things and see the same places, so it’s like traveling alone but a lot more fun. I love nature and seeing different spots of the actual earth – not just a bunch of concrete and bricks.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I think the best advice is to just remember everything passes. You can and will get through anything – which automatically makes you feel strong and capable.
You didn’t like X until you tried Y….
I didn’t like Birkenstocks until I tried Birkenstocks.
In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?
Having a butt and thighs AMEN.
Split behind-the-scenes interview with Haley Lu Richardson
Universal Pictures has released a new trailer for SPLIT! Check it out below:
Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns to the captivating grip of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs with Split, an original thriller that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind. Following last year’s breakout hit The Visit, Shyamalan reunites with producer Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series, The Gift) for the film.
While the mental divisions of those with dissociative identity disorder have long fascinated and eluded science, it is believed that some can also manifest unique physical attributes for each personality, a cognitive and physiological prism within a single being.
Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.
For Split, Shyamalan and Blum reassemble their core team from The Visit, the No. 1-grossing horror film of 2015. Their fellow collaborators include producer Marc Bienstock and executive producers Ashwin Rajan and Steven Schneider.