Haley Bennett Talks About "Music and Lyrics"

Haley Bennett
Haley Bennett. Wikimedia Commons

Haley Bennett makes her feature film debut in the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore and written/directed by Marc Lawrence. Bennett only moved to Los Angeles a year ago from her parents’ home in Naples, Florida, and immediately enrolled herself in acting classes. As fortune would have it, Bennett wound up landing the crucial role of pop star/Britney clone Cora Corman in Music and Lyrics - one of the first auditions she went to.

Bennett had the chance to learn from two veteran actors who willingly helped her through her first film. Talk about lucking out on your first movie!

Tackling Challenging Scenes: Haley Bennett says the very first scene she filmed required her to writhe all over the floor, which was a little difficult to do right off the bat. “My mother and my stepfather were there and I had to tell them to leave. But I practiced it so much and let me tell you it is really strange practicing that dance alone in your bedroom. You're like thinking, ‘Whoa, I'm losing it right now.’ Crawling on the floor, you really think you're strange at that point. [My character is] totally into it, I'm sure. I think deep down she has loads of insecurity but we won't go into that.”

Bennett added, “I was apologizing for everything that Cora does [that] because I was just so embarrassed at myself, and then I sort of had to put myself in a certain mind state, telling myself that it wasn't me.

And I'd had many many talks with Danny Karaty, the choreographer, who had said, ‘Put yourself in another place. This isn't you. To pull this off you have to go all out and go for it.’ It was interesting.”

The Outfits Get Skimpier as the Film Goes On: The outfits may have shocked her parents at first but, according to Bennett, they did eventually get used to them.

Asked how she handled revealing so much of herself in her first feature film, Bennett replied, “You know, I think that they inched me up to it (laughing). I think I got more comfortable, especially because I had to lose weight. I think to be in those outfits you had to feel that you were in good shape, and feel good and healthy about yourself. So as time progressed, I got more comfortable in my own skin, I think. It was somewhat of a growing experience.”

Bennett says the weight loss was important in order to fit in with the pop stars, dancers and singers out there who are physically active all the time. “All those girls, they're thin and muscular and dancing every single day."

Working with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant: “I can't even describe into words how grateful I am,” exclaimed Bennett. “And even that they gave me this opportunity… I think that they were really inspiring me. They also taught me a lot and to work with such amazing actors that I have looked up to was groundbreaking for me. It was just so surreal. Drew was sort of the mentor to me when I was on set.”

Reflecting on Her First Feature Film: “I think that's what the sort of whole business of acting is about: to stretch yourself beyond your limits.

When I watch the movie, I really don't see myself, which is really kind of strange because I read a lot of interviews and a lot of people saying it's hard to not see themselves. But when I watch the movie, I don't see myself.”

Starring in a Music Video: Writer/director Lawrence revealed there will be a music video of one of Bennett’s songs from the film on the Music and Lyrics DVD. What can viewers expect in that video? Bennett replied, “The dancers are really hot. Me not so much… There's a lot of really cool dancing. You can look forward to the dancing. The dancers are so amazingly talented.”

There’s More Music in Haley Bennett’s Future: Bennett plans on putting out a CD as soon as possible. “I'm meeting with record labels right now,” said Bennett. “I have 17 of my own songs that I've written, co-written.

I have the album ready so I'd love to get picked up by a record label. Hopefully, if I'm fortunate enough for that. Hopefully this movie is sort of a catalyst.”

Bennett says she’s going to continue to pursue acting and singing. “I'm passionate about both and if you go about it the right way, I think it's possible to incorporate both of them into a very successful career. I mean, look at Barbra Streisand and Madonna.”