TORONTO — Brie Larson has been a singer-songwriter, a writer and director, and has acted on TV and in a slew of films, most notably "Room," for which she won an Oscar.
But the new slapstick comedy "Free Fire" marked her first chance to indulge in some real rough-and-tumble action.
She plays tough-as-nails Justine, who brokers a guns deal between two gangs in Boston, circa 1978. She gets caught up in a shootout that unfolds over a period of hours in a warehouse.
"It was a new experience for me," Larson said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where "Free Fire" made its world premiere.
"I'd never done anything like that before, so I was amazed by the whole process and was ready to throw myself onto the ground and get tons of bruises and not ask for padding — because I didn't know that that's something that you're supposed to do. But I had an amazing time.
"Most of the work that I had done up to that point was more intellectual, more in your head and this was very physical and I enjoyed that experience. It was more about the physicality than about the words I was saying."
Larson is quickly becoming a veteran of the action genre.
She recently starred with Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson in "Kong: Skull Island" and will play Captain Marvel in "Avengers: Infinity War," due out next year. Larson is then set to star in "Captain Marvel" in 2019, which is expected to be the first Marvel film with a female lead.
Director and co-writer Ben Wheatley said "Room" hadn't come out yet when he cast Larson, and having her as one of the film's stars "looks like an incredible stroke of cleverness but it was just luck."
"I've never been that close to someone who went from doing well to doing amazingly. It was really cool to watch it," said Wheatley.
Larson described her "Free Fire" role as "sort of a meditation on power, masculinity, the way that we instead of using words can choose violence."
"She's, from the very beginning, trying to keep things calm and is trying to keep the lid on it, keep the lid on it and finally it just explodes," said Larson, a Sacramento, Calif., native.
"Then she's somehow in the middle of the situation that she didn't want to be in and is trying to survive and fight for her life at the end of it."
"Free Fire" hits theatres on Friday.
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Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press