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Mackenzie Davis resists typecasting in 'Irresistible'

Mackenzie Davis chose the comedy Irresistible after the action movie Terminator: Dark Fate to avoid repeating herself. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Mackenzie Davis chose the comedy "Irresistible" after the action movie "Terminator: Dark Fate" to avoid repeating herself. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, June 26 (UPI) -- Since her feature film debut as a supporting character in the 2012 alcoholism drama Smashed, Mackenzie Davis has avoided repeating herself in roles. Part of that, she says, is a consequence of sheer exhaustion.

Coming off her role in Terminator: Dark Fate, in which she played a technologically enhanced fighter from the future, Davis felt she could not do another action-heavy role. Her subsequent films were the horror movie The Turning, which came out Jan. 24, and the comedy Irresistible, which is on video-on-demand Friday.

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"I've given all the physical stuff I can give for a while," Davis told UPI in a phone interview Monday. "Please, let me do a comedy or a very small drama because I have no more muscles for this for a little while."

Davis was in Ireland filming The Turning when Irresistible writer-director Jon Stewart Skyped with her. In Stewart's political satire, campaign strategist Gary Zimmer (Steve Carell) sees an opportunity to revitalize the Democratic Party in fictional Deerlaken, Wis.

Col. Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) gives an impassioned speech at a local town hall that goes viral. Zimmer persuades him to run for mayor, believing he can unseat incumbent Mayor Braun (Brent Sexton). Davis plays Hastings' daughter, Diana.

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"She's analyzing situations and trying to understand what exactly they've allowed into their lives," Davis said. "She takes such a stoic, observational role."

Diana works on the Hastings farm, representing the kind of small-town folks Gary hopes to re-engage in the political process. She is introduced with her arm inside a cow but assured concerned animal lovers that the cow was safe.

"It's only fair to the cow to not have a novice poking around inside her," Davis said. "I think it's only respectful to give the cow a break on that."

Davis received a real taste of small-town life while filming in Rockmart, Ga., and at the farm in Rome, Ga. She said the residents came to watch them film and welcomed them, just like the town of Deerlaken welcomes Gary and his D.C. political team.

"This group of outsiders comes in and takes over a town and then leaves all of a sudden," Davis said. "It was a strange parallel."

As different as Davis' roles have been, the closest she's come to being typecast might have been a series of three science-fiction projects. She starred in The Martian in 2015, the Black Mirror episode "San Junipero" in 2016 and Blade Runner 2049 in 2017.

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Her roles in each still were quite different. She played an astronaut on a Mars crew in The Martian, an avatar in a virtual reality in "San Junipero" and a replicant freedom fighter in Blade Runner.

Davis said she accepted offers to work with each director or showrunner regardless of the similarities in genre. Ridley Scott directed The Martian and Denis Villeneuve Blade Runner 2049. Charlie Brooker created Black Mirror.

"The fact that they're all sci-fi is the least important thing of all of them," Davis said. "It was the creators and the opportunity."

Irresistible offered Davis another change of pace from her previous roles and the chance to work with a director she admired. It is Stewart's second film. He directed Rosewater in 2014, the story of Maziar Bahari's detainment by Iranian interrogators who mistook his Daily Show appearance for an admission of spying.

"He's a comedian, so he has a really sharp focus on tone and performance," Davis said. "[He] could come in between takes and notice that on this line you were thinking of something else."

Between 2014 and 2017, Davis also starred on AMC's drama Halt and Catch Fire, playing a computer programmer in the 1980s. She said she had to turn down roles that were too similar after the show ended.

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"I felt, not typecast, but they were like, 'Oh yeah, we know this girl who has a blonde pixie cut and types mysteriously on a computer. She'll be perfect." Davis said. "I already did that. I don't want to do that again."

Davis also was grateful so many of her movies featured female relationships. In Tully, she played a nighttime nanny to Charlize Theron's exhausted mother. Terminator saw her teaming up with Linda Hamilton to protect a female savior of the future.

She'd rather portray female relationships, whether romantic or platonic, than a thankless love interest role.

"The 25-year-old wife to a 50-year-old man hasn't come up in my career as much as it may for somebody else," Davis said. "I've been locked out of the ingenue wife roles."

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