Love Lies Bleeding Takes The ‘Strong Female Character’ Trope Literally: ‘There’s Something Punk About A Really Muscular Woman’ – Exclusive Image

Love Lies Bleeding

by Ben Travis |
Published on

If we learned anything from Saint Maud, it’s that director Rose Glass doesn’t compromise. Her debut feature was an assault on the senses, a swirling psychological horror that knew how and when to bring the pain. And now, she’s following it up with Love Lies Bleeding – taking a step away from the scares from her first feature, and moving into romance-fuelled revenge-thriller territory. Caught up in a bind of blood, bullets, and bodybuilding is Kristen Stewart’s gym owner Lou, who falls for the super-buff Jackie – played by Katy O’Brian, a recent standout in The Mandalorian. Their love for each other sparks a powder keg of violence, not helped by the fact that Lou’s family is deep in illegal dealings.

For Glass, her second film was a chance to puncture Hollywood’s laziest ideas of the ‘strong female character’ by taking that cliche extremely literally. “Binaries are a bit boring,” the filmmaker says. “It’s all very fertile ground to play with, doing something about a female bodybuilder. It shouldn’t be that shocking to see somebody who looks like these two do in a film – but there’s still something quite punk about a really muscular woman.” And when she saw O’Brian, she instantly knew that she’d found her Jackie. “I’ve done bodybuilding competitions,” the actor tells Empire. “I know what it’s like to want to achieve something. The diet and nutrition and exercises, seeing the change in your body, having that focus and discipline – I was really drawn to that.”

That punk energy of Glass and her performers found its way into everything that Love Lies Bleeding would become. “We are constantly watching movies about women triumphing over oppressive forces because we’re somehow ethically or morally superior,” says Stewart. “It’s like, ‘No, fuck that. I’m so sick of that. I’m so sick of that fucking movie.’ And so this one just felt like we were allowed to pull our dress over our head and run down the street, use the boys’ toys and shove them in their faces – and then also be like, ‘We’re nothing like you.’” Prepare to get seriously pumped up.

Empire – April 2024 – Star Wars Prequels covers

Read Empire’s full Love Lies Bleeding feature – speaking to Rose Glass, Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian – in the Star Wars prequels 25th anniversary issue, on sale Thursday 15 February. Love Lies Bleeding comes to UK cinemas from 3 May.

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