Maika Monroe Online | Maika-Monroe.Org
Welcome to Maika-Monroe.Org your #1 fansite for the beautiful and talented actress. Most recently known for playing Patricia Whitmore in Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) and previously known for playing Jay in It Follows (2014) and Anna in The Guest (2014) but you may also know her from her work in Labor Day (2013) and At Any Price (2012). Maika also starred as Ringer in The 5th Wave (2016) last year, and up next Maika will star in Felt (2017) with Liam Neeson and I'm not Here (2017) with J.K. Simmons. Please browse and visit our image gallery while we will continue to bring you daily Maika updates xoxo
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Maika Monroe is patient with me. My iPhone 5 is on its last legs, liberally censoring an already stilted conversation between two strangers (three if you include her manager). Monroe’s voice is cool
and self-assured, with a shade of sweetness that fluctuates somewhere between hesitation and modesty. Perhaps this is an adaptation of 
media training, a way to circumvent the extraneous prying questions of another caffeine-addled journalist on a 10 a.m. call. The sweetness feels a little evasive at times, but maybe she’s shy. Or maybe she’s a genuinely kind person, and amidst my phone-fumbling anxiety, I am reading too much into it. I catch ev-ry oth-r w-rd as her voice crackles in and out, so I spastically swing my arm around until I find that sharply angled sweet spot between AT&T and outer space. When I hit it, her voice erupts into the room with alarming clarity—“My mom is a sign language interpreter and my dad is a general contractor, so they are really far away from anything in the arts.” Thank god. She’s still at the beginning. I only missed the previews.

At fourteen years old, Santa Barbara-native Monroe was taking dance classes while in hot pursuit of a career as a professional kite- boarder. But when the casting directors for Bad Blood (a schlocky horror flick with a nearly un-findable IMDB page) contacted Monroe’s dance studio requesting teenage extras that could swing dance, she found herself suddenly positioned on a new trajectory. “It was one of those moments in your life that changes everything. You’re on one path—at least it seems like you are—and then a moment changes everything.” She was quickly hooked on moviemaking. “We got to see all the fake gore. It was fascinating to watch. I would hang out with the director 
and watch the monitors, and I thought it was so cool. After that, I was like, ‘Oh, I want to try to do this!’” So Monroe gave it a try. A handful of years later, she found herself at Cannes Film Festival for her lead performance as Jay in the acclaimed indie horror hit It Follows.

Although Bad Blood was her first taste of acting, Monroe was no stranger to the world of cinema. As a daughter of a film-buff dad, she was watching Kubrick films long before getting her driver’s permit. Unlike myself, who walked away from The Shining with a newfound fear of bathtubs, Monroe came away with a lifelong crush on Jack Nicholson. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was really influential to me. I remember seeing that and thinking, ‘Oh my god! This is insane!’” Her performances in the horror films It Follows and The Guest resulted in her coronation as a ‘scream queen’ by film critics. Her fluency in the horror genre may be, in part, influenced by her lifelong study of Nicholson, of his charming composure that masks Rube-Goldberg-esque machinations of madness—the barometer of said madness being best measured in the degree of his pointed eyebrows. Although her roles so far might align her with the Shelley Duvall camp of 
the female character fleeing in terror from an evil force, she adopts
 a more Nicholsonian approach in her performances: a composure 
and determination that adds agency to what would otherwise be the “screaming damsel” role.

Ten years ago, the title of “scream queen” would have been a something of a backhanded compliment. With most horror films occupying the “cheap thrills” seat in the cinema canon, genre-actors were often subject to a double standard, where an otherwise strong performance might be seen as campy or amateurish because of the perception of horror as being somehow lowbrow. Even The Shining was panned by many critics when it was released—Nicholson’s performance was called “idiotic,” Duvall was lambasted as a “semi-retarded hysteric,” and Kubrick’s vision was accused of “cheapening” King’s original story. After It Follows became one of the rare horror films to earn a place at Cannes, the tides began to change—now, horror is invading the art house indie scene. Monroe is fortunate to be unbound by the antiquated criticism of horror, but her ascent has not been without its obstacles. “I definitely feel that there’s a double standard in Hollywood. I remember people telling me that for women, you have to make it by the time you’re 25, while for men it kind of doesn’t really matter. I always thought that was so frustrating that people would say that to me. So many times in movies a guy is 40 and the girl that he’s dating is 20. It’s annoying.” Amen. Remember Mrs. Robinson? That iconic, lusty cougar played by Anne Bancroft in The Graduate? Bancroft was 36 and Dustin Hoffman (playing a recent college graduate) was 30 years old. So, here’s to you Mrs. Robinson.

“Acting is everybody’s favorite second job.” Another truism from the book of Nicholson. At
seventeen, while she was still 
flirting with the idea of acting, Monroe moved to the Dominican Republic to pursue a career as a professional kite-boarder. But when she landed the starring role of Mandy in Labor Day, she was forced to choose between her first and second favorite job. Ultimately, the seduction of Hollywood drew her back to the golden coast. Although she left the world of kite-boarding, her disciplined athleticism is one of her greatest assets as an actress. She performs the majority of her own stunts in action films like 2016’s Independence Day: Resurgence, the surfing film The Tribe of Palos Verdes, and the Netflix sci-fi thriller Tau—roles that have brought her right to the cusp of household-name stardom. Her IMDB page sports an impressive 27 films, with seven stacked to release in 2018-19 alone. So what can we look forward to? A drama entitled Greta co- starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert. A stylized home invasion thriller called Villains alongside fellow horror It-boy Bill Skarsgård. She also touches upon Shia LaBeouf’s new film, Honey Boy—a masturbatory, delightfully Freudian project in which LaBeouf plays his own father and Lucas Hedges plays a young Shia. I sincerely can’t wait.

In her most recent film, 
Monroe was cast as the Cape Cod 
heart-throb McKayla Strawberry in A24’s Hot Summer Nights. The film is a genre-spanning, early ’90s period piece following the lives of teenagers in the summer months before Hurricane Bob. The pathetic fallacy of 
the eminent hurricane serves as the backdrop for protagonist Daniel (Timothée Chalamet), who gets in over his head dealing weed with the roguishly handsome neighborhood bad-boy Hunter Strawberry (Alex Roe). Hunter, like most machismo-driven grease monkeys, is wholly insensitive, yet hyper-protective of his younger sister McKayla, who Daniel inevitably falls for. The story is told in the style of the The Virgin Suicides: an unseen adolescent boy narrates the film’s action with the nostalgic fanfare of suburban legend. Older teens are deities. The line is blurred between truth and fiction.

We all knew a McKayla Strawberry, a girl whose small-town mythology gave her the aura of celebrity. In one scene, McKayla sticks her gum to the underside of a mailbox. As soon as her back is turned, a local boy eagerly peels it off and puts it in his mouth. How do you embody such a magnetic character? In Monroe’s opinion, it was about understanding McKayla’s vulnerabilities. “There are glimpses of the character when she talks about her past, and for me, if I lost my mom at the age of 12 or 13, it would really change who I am right now… there’s a certain toughness, and a sense of just growing up too fast.” So vulnerability is the key to aura? Vulnerability seems like half an answer: it’s too passive, too safe. There is an active ingredient in her performance that she doesn’t address. In a defining scene between Monroe and Chalamet, Daniel is sucking on a red lollipop when he 
runs into McKayla in the aisle of a hardware store. With the cinematic fanfare of Phoebe Cates emerging from the pool in Fast Times, the slow motion camera closes in on McKayla’s face as she takes the lollipop out of Daniel’s mouth, gives it a prolonged suck while starring straight down the barrel of the camera, and puts it right back in his mouth. “When we filmed it, I wasn’t even looking at Timo, just our DP Javier. It wasn’t sexy or cool at all.”

Lollipops aside, we discuss the unmistakable chemistry among the cast of Hot Summer Nights. Filming in Atlanta with the entire cast living in a house together, “it felt like summer camp.” A unique aspect of the production: everyone who worked on the film—cast, producer, and director—were all under thirty while filming. Directing his debut film, Elijah Bynum was actually only one-year-old during the year in which the film takes place. Between Stranger Things, It, and Hot Summer Nights—what is the millennial fascination for the ’80s and ’90s? Why do we have nostalgia for a time period we didn’t live in? “For me, the biggest thing that has happened in
 this generation is technology. 
It makes me miss a time of sending letters. Just always being connected, and all this information is so immediate. 
I think about being in a time where you read the newspaper and if you’re in a relationship and you go on a trip you can’t text and talk all the time. I don’t know if it’s that way for everyone, but it seems like such a huge change that we’ve had.” With smartphones in existence, modern story telling lacks the suspense and mystique 
at the core of all comedy and tragedy. Would we have a third act of Romeo and Juliet if the Friar could SMS our star-crossed lover about his roofied young bride? If James Caan’s character inMisery had “find your friends” on his iPhone? 
If the killers in Scream had caller ID? “I totally agree, it’s too easy!” Monroe laughs as
 we lament the loss of narrative intrigue through good ol’ fashioned miscommunication. I smile to myself, reminded of the technological difficulties
 at the top of our conversation. Maybe our miscommunications added just a shade of intrigue to an otherwise uneventfully pleasant exchange? Maybe not.

With such a rookie team at the helm of a big-budget production like Hot Summer Nights, I ask Monroe if she thinks this hints at a greater shift in the entertainment industry. “I think the next generation is going to start”—she searches for the right word—“I don’t want to say “taking over” because that sounds negative—but I think the way that movies are made is rapidly changing. Now with TV and streaming services it’s just a different world. I feel like we have these amazing actors, like Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney and Meryl Streep, and I think it’s time for the young blood to come up. It’s exciting.”

From Bad Blood to “young blood,” Monroe finds herself at the
edge of an evolving cultural conversation. Monroe’s generation has the future, or should I say their iPhones, at their fingertips. When all the banality and horrors of our modern world are democratized by a single screen, it’s no surprise we long for a simpler time. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say: with a reality TV star as our president, the gap between satire and cinema verité is rapidly disappearing. As a result, the genre of “horror” has developed a subtlety that hits ever-closer to home. Is that too fatalistic a note to end on? Have I gone off track? I just hope to live in a world where a 36-year-old fox like Anne Bancroft doesn’t waste her time with a dud like Benjamin Braddock.


Maika Monroe first came to the film world’s attention with her leading role in 2014’s It Follows. The lo-fi horror film won over critics and horror fans alike, who were looking for something with a genuine sense of, well, horror. In an age when all manner of gore and violence are just a click away, It Follows returned the genre back to its roots, reminding us that often the scariest things are those that we can’t see.

“It’s a classic,” says Maika, “there is an elegance to it, to bring that sophistication to a horror film is not easy. David [Robert Mitchell, the director] was able to accomplish that. He’s a genius, but it was definitely the hardest film I have done so far, physically and mentally. Every day was a different battle. If you look closely, you can see that my body is covered in bruises.”

She’s right, in a film culture that churns out a myriad of indistinguishable gore-porn titles a year – in between all the super-hero movies – a clever horror film is a rare creature.

So is Maika. She’s a former professional kiteboarder, an unlikely calling card for an actress, but one that requires dedicated proficiency in skateboarding, surfing, wakeboarding and gymnastics. It all culminates in one very extreme, waterborne sport.

“I got into kiting when I was about 13,” says Maika.“My dad loves it, and I made him teach me as soon as I was old enough. I was a trained professional for a few years but life always seems to pull you in unexpected directions. Finding time to get into the water is hard, but when you’re passionate about something you make the time. When I’m not working I try to travel to a coast with warm water and wind.”

Following a few other roles in other low-budget films and one anomalous role in Independence Day 2, Maika is currently shooting a new film in Serbia. In the film, which is called TAU, Maika’s character befriends an AI. Over a fickle wifi connection she tells me about her experience on location. “I wasn’t sure what to expect from the city. But Belgrade is a very cool place, very raw and practically everything is covered in beautiful graffiti.”

And in the future? Her dream director to work with is Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson, an interesting split between gratuitous violence and twee mise en scène. But as demonstrated by her dramatic oscillation between blockbusters and low-budget cult classics, Maika’s definitely got the range for it.

She’s all too aware of the pitfalls of her chosen path, though, telling us that “it’s a tough career, you have to have thick skin. You hear a thousand noes in between the yesses. I think it’s important to have something you are passionate about outside of acting. Painting, music, photography. For me it’s kiteboarding, it keeps me sane.” Well, whatever it takes, right?


“I think it’s really good to get the adrenaline pumping,” says Maika Monroe—actress, professional kiteboarder, brave adventurer. “Do stuff that scares you on a regular basis. I think it’s good for the body and for the mind.”

Monroe is specifically talking about skydiving. She celebrated her 23rd birthday by breaking the sound-barrier from 13,000 feet. She could also, fairly, be describing her maturing roster of movies. In 2014, Monroe starred in two acclaimed horror movies back-to-back, The Guest and It Follows. This summer, she faces two different impending world-invasion apocalypses in Independence Day: Resurgence and The 5th Wave.

Before she started acting, Monroe was a professional kite-boarder—the sport where you stand on a board in the ocean, steering with a high-flying kite, and doing all sorts of jumps and tricks. “After school my dad would pick me up and we would go straight to the beach. The other thing I loved is that no other girls were doing it,” she says. “I would be the only girl out there.”

She was also one of the few women on the set of the second Independence Day, where she got along best with Jeff Goldblum. “We’re BFF, big time, oh yeah!” she says. “I think he’s a magical person, I’m pretty sure he has hidden super powers.” Even with some 18-hour days, Goldblum was a source of positivity. “He’s so positive all the time. He would sing and dance and play games, and dancing—he loves tap dancing. We would be singing Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, stuff from plays that I had no idea what they were, but he knows all the words.”

Though she’s in six movies in 2016 (six!), she found time for vacations. Or rather, by “vacations,” she means pursuing extreme sports and other high-flying adventures. For her next pursuit, she says, “I really want to go swimming with sharks.”

“To this day I haven’t seen Jaws,” she adds. “Because I was always in the ocean, when I was a kid my mom said, ‘See the movies that you want to, but I’m telling you, do not ever see Jaws.’”

So she wants to swim with sharks, but still won’t see Jaws? “Yes. Precisely, precisely,” she says laughing. “I think it’s good to conquer the fears.”