HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 24: Halsey attends the World Premiere Of A24's "MAXXXINE" at TCL Chines...
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How Halsey’s Past Influenced Her MaXXXine Character

“She’ll kick your ass, basically, if you try her.”

by Carson Mlnarik

To play her biggest onscreen role yet as MaXXXine’s Tabby Martin — a club dancer who befriends Mia Goth’s character — Halsey says she knew she had to dig deep. But in preparing to take on the fur-coat-wearing Tinseltown dreamer for director Ti West’s new film, the “Without Me” singer realized that meant harnessing a bit of herself. “[The character] really wants something amazing to happen for her,” she told The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s red-carpet premiere. “That’s why I based her as a New Jersey girl, because I was able to go back to where I was when I was coming up.”

The movie, which hits theaters July 5, follows Maxine Minx (Goth), who moves to Hollywood in the ’80s to find stardom and leave behind her gruesome past as the lone survivor of a massacre in Texas. Unfortunately, she arrives just as a night stalker begins terrorizing the town. MaXXXine serves as the third and final entry in West’s horror trilogy, and Halsey’s affinity for its predecessors was part of the reason she snagged the role. “I obviously loved Ti as a human being overall,” she told THR. MaXXXine sort of came up organically [at a meeting] and I told him that I would love to audition. He said, ‘Great, send in a tape.’ But I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that I was going to get this.”

The 29-year-old then scored a callback and the role, but admitted she panicked after realizing she had to actually do it. Thankfully, she not only had her roots, but an entourage of female musicians to model her performance after. “There’s a lot of Annie Lennox and a lot of Debby Harry … those more alt-leaning girls of that era who are real tough [in the character],” she explained. “Tabby doesn’t need anyone to protect her. Well, she does but she doesn’t think she does. She’ll kick your ass, basically, if you try her.”

Halsey has always had a flair for theatrics; her last album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power arrived with an accompanying fantasy-horror film. Plus, she’s already starred alongside Sydney Sweeney in yet-to-be-released crime thriller Americana. For that reason, she explained, her MaXXXine role is “more than a venture of tourism” that she’ll reveal more about in the next couple months. Until then, we have her upcoming fifth album to look forward to, introduced by her latest single “The End.”