Warning! Spoilers from Christopher Landon’s Happy Death Day lie ahead. Read on at your own risk…
In Happy Death Day, mean girl Tree (Jessica Rothe) lives the same day over and over again — and each time, she’s murdered by a masked killer. By going through the same day again and again, Tree not only solves the mystery of her own murder, but she also becomes a nicer person.
And it’s that journey — from villain to kickass heroine — that interested Rothe, at least in part, in the first place.
“I fell in love with the premise and with the overall journey that Tree takes because when we meet her in the movie, she’s this despicable, narcissistic, self-centered villain almost,” Rothe told Hellogiggles. “But over the course of the film, and as the repetition of the day overwhelms her, this hardened layer of hers…we realize is really a facade, a persona that she’s crafted to protect herself. [There’s] actually a funny, smart, intelligent, and sometimes caring girl hiding underneath all of that.”
Her evolution throughout the film makes her defeat of the mastermind behind her murders all the more satisfying.
And that mastermind is Tree’s roommate Lori (Ruby Modine), who enlisted the help of a local killer and poisonous cupcakes to wipe out her sorority sister. Tree ultimately confronts Lori about her lethal plots in an intense fight sequence.
As for Lori’s motivations? Well, she attempted to murder Tree over a guy…but Rothe is okay with that, because the film addresses how batshit crazy that is.
“The other thing I really like that we added in is, even though it’s so understandable and relatable and I think works in the context of the film, how ridiculous it is that Lori killed her over a dude,” Rothe explained. “I realized that we like [Tree] so much, and she’s become so strong and powerful, that she would call Lori out and be like, ‘Are you kidding me? There are 10 million reasons to kill me, but doing it over some stupid guy? We’re beyond this.'”
She added, “I really loved that that became part of this discussion because it is like, ‘Yeah, let’s have a knockdown, badass fight between these two ladies.’ But it’s not really about a guy. Like, don’t let it be about a guy because that’s just lame.”
For Modine’s part, she loved playing the *true* villain in the film, and her reasons for that go back to — wait for it — Disney.
As for Lori’s motivations, Modine doesn’t deny that Lori is motivated to kill over a guy, but she believes there’s much more to the story than that. Because, “Tree was doing things that continuously were pushing [Lori] closer to the edge.” And their interest in the same guy was the thing that pushed her over the edge.
Ultimately, Modine — like Rothe — sees that final brawl as empowering. “Tree hits her low point and goes, ‘You know what? I’m going to take this into my own hands.’ She gets help from the love interest, but she takes it into her own hands and goes, ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to figure it out.’ And she becomes a better person in the process of it. She becomes a stronger human being.”
Happy Death Day is currently in theaters.