Added new pictures of Leighton performing at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood on January 13, 2015. Check them out!
Since the end of Gossip Girl, Leighton Meester has played Andy Samberg’s character’s fiancee in That’s My Boy, starred in Of Mice and Men on Broadway and played Vera Farmiga’s character’s daughter in The Judge, among other roles. After five years playing Blair Waldorf week after week, Meester is trying to take on different parts.
“It would just seem like a waste of time to do the same thing over and over again, not to mention a little boring,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
The script for Life Partners, about the long-term female friendship between Sasha (Meester) and Paige (Community’s Gillian Jacobs), was appropriately unconventional, Meester said.
“It was a 100-page script portraying that dynamic, which I thought was so rare — rare at all and very rarely accurately portrayed,” she said. “And I think it’s because it was written … by a team that’s a real-life friendship between two women [Susanna Fogel, who also directed the movie, and Joni Lefkowitz] who are intelligent and have their own issues and are fairly open about [those].”
Meester was also intrigued by the character of Sasha.
“I think she’s open about her weirdness and has a propensity for laziness and codependence, which I thought was a fascinating characteristic,” she said.
“I really could relate to where she was in her life and the concept of a person who is at this age that is this huge turning point for so many people where it’s like, ‘Well, you’re at this age, you’re not a kid anymore, you need to have at least a direction.’ … In a perfect world you would theoretically have a romantic partner,” she said. “And I can relate to the idea on both sides of the friendship in that there’s a kind of codependence there in that you hang out with somebody all day every day and you have a real shorthand with the person and then something happens and you suddenly don’t have each other every second. What do you do? You have yourself. Sometimes that’s terrifying.”
Meester is still struggling with balancing acting with a music career, releasing her debut album Heartstrings at the end of October.
“I think a lot of people say to compartmentalize or to schedule accordingly, but the truth is both sides of things are so difficult to time, I think acting more so. I was in the final stages of recording for the last year and then I got a play that was going to take me away from L.A. for at least six months and during that time I didn’t want to do anything else. I wanted to focus as much as possible for my health and the sake of the project,” she said. “Acting, you know, you get a part and you have to do it. You can’t say, ‘Can you push it a month?’ I mean, I’m not in a position to do that. So I have a lot less control over when I work.”
Viewers have been able to control when they could see Life Partners for the past month, with the Magnolia Pictures-distributed movie available via VOD, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video. Now, the film is also in select theaters in New York, L.A. and Fort Lauderdale, opening in more cities throughout December.
Meester said she appreciated how releasing the film on demand allowed the film to be available to a wide audience of people, especially those who wouldn’t be able to see it in theaters.
“Back before this was an option, even a few years ago, I would do a film and it might never be seen if you don’t get it into theaters. The fact that we’re able to put this out and let people see it is great,” she said.
Leighton Meester opened up about her career and personal life in the cover story for Nylon’s November issue. The Gossip Girl alum, 28, whose costar Blake Lively announced her first pregnancy earlier this month, secretly married hubby Adam Brody back in February, and has been seeing a lot of her other friends experience big life changes, too.
“Most people I know are starting to get married. It’ll be kids next,” she told Nylon. “I like the grown-up stuff. I like having a house. I’ve got dogs.”
The couple is currently promoting their upcoming film Life Partners, in which Meester plays a lesbian in love with her best friend who starts dating Brody, 34.
“There wasn’t time to ask if we wanted to do this together,” Meester said of mixing her personal and professional life. “I was reading the script. I loved the part and loved the movie. I was going to the meeting that day and he called me and said, ‘They offered me this role.’”
Since her hit CW show ended in 2012, Meester has been focusing on projects that won’t pigeonhole her as a character actress.
“I started the show when I was so young, and once it was over, I wanted to do things that were more exciting and challenging and more me — more my adult taste,” the star who played the bossy-yet-beloved Blair Waldorf on the New York-based show said. “Of course, that’s said with nothing but gratitude and love for that experience in that time of my life.”
The actress has also dabbled in music, noting that her role as a singer in 2010’s Country Strong gave her confidence musically that she had never received before.
“[I] finally thought I could find the words, the feeling, the meaning, and the melody that would showcase my voice,” she said. Her debut album Heartstrings was released on Tuesday, Oct. 28.
After a run as a TV teen queen and a brush with pop fame, Leighton Meester is giving fans something new to gossip about: her debut album. Fresh off her role in Of Mice and Men on Broadway, which wrapped in July, the 28-year-old is releasing Heartstrings on Oct. 28, on her own Hotly Wanting label. Previously signed to Republic, Meester is no stranger to music — her guest spot on Cobra Starship’s 2009 hit, “Good Girls Go Bad,” peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. But her new dream-rock sound is a stark departure from her past dalliances in pop.
You originally signed a contract with Republic. How was that experience?
It was fun at the time: I had a record deal and I thought that was cool. It just wasn’t me, and even then I knew that. I learned about the industry, songwriting and the process of producing, which was something I had no clue about. But I think I learned how to do it my way.
Your earlier releases were pop. How is your new music different?
I can’t really set myself apart [from pop] considering the music that I made, but I never really had the desire or time to pursue that. It’s not my taste. This [new album] is for people who don’t know anything about my acting and don’t listen to pop music. I think that’s kind of exciting. [Of Mice and Men] was the most time-consuming thing I’ve ever done. Now I have time to actually concentrate [on music], which is cool. I’ve never really taken time off to do music.
How does making music compare to acting?
I can’t say one is better; they’re just so different. With music it’s nice because I can plan everything [and] I can do it. With acting I have no control: Either I have work or I don’t.
For people that know you from acting or from your entry into pop music, how does the new music represent who you are as an artist?
It’s for those [current fans], and I think more than anything it’s something totally new. It doesn’t have anything to do with my past work, so really it’s for everyone else too. It’s for the people who literally do not know the world of anything to do with what I’ve done and the acting and don’t listen to pop music. I think that’s kind of exciting.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s kind of just me. I want people like me to be able to relate to it and be able to understand it in their own way. Ultimately I’m just really pleased with it. By now, really the sort of impetus for me is to release it and put it out. It was more just personal pressure, my own pressure on myself. I need to [put out this music] because otherwise I never will. I think I’d gone through so many different incarnations and so many different phases, and this music always comes back and I just love it. I’m really, really happy with where it’s at.
Have you felt any pressure or pushback for being perceived as an actor-turned-musician?
I forget about that, and then people remind me. It’s not such a bad thing. I think if anything it’s helpful, for me at least. I’ve been acting since I was a kid. It’s different, but much of it’s the same. It goes together very well. Internally there’s pressure. I’m a human being; I feel pressure. Really I’m always reminded how people are very open and very receptive, and I think it’s depending on your taste: if you like it, the good thing is that one doesn’t have anything to do with the other.
Who are the artists that have influenced you the most?
Joni Mitchell. I love Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. I love Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Kate Bush. Tori Amos — you can play a song and I’m singing along. I can remember music from when I was young. Even as a little kid, my dad listened [to certain songs] and I heard them while we were eating dinner. I think it’s my affinity for lyrics. Paul Simon, the Police, Bonnie Raitt. I associate it so much with being 5, 6, 7 years old, hearing in the background. Funny lyrics, like [Simon’s] lyrics “Me and Julio.” I’d be like, “What are they singing about?” And now I understand it and it just seems so — if this makes any sense — it’s complicated and meaningful and mature. Adults can listen and care about it, and a 6-year-old can grasp it, and a 6-year-old can love it.