As all cinephiles know, every film noir needs a femme fatale. Like Double Indemnity has Barbara Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson, the new thriller Manhattan Night has Caroline Crowley—portrayed by actress Yvonne Strahovski.
Manhattan Night—a film that put its own unique modern spin on the classic genre—follows a jaded tabloid journalist Porter Wren (Adrien Brody) struggling to make a living off his print articles in the digital age. But after meeting the enigmatic Caroline, he finds himself enwrapped in her life, simultaneously bedding and helping her solve the mystery of her late husband Simon Crowley’s (Campbell Scott) death.
However, Porter ends up not only putting his life, but that of his wife, Lisa (Jennifer Beals) and kids, in jeopardy for the charming stranger. However, Caroline isn’t your textbook femme fatale because there’s more to her story than meets the eye—and it’s quite a twisted story to say the least.
This isn’t the first time Yvonne Strahovski has played a seductive woman with a complex history. The actress is also known for playing Hannah McKay on Dexter and Sarah Walker on Chuck—both badass ladies with mysterious pasts.
WhoSay talked to the 33-year-old actress about her Manhattan Night role, news consumption in the 21st century, her iconic characters’ possible fates, and more. Check out our exclusive interview below.
WhoSay: Manhattan Night talks a lot about how hardcopy newspapers are being replaced by videos and viral content? Do you personally still read print stories?
Strahovski: I was never really into newspaper reading to begin with. Social media is a system where you follow [what] you’re interested in. Then I read all of the articles off of my phone, basically. But I am a fan of reading books. I can’t seem to get through books online or on any kind of device. I grew up on reading books, holding them in my hand, [and] the smell of the paper.
WhoSay: There are many intense moments in the film, both psychological and physical. What was the most difficult scene to shoot?
Strahovski: Definitely the evening where we shot the flashback scene [near the end]. It’s the scene that I shot with Campbell Scott. We were in this old depressive building. It was an all-nighter shoot until about 6 o’clock in the morning. It was very cold and involved a little bit of a stunt. It was very emotional content. It was very challenging for all of those reasons.
WhoSay: What was it like filming this fast-paced movie after doing so much television work?
Strahovski: Television is usually always so fast-paced in my experience. So I guess you could say that my television experience was pretty good training ground for a movie that was shot so fast with complicated content. The pace of it wasn’t too jarring for me because I’m used to that. But this was the first time I was shooting in New York, so that added flavor to it that I hadn’t experienced before.
WhoSay: Like Caroline, your characters on Dexter and Chuck were also complicated and mysterious. Did you ever think of them while filming this movie?
Strahovski: Whatever I do, things always pop into my mind. Certain things I have to do in one project remind me of something that I did in a different one—or just different character traits crossing. It’s sort of like when you see someone in life and something they do reminds you of a friend of yours.
WhoSay: Both Hannah and Sarah’s storylines were left open-ended. If you could guess, where do you think they’d be now?
Strahovski: Well I know what everyone wants me to say about Sarah. She’s living happily ever after on an island with Chuck and a baby. [Laughs]. Hannah is raising little Harrison still somewhere in Argentina or traveling the world, causing mischief, and grooming Harrison to be her little righthand man.
‘Manhattan Night’ is in theaters and on demand today.