Riley Steele is best know for her work in adult films like Pirates 2: Stagnetti's Revenge, but the gorgeous twenty-two-year-old may soon win a bunch of new fans, and some mainstream success, with her supporting role in Alexandre Aja's upcoming 3-D remake of Joe Dante's cult classic Piranha. I met Steele on the Lake Havasu, Arizona set of Piranha this summer, on a day when she was filming her climactic scene – and swallowing a lot of water in the process. Needless to say she wasn't feeling very good that day. Being a trooper, however, she offered to chat with me later on the phone. Read on for the conversation that followed, in which Steele discusses making the transition from adult film star to horror-comedy heroine.
How did you get involved with Piranha 3-D?
I pretty much just went into the audition read for Kelly Brook's character. [She] was originally supposed to pay Crystal, but I had to read for her part. I guess about one-hundred girls auditioned for it, and I totally thought that I blew it. And I didn't want to live in Arizona for two months because I'd never been there. I wasn't really good at swimming; I didn't really want to do it. But my friend was like, "Just go try it!" I actually ended up getting it and I had the best time of my life working on it. I'm really happy I got to do it.
You mentioned Kelly Brook – are most of your scenes together in the film?
Yeah, we played best friends in the movie.
Did the two of you get to survive most of the film?
We do – we don't die till the very end!
You two, in particular, worked a lot with Jerry O' Connell, right?
Yeah, he was great. He is just so hilarious. Him and Paul [Scheer] kept cracking Kelly and I up. Everyday we were on the boat together. He played the director and we were his "Wild, Wild Girls." So we were with him the entire time. He's so much fun, he's hilarious, I love being around him. He's great!
How does your character, Crystal, differ from Kelly Brook's?
I think Crystal's just a fun-loving girl. She's crazy, she just likes to go out and have fun; she likes to get other girls to have fun with her. But I think Kelly's character might be a little more reserved, and I'm a bit more on the wild side – which is kind of funny, because that's how we are in real life too.
Do you feel your character and Kelly's character serve as comic relief in the film?
I think Kelly's and my characters are more lighthearted roles, because we're girls and we're just out there to have fun. We have no idea what's going on. We're just going out to party. Especially Jerry's character because he's the director and he's insane in the movie. I can't wait to see the effects in the movie. The 3-D underneath the water, that will be really cool.
How was the transition to this type of film from the movies you're used to making?
It was like night and day, completely different. Our regular movies we can shoot in about two days; and the longest we'll usually be on set is about a week. This was two months! And it was in a different state, I didn't know anyone, it was crazy. We used a red camera for digital. The camera difference wasn't really different it was just different since I was in the water.
What about working with Alexandre Aja? What was that collaboration like?
He was great! Very quiet. He and Greg [Nicotero] were very good to work with, because they just let you do what you want to do. Jerry too, because he's so good with improve; him and Paul are so good together. We turned some scenes into even better scenes that added so much more to the characters. It turned out great. I loved him.
Are you a fan of horror films? Do you have any favorites?
You know what? I can't watch scary movies – I get so afraid! I get really scared. As long as I have someone to sleep with me I'm okay to watch them. I liked 1408. It was freaky, but really good.
Had you seen the original Piranha before agreeing to do this film?
I hadn't seen it. I saw the trailer though, which was pretty funny. My manager though, she loved that whole movie. She was so excited when I got it because she loved the first one.
How much humor is in Piranha 3-D as opposed to horror? The original had a lot of comedic elements.
I'm not sure about Elisabeth [Shue]'s scenes because I wasn't in those, but our scenes are very fun. There are definitely some good comedic points in this movie, but I think it's going to be really, really scary. When we saw all the dead bodies and the people bring in the prosthetics and when I had my body done after I was supposed to be attacked… It is pretty gory. I was covered head to toe in body makeup. It was cool.
This film has a pretty impressive cast. In addition to the actors we discussed, it has everyone from Richard Dreyfuss to Ving Rhames. With all these different personalities on set, do you have any funny anecdotes?
You know, I met Ving Rhames, but he's so intimidating because he's so big! I was like, "Hi, I'm Riley." But he was just like, "HI," and that's all he said. But everyone else that I worked with was great. Everyone I was in contact with on set was just so nice, so great. Everyone was treated with respect on set, with the crew guys and all. I mean you kind of become family with these people because you're having three meals a day with them everyday and you're in a different state where you don't know anyone, so you're kind of taped to each other. We went to Chili's everyday. Between there and In-N-Out, I was so sick by the end of it.
Would you consider doing another horror film? What are some of the projects you're working on or looking into right now?
I would love to do more horror films! Of course. It was so much fun making it. It's so fun because then I get to see how it's fake and ease myself into becoming a big horror movie film.
In real life, what's your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that someone is trying to get me. Like someone stalking or watching you.
Since Halloween is coming up, do you have any big plans you can share?
I just love to have fun on Halloween! I'm so excited to be a jungle girl and just go out. I love Halloween, it's one of my favorite holidays.
Thanks for your time, Riley. We're really looking forward to seeing the film.
Yeah, no problem. Thank you!