BriannaHildebrand blasted her way into the geek world this year with her role as Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the film adaptation ofDeadpool.

Packing plenty of punch and attitude, she became an instant fan favourite, and Sydney devotees will be able to see her at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo this month. We chat to Hildebrand about the film, her plethora of other talents and what it was like to play such a kick-arse character.

“It definitely was a lot of fun to have that much attitude, for sure,” laughs the 19-year-old actor. “I would say it came naturally – I had some pretty angsty teenage years, so that was pretty easy to draw from.”

Despite being able to empathise with and understand her Deadpool character quite easily, Hildebrand worked quite hard to prepare for the role, in order to make her as vibrant and rounded as possible.

“Usually when I’m [preparing] to get into any kind of character I like to develop a journal for them. But I definitely had a few conversations with the director, Tim [Miller], and because there’s barely anything about her character in the comics, I had to come up with a little bit myself and get his advice for sure.”

As fans of the comics will know, this is certainly accurate. Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a relatively small and obscure character in the Marvel Universe. Furthermore, she was a late edition to the Deadpool script and her mutant powers were drastically changed for the film. In fact, she was initially chosen because the writers simply liked her name. Although the lack of canon and literature to draw from might have seemed intimidating, Hildebrand rose to the occasion.

“It was really fun, actually! It definitely felt a lot less limited, I guess. I felt like I could just do my thing and be an angsty teen instead of following instructions, you know? I’m all about strong female characters and with Deadpool it was one of my favourite things about the script.”

Hildebrand encompasses her character so well that she might have been born to play the part. As it turns out, she wasn’t much of a comic book fan before doing Deadpool, despite comics’ rising popularity in mainstream culture.

“I was not at all into any kind of comic or superheroes before any of this started,” she says. “But my co-star Ed Skrein [Ajax] is a super comic book nerd, so I had him coach me a bit before I got to set. I told him I had to borrow some of his comic books because I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, and he helped a lot for sure.”

I wonder whether doing the film and now working the convention circuit has provided Hildebrand with a newfound appreciation for the medium.

“Yeah, for sure. It’s actually really cool the amount of people who are super into this world and all of these other worlds that are somehow parallel to each other. “It’s really interesting and the fans are awesome – a lot of them are really crazy and it’s great. My favourite part is seeing how everybody is dressed. I get lots of tweets and people will tag me in their Instagram posts when they’re cosplaying Negasonic Teenage Warhead and it’s so awesome. It’s very exciting.”

Despite being a rising star on the big screen, Hildebrand cut her acting teeth in the world of web series with Annie Undocumented. The award-winning show, which is inspired by a true story, follows the life of a teenage girl after she discovers she is an undocumented immigrant.

“We filmed Annie Undocumented about two years ago now and I’m pretty sure that it was the first thing that I ever worked on. It was such a great experience and really interesting in terms of the plot. You should really check it out. Also, Nikki SooHoo was there and I was like, ‘Oh my God, you were in Bring It On!’”

Being someone who has both worked on a web series and grown up during that platform’s rise in popularity, Hildebrand offers an interesting perspective on the artistic licence such productions provide. “They’re easy to access and so fun. I wouldn’t say they’re easy, but they’re a lot easier to make than a TV show and having to pitch it. I think that it’s really cool to be able to put your creative abilities to work without having any kind of restraint from any kind of production.”

Hildebrand would know – she has also spent time behind the camera as a producer on the short film The Voice Inside. “We shot The Voice Inside basically about a young girl who falls in love with an ex-convict. They have a pen pal relationship and write back and forth. So the short is them finally meeting in person and how all of that plays out. It was super fun to work on and it was my first short. It was so cool getting to talk to the director [Jonathan Marshall Thompson] about his vision and being able to contribute on that side of filmmaking as well. It was even at the Newport Beach Film Festival a few months ago.

“The director is a good friend of mine and he just came to me one day with this idea and I thought it sounded really cool and I wanted to help make it happen. That’s how I kind of went into it – it wasn’t me thinking about wanting to be a producer. It was more about me being super excited about the project.”

Despite killing it as an up-and-coming actor, being on the big screen was never Hildebrand’s original intention. Much like her production credit, it happened inadvertently and with no real plan.

“I moved to LA initially because I’m a musician – I play guitar and I’m a singer-songwriter. I play the acoustic guitar, so most of my stuff is kind of folk-influenced, but there’s some R&B influence as well. I really wanted to get a music career going and I kind of just fell into acting via my manager. So I gave it a try but music is definitely my first love. Combining music and acting would be really cool. That is definitely a goal of mine in the future.”

Hildebrand is asked what other career aspirations she harbours, and if she has any dream roles or projects beyond her breakout Deadpool performance.

“I have no idea. I would like to act on as many projects that I feel passionate about as I can. I think eventually I would like to produce an album myself to release, and I guess those are the main goals right now in my mind.

“I’m trying to think of other things I would want to play. I have always wanted to play a boy. I don’t know why I want to play a boy – it’s a strange thing to want to play, probably. I think it’s so far from myself that it would be awesome. I really love characters who are super three-dimensional and that you can really see through.”

[Pictured: Brianna Hildebrand in Deadpool]

Brianna Hildebrand comes toSupanova Pop Culture Expo 2016at Sydney Showground, along withTravis Fimmel, James Marsters, Juliet Laundau, Sean Astin and more,Friday June 17 – Sunday June 19.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine