This Friday, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate is releasing Maggie, the heartfelt zombie drama starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin in theaters and on VOD. The duo portray a father and daughter who must persevere under unthinkable circumstances as Breslin’s titular character has been infected with a zombie virus and the only thing left to do is wait until she finally succumbs to the disease. This leaves her father feeling helpless, unable to protect her from the inevitability of death, and so the pair must make the most of the limited time they have left together.

Daily Dead recently had the opportunity to speak with Breslin about her role in Maggie, the challenges that come with playing a character that undergoes such a radical transformation and co-starring alongside one of the world’s biggest film icons.

Great to speak with you today, Abigail. I thought the movie was great and your performance was really phenomenal. Was the fact that this wasn’t the usual zombie a huge appeal to you when you were first considering coming on board Maggie?

Abigail Breslin: Yeah, before I read it, I had heard it was a zombie movie, so I really wasn’t expecting a story quite like the one I was about to read. I had done Zombieland, but I don’t really have all that much experience watching zombie movies. Despite that though, I knew the minute I read Maggie that it wasn’t your typical zombie horror movie- it was the polar opposite. It was scary because of the emotion, not because it was really gory or anything like that and I thought that setting it around the zombie epidemic was just a great way to tell Maggie’s story. It became about the relationships and the emotional toll that her progression towards becoming undead has on her and those she cares about.

How much did you fall in love with the character of Maggie?

Abigail Breslin: Oh, I loved her so much. I really enjoyed that she was so self-aware about everything and how she confronts it rather than letting it take her over emotionally even though it’s physically destroying her. And honestly, the script was so good, and Maggie was so fully-formed on the page, that most of what you see with her was right there in the script. There are of course little things you always add in there as an actor, but Maggie was so well thought out that I feel like I had an easy job on this.

And she was just a normal girl, which I could definitely relate to, but then she had these crazy, animalistic outbursts which were kind of intimidating to play. I think they made her transformation into this thing so much scarier.

Was it intimidating at all to have to go to those dark places once Maggie’s illness starts to take its toll?

Abigail Breslin: Oh, it was. That was probably the biggest challenge I faced going into this because I hadn’t really pushed myself like that before. I didn’t want to take it too far because then it would have come across too over the top. The fox scene was especially hard just because it was so intense and I was supposed to be pretty feral at that point, so that was a tough day.

There’s this really fantastic scene that Maggie shares with Trent (Bryce Romero), who’s also sick. It really stuck out to me because the film is very somber and, even though both of these kids are facing their own mortality, it feels like a moment of hope.

Abigail Breslin: That was one of my favorite scenes too. I think that moment shows that there’s still humanity left in this world and that even though both of their lives are going to be cut short, they’re still just kids who care about each other. It was such a sweet and innocent moment, compared to all the heaviness of the rest of the story. It’s definitely a moment that stuck out to me and it was a fun scene to film.

I wanted to talk about working with Arnold- what was really interesting to me is that he’s always been this huge onscreen presence and somehow that feels all stripped away here. The relationship between you two feels so authentic. You forget he’s the same guy.

Abigail Breslin: Working with Arnold was an amazing experience and it definitely helped my performance. Obviously, he’s this iconic action star, so you kind of see him like that initially- you can’t really help it. But he was really warm and generous as an actor and, if you think about it, he doesn’t have to be that way. He’s Arnie. But he’s so vulnerable in this movie and that was such a surprise; usually, he can fight against the villain or try and kill the bad guys but, in Maggie, there’s no bad guy. There’s no way to stop a villain in this- he has to just accept what’s happening to his daughter and find a different kind of strength because he can’t win this one. It’s just such a different role for him.

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.