TORONTO—At just 16, Joey King is already a showbiz veteran.
She’s starred in the film “Ramona and Beezus” and had parts in countless major projects, from “Fargo” to “Oz the Great and Powerful” and the upcoming “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
But until recently, she hadn’t had a chance to play a more mature role. So she ventured up to Manitoba for the Canadian indie dramedy “Borealis,” helmed by director Sean Garrity.
There was just one problem.
“I got on set and I knew that my character had to smoke marijuana and I had never inhaled anything,” says King, whose visually impaired, pot-loving character goes on a road trip with her debt-ridden dad.
“So me and my mom were in the office for pre-production and I went to (writer/star Jonas Chernick) and I was like, ‘Listen, I’ve never inhaled anything. Do you want to teach me how to smoke this fake pot?’
“He was like, ‘Absolutely.”’
King describes the fake pot as “this weird stuff” that “smelled like lavender but tasted disgusting.”
“We found this shady corner in the production office outside, because obviously we were going to be authentic about it,” she says.
“I have it on video: I took my first inhale, I started coughing everywhere and I told him, ‘This tastes like nuclear poison.’ And then I smoked it for the next month and a half!”
King’s character suffers from a condition that will soon leave her completely blind. Her father, a compulsive gambler played by Chernick, decides to take her to see the Northern Lights in Churchill, Man., before she loses her vision.
King, who won a best actress award for her role at the Vancouver International Film Festival, wouldn’t reveal much about her character in “Independence Day: Resurgence,” due out in June. But she does describe her as someone who’s cynical and has lost her way in life until “a certain someone in the movie comes along and changes her perspective on things.”
“I cannot wait for that to come out,” she says. “It’s going to be an absolutely insane movie and it’s going to be bigger than anyone could ever expect.”
“Boraelis” opened in Toronto on Friday and hits Winnipeg’s Grant Park on April 15 and Ottawa’s the Mayfair Theatre on May 27.