WAMG Interview: Margarita Levieva – Star of INHERIT THE VIPER
INHERIT THE VIPER starring Josh Hartnett, Margarita Levieva, Owen Teague, and Bruce Dern opened in select theaters January 10th and is currently available on digital streaming platforms. INHERIT THE VIPER is a crime thriller about three siblings in Appalachia getting by as local opioid dealers, trying not to get caught in the spiral of violence that comes with the territory.
Margarita Levieva is an American actress. Born in Leningrad, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (now Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation), at age three she began the rigorous training program of a competitive rhythmic gymnast. Levieva continued to train for the next 13 years, winning competitions in Russia and eventually going on to compete in the United States after emigrating. When she was 11, Levieva’s mother moved her and her twin brother to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in New York City. In 2005, New York Magazine featured her as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in New York.
Margarita Levieva took the time to talk to We Are Movie Geeks about INHERIT THE VIPER
Interview conducted by Tom Stockman January 10th 2020
Tom Stockman: Hello Margarita. I just watched your new film INHERIT THE VIPER. You played Josie in that and you were very good.
Margarita Levieva: Thank you.
TS: Whenever I see you in something like The Deuce, you’re quite glamorous, but as Josie in INHERIT THE VIPER you really were de-glammed quite a bit. Almost unrecognizably so.
ML: Yes. That’s something that’s really important to me, to always honor the characters that I play. When I read the script I realized that Josie was not someone who would pay much attention to her physical appearance. Truthfully I love playing characters that don’t require much make up, where the focus is not so much on physical beauty and more on the character and the soul of the person. The way I looked just fit the role.
TS: She’s also not a very sympathetic character.
ML: No unfortunately not. And for me, those characters, like I’ve played in The Deuce and The Invisible, I’m drawn to because they are complex and not necessarily sympathetic. I’m interested in the psychology of these types of characters and what’s inside them, and what drives them. These characters are sympathetic to me if not necessarily to the audience.
TS: Where did you film INHERIT THE VIPER?
ML: Birmingham Alabama.
TS: Did you do a lot of research on opiate addiction and the lives of drug dealers?
ML: Absolutely. One of the reasons I was really drawn to the story is because I’ve been personally following the opiate addiction problems over the years. It’s really upsetting how rampant it is and how many lives it has taken. It’s a subject matter close to my heart, something important
TS: Did you enjoy working with Josh Hartnet?
ML: I did. I loved him. I love the whole cast but Josh was really extraordinary it’s not pleasant playing characters that are so far away morally at this point in their lives and still struggling to maintain a connection. But he’s incredibly wonderful and giving as an actor.
TS: What are the release plans for this film? Has it played at festivals?
ML: It did not play film festivals but it definitely was worthy.
TS: Have you been to many film festivals?
ML: I have. I have been to Sundance five times and I have been to the Austin film Festival. INHERIT THE VIPER will be released today in theaters and across various digital platforms.
TS: You’re from Russia and came to this country when you were 11. What does the name Margarita mean in Russian?
ML: It means ‘pearl’ in Greek. Margarita is also the title of one of the biggest classics in Russia.
TS: When you were a little girl in Russia, did you watch a lot of movies and TV?
ML: Not much. I grew up there during the communist era. We had two channels. One of them was news and the other was mostly cartoons. We had very limited access to television. I did manage to see a few films growing up there, one was ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, which is probably my favorite movie just because of the nostalgic factor . But I was a dancer since the age of three, and was often performing at theaters. That was a big part of my upbringing.
TS: Who are some of your favorite actors that you have worked with?
ML: I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some really brilliant actors. Truly the cast in INHERIT THE VIPER, Josh and Owen Teague, I loved working with them. I loved working with some people on The Deuce. James Franco and Dominique Fishback were great. I worked with Tim Robbins a few years ago and really enjoyed working with him . I worked with Jesse Eisenberg who I loved as an actor. Kristen Stewart was great too. I enjoyed working with Ashton Kutcher and Dustin Hoffman for sure.
TS: What did you act with Hoffman in?
ML: I was signed on to do the second season of Luck which we were filming. Unfortunately, the series got canceled. But I was lucky to get to work with him.
TS: What projects do you have coming up that you are excited about?
ML: I’m figuring out what I want to do next. I’m thinking about doing this series about a Russian spy which I am pretty excited about.
TS: Well you’d be perfect. You were born to play that part! Thank you for talking to me and good luck with INHERIT THE VIPER.
ML: Thank you.