Fairuza Balk on leaving Hollywood: ‘I had to step back for my own well-being’

Fairuza Balk
Mild spoiler for Craft: Legacy
Fairuza Balk, star of the original The Craft, has a cameo in the new Craft: Legacy movie. I don’t think it’s a major spoiler to say that as I knew it going in. The film was much different than the original. They tried to make a unique reboot for this new generation and in that respect it wasn’t bad. There was a kind of touching and sincere coming out scene that I really appreciated, and I liked the female friendships. I sort-of regret buying it, but I don’t regret the time spent watching it, if that makes sense. I’m not mad that I can’t get that time back. It’s more of a Netflix movie than a full price VOD.

Fairuza has an interview with the LA Times in which she talks about her decision to step away from the entertainment industry. We know her from the original Craft of course, and from Almost Famous. Her IMDB has her working somewhat steadily in TV and film for the last 20 years, but of course there’s this perception that she stepped back because she’s not in as many big films. That may be by design. She suggested that she didn’t want to play the Hollywood game and hinted there’s some dark sh-t happening behind the scenes. Fairuza didn’t get into the specifics, but she said she’s happy being with her dad and focusing on art and other projects instead of acting.

What are your thoughts on the legacy of the original movie? How has it impacted your life and career?
It’s surprising. At the time when we made this, I really had no idea it would land so hugely and it would be so influential to people. To my mind, it had no gravitas. But that’s what’s cool about art … it affects everybody differently.

I’ve had meetings with fans and letters and emails where [they tell me] Nancy really affected them deeply in their lives. Some fans refer to her as their spirit animal. Like they try to picture themselves as her when they’re dealing with difficult parts of their life because they see her as this incredibly strong force of nature. [It’s] very interesting because when I played her, the director’s intention was that she really be truly psychotic. [laughs] But it’s wonderful. It’s great to hear years later that something that you were a part of had a really positive effect on folks. That’s what we all hope art will do.

What made you step back from acting and what are you up to now?
Well acting, hopefully, I’ll be able to do for the rest of my life. That was the goal, but in my late 20s I stepped away from doing a lot of press because people just kept taking my words and rearranging them the wrong way and just depicting me as this crazy bad girl and it just really got old. They weren’t really listening to what I was actually saying, they just collected sound bites from other interviews that had misquoted me. So I just felt like “OK, I can’t win.”

Also, Hollywood is a very strange bubble, a very strange world, and some of the things — as the general public is starting to find out — some of the elements of that game are things I just couldn’t do. I’m just not wired that way or brought up that way. I had to step back for my own well-being and sense of self-preservation. Because I’ve given everything to my career, it came before everything for most of my life. And at a certain point, you have to remember that there is life outside of “Get the job, do the job.” There are other elements.

I started looking into and spending more time on other art forms that I really enjoy and I’m far happier for it. I don’t think I so much stepped away from acting as I became more selective. I love to do the actual work but the rest of it is not suited to everybody, let’s put it that way.

[From The La Times]

You always see Fairuza’s Craft photo used for those clickbaity thumbnails “you’ll never believe what happened to” and that’s got to sting. It’s like using Julia Stiles’ paparazzi photo without makeup for those “actresses working 9 to 5 jobs” articles that require clicking through 20 poorly written slides for no payoff. In reality they are both working actresses who get steady-ish gigs, they just never reached the pinnacle of their early career again. There’s no shame in that. As Fairuza is suggesting here, that could have been a choice they made because of the things she dealt with in Hollywood. We know that so many actresses got abused and blacklisted too. We’ve heard enough stories about it. I don’t know what she’s referring to and don’t want to suggest that’s the case, it’s that we’ve learned how brutal that industry is. Just dealing with the press has got to be tough as she mentioned.

Fairuza Balk  at Westwood One Backstage....

Fairuza Balk at the "Antibirth" Los Ange....

Photos credit: Avalon.red and WENN

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

25 Responses to “Fairuza Balk on leaving Hollywood: ‘I had to step back for my own well-being’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Digital Unicorn says:

    I have always loved her and other actresses have stepped away from the same reasons – Cameron Diaz did.

  2. Noki says:

    She always reminded me of this other actress,i believe she is or was Madonnas bff,cant rememberher name. They look alike.

  3. smcollins says:

    She started as a child actress (Return to Oz) so I have no doubt she’s seen, and possibly, been through some things. If you’ve never seen Gas, Food, Lodging I highly recommend it. She seemed like a force to reckon with (acting wise) and I always wondered why she wasn’t front-and-center in more films. Now we (sort of) know why. I’m glad she’s well and happy.

  4. Annie says:

    “And some of the things — as the general public is starting to find out — some of the elements of that game are things I just couldn’t do”

    Sounds like casting couches. I feel like it’s the rule since the beginning of Hollywood.

    Another girl from that era that I think about a lot is Leelee Sobieski. She was cool. Reminded me of a mini Helen Hunt. Then she left the business. Thora Birch as well. Christina Ricci. I hope they did it all on their own and didn’t get blacklisted for not putting out for movie roles. It makes me sad but that industry is not a happy one. Makes me wonder about all the A-listers. What did they do to get where they are?

    • bananapanda says:

      Yep all the quirky interesting looking actresses tend to step back rather than drive themselves crazy. I think there’s more power in working steadily for 30 yrs and eventually good roles will wind their way back to you.

      Leelee didn’t quite have the range and looked WAY too much like Helen Hunt. Thora and Christina Ricci have been working on lower key projects.

  5. Stacy Dresden says:

    I like her. She has real screen presence.

  6. Redgrl says:

    She was terrifying in a small part in American History X. I always wondered what happened to her. Agree with the poster above – so many actresses whose careers took inexplicable nose dives – some may have walked away but I can’t believe they all did….

    • kimberlu says:

      omgawd she was!!! she is an amazing artist and I’m glad that more people acknowledge the BS in Hollywood. Has Zendaya spoken about her time with Harvey Weinstien yet? Remember he was trying to woo her years back and put her in his wife’s clothes at award shows…

  7. Jen says:

    Just came here to say, I STAN Fairuza – have loved her since Return to Oz when I was a little girl – and though I think Margot Robbie nailed Harley Quinn, I always thought Fairuza would have been PERFECT for the role!

    • Sushiroll says:

      I agree with you 100%!!!!!
      Fairuza would’ve slayed that role. She would’ve added a level of insanity and chaos that no other actress can summon. Girl can do that with one look alone. Bitches wish, but Fairuza is something special. F!$-! I love her too!

  8. emu says:

    I love her. I love her look too! Glad she’s in a good headspace. Hollywood really does destroy people

  9. robin says:

    she’s a great actress, good in eccentric roles

  10. Ginger says:

    She continues to be awesome, but it infuriates me that we’re missing the talents of so many amazing people because Hollywood is a toxic shithole.

  11. BountyHunter says:

    I have loved her since “Return to Oz” too and her role in “American History X” was chilling. She does favor Debbie Mazaar, and they’re both awesome!

  12. Lowrider says:

    I wish these actors wouldn’t be so damn cryptic. Just state what is going on in the dark underbelly of Hollywood so it can be publicly dealt with!

  13. Krystina says:

    I’ve always loved her acting. The first thing I ever saw her in was Return to Oz. She made a fantastic darker version of Dorothy.

  14. Chloe says:

    Still love her- she’s so awesome <3