Stunning. Simply, stunning.
This 25-year-old North Carolinian actress was born on November 28, 1984, and she took interest in performing on big stages through roles in ballet and acting. She hoped to be a ballerina one day, and she studied that and jazz dance. Eventually, she started to pursue an acting career, while keeping up her dancing. Fun fact: Winstead is a distant cousin to Ava Gardner. She also has a longtime boyfriend, writer/director Riley Stearns, with whom she worked with on a short film with called Stop/Eject. On July 22, 2010, Winstead announced her engagement with Stears. While they were joyously announcing this joyous occasion, I also wept, though not out of joy . . . Winstead loves to sing, but she never wanted to make a career out of her pipes. However, she was asked by Quentin Tarantino to sing an a cappella song when she was filming Grindhouse: Death Proof. Apparently it was heavenly, and can be found on the second disc of the Death Proof DVD or here on YouTube.
2005- Sky High (Gwendolyn “Gwen” Grayson)
2005- The Ring Two (Young Evelyn)
2006- Final Destination 3 (Wednesday “Wendy” Christensen)
2006- Bobby (Susan Taylor)
2006- Black Christmas (Heather Lee-Fitzgerald)
2007- Live Free or Die Hard (Lucy Gennero-McClane)
2007- Grindhouse: Death Proof (Lee Montgomery)
2008- Make It Happen (Lauryn Kirk)
2010- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Ramona Victoria Flowers)
2011- The Thing (Kate Lloyd)
Ambiguously doomed in Death Proof
Even though she is prominently known as a scream queen (and she ranks #10 on a Maxim’s “Hottest Women in Horror Movies” list), Winstead’s performances are well received by critics. In 2000, she was nominated for the YoungStar Award for her performance in Passions, a daytime TV series, and in 2001, she was nominated for the Young Artist Award for work in the same TV series. Along with the cast of Bobby, Winstead won the Hollywood Film Award at the Hollywood Film Festival for Ensemble of the Year. The cast of Bobby was also put up for a nomination in the Screen Actors Guild Awards though they eventually would lose to the cast of Little Miss Sunshine. You would think that due to the fact she appears in so many horror films, she would be panned by critics, but quite the opposite is true. Even though the film received awful reviews, Winstead’s performance in Final Destination 3 was lauded by critics, and acting performances in the horror films Black Christmas and the pathetic film Make It Happen were also critically praised, even though the films themselves were considered miserable.
After the addition of the highly anticipated (okay, so maybe only “highly anticipated” to us) film, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, in which she plays Ramona Flowers, Winstead’s career heads back to horror. She will star in the sci-fi horror film The Thing, which is a prequel to the 1982 horror film of the same name (which starred Kurt Russell). The character she will be playing is Kate Lloyd, a graduate student that discovers “The Thing” with some other scientists who will probably die. Mind you, this film will be a prequel, so either everyone will die or only Winstead (the white female lead, aka the only person to live in a horror film) will live and somehow escape. Either way, I am skeptical of this film (especially since the original was incredibly campy), but you never know with Mary Elizabeth, as she has a way of turning even the most mundane flicks into something bearable or even electric and captivating. Indeed, Winstead’s future career definitely shines brightly with promise.