Ella Balinska Is Bloody Good in Run Sweetheart Run
Ella Balinska Is Bloody Good in Run Sweetheart Run
Ella Balinska is a sight to behold. Readers may recognize the statuesque British-born 26-year-old from her previous work in movies such as Charlie's Angels and Netflix's Resident Evil series, or perhaps it was a chance encounter in London or Los Angeles, where her 5'11" frame, feline-like eyes, and coy, gap-toothed smile surely warranted a second glance. But it is truly impossible to look away from Balinska during her star turn in Run Sweetheart Run, the Blumhouse Productions film premiering on Amazon Prime Video on October 28.
There are no spoilers ahead--we wouldn't dream of ruining the viewing experience--but it's safe to share that Balinska spends much of the film looking, well, unkempt to say the least. Granted, she also spends the majority of the film, which takes place over one rainy evening, running for her life, so what did you really expect?
Despite all of the blood, sweat, and tears, plus the runniest mascara you've ever seen, Balinska truly shines on-screen. It's hard to believe that Run Sweetheart Run was filmed in 2019 and originally debuted at Sundance in 2020 before COVID-19 changed the world as we know it. So much has changed over these three years, including Balinska herself.
In early October, we hop on a call. Coincidentally, we're both in our bathrooms: Balinska is in the middle of a self-care day at home in L.A., enjoying a face mask she received for her 26th birthday just a few days earlier, while I am in Brooklyn, perched on the tub with the door closed in an effort to get a clear audio recording to later transcribe. It's hard to resist asking, "So do you like scary movies?" Balinska is quick to admit she's a fan of the genre and the spooky season in general. Her RSR character, a young executive assistant and single mom named Cherie, finds herself on a blind date from hell, and chaos ensues. "There are films that do [horror] so well, but we really want to make sure we weren't glorifying the plight of the female as the victim in these scenarios," she explains of the premise.
While the narrative evokes similar themes about dating violence as I May Destroy You and Promising Young Woman, both of which premiered in 2019, Run Sweetheart Run is undoubtedly a genre film. "It's a bucket-list role," Balinska says. "I'm honored to be a 'final girl,' as they call it, but on top of that, it was an incredible opportunity to show the strength of a Black woman as a protagonist and a winner." The role required an immense degree of physicality, something Balinska studied in drama school, but not in the typical setting. "It's much more visceral. It's not, you know, traditional combat fighting," she explains. "You can feel the energy building and how she needs to become more confident and more assertive. Being a young actress stepping into my own, it was a story I wanted to tell, and in terms of the physicality, 'run' is in the title twice, so needless to say, it was a bit messy."
During the course of the evening, Cherie has at least six costume changes, all while running for her life in the rain. From her silky red date-night dress to a flimsy green nightgown, classic gray sweatsuit, and chic olive-green military-inspired jacket, it's clear that Balinska can pull off anything. The shoes, however, were particularly important, as it's impossible to run all night in heels. "At that time in my life, all I wore were Nike Air Force 1s, so I went to the costume designer and was like, 'Listen, I just want to wear shoes that really make [Cherie] feel safe and comfortable in that moment.' And for me, those are apparently Air Force 1s," she says.
This moves our conversation into the realm of fashion, and Balinska quite literally enters her wardrobe. While her current sneakers of choice are the Jordan 1 high-tops (she is collecting them in every color), she also loves bootie heels, which she deems chic, elegant, and powerful. Notably, Balinska has fashion in her blood. Her mother, Lorraine Pascale, was a top model in the '90s and imparted to her daughter both a sense of style and environmental responsibility. "I've had most of my clothes for years and years," she says while browsing her closet. "I look after them right, and it's an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' sort of thing. My mom is definitely like that too--I still have some of her hand-me-downs as well."
While Balinska has refined taste and designer threads at her fingertips (she works with stylist Jason Bolden and is an active member of the British Fashion Council), she is currently focused on building a capsule wardrobe, opting only to shop out of necessity. "To be honest with you, the only things I find myself buying new are white shirts and tank tops that I've gotten dirty. I do have my growing collection of Jordan 1s, though," she says. When I ask about her proclivities on the red carpet, she points to one look in particular: The custom Prada gown styled by Bolden with a stunning Cartier necklace worn backward at the premiere of Charlie's Angels in London is one of her all-time favorite looks.
After Balinska wraps up press for Run Sweetheart Run when it (finally) premieres on Amazon in a few weeks, she'll be booked and busy for the rest of the year. She begins production on her next film in November, then will spend the holidays with her family in London. Forspoken--an action-packed video game in which Balinska provides the voice of the main character, Frey Holland--will be released in January, and then she's off to Georgia, the country, to shoot The Occupant, a high-concept sci-fi thriller with a psychological twist. She plays coy about more projects in the pipeline, but needless to say, I'm keeping my eye on Balinska as she runs full speed ahead.
<strong>Run Sweetheart Run is now streaming on Prime Video.
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