Winning over a jaded journalist like myself with charm is a plus. Even better, being that charming can lead to a successful career. Sara Paxton has charm in spades. The star of the upcoming movie Shark Night 3D, directed by David R. Ellis of Final Destination fame, tells us what it’s like to fight off a giant animatronic shark and what she’s got in her Netflix queue.

Tell me about yourself. How did you get your start?

I started acting when I was 6 years old. My aunt owns a couple of children’s stores in Los Angeles, and when they needed models for the ads, my cousins and I got the jobs.

Was it your dream to be a teenage model?

No. To tell the truth, I really wanted to be a Fraggle! I was obsessed with Fraggle Rock. My mom took me aside and told me, “Fraggles, they aren’t real, honey.” I didn’t believe her.

Besides acting, what do you like to do?

I’m still obsessed with Fraggle Rock and I spend a lot of time with Netflix — I cannot stop watching Dark Crystal! Also I am a Harry Potter obsessive. For the Harry Potter movies, I dress up each year as a different character from the movie.

What’s your favorite?

Voldemort. I have the bald cap and the Band-Aid on the nose! Me and all of my friends get into it. We’ve been doing it since we were small.

Shark Night 3D, tell us about the movie.

It’s about a bunch of college kids who go to a private island for a spring-break party. As you can imagine, it’s all fun and games until people start to get hurt.

Was it scary?

There are sharks in the lakes of Louisiana where we shot. There are bull sharks in the water, a lot of gators. I spent a lot of time thinking, "Why did that log blink?"

Are you afraid of sharks in real life?

I am terrified of sharks. For the shoot, we had these big animatronic sharks. They were unbelievable and they were to scale, with these real shark’s teeth. The scary part is they swam, like, 40 miles per hour up close to you underwater, and they had these sharp teeth. And you’re underwater without goggles, and they looked like a giant death blur.

What are some of your next projects?

I’ve been very busy. I have a small part in a 3-D indie movie, Static. It’s with Milo Ventimiglia and a lot of weird stuff happens — it’s like The Others meets The Sixth Sense. I just wrapped Liars All, which is an interesting movie, set one crazy night on New Year’s Eve in London, and I did another movie, called The Innkeepers.

What’s next?

Comic-Con. I hope I don’t get shanked when I’m there this year.

That geek-stabbing was nuts. Watch the blades.


(This article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of ANTENNA.)