Susie Abromeit is spending a lot of time on the big screen. She has a role in this summer’s The Forever Purge, the latest film in Universal’s hit horror franchise, and will be seen this fall in the highly anticipated King Richard. It’s two very different films and two very different characters for Susie, who’s proven that she can dive headfirst into any project.
I recently spoke to her about both of her latest projects, why King Richard was particularly close to home given her own tennis career, and other favorite roles that audiences should check out (remember when she recurred in the first season of Chicago Med?) Get to know more about Susie and her big year on the big screen.
Brittany Frederick: The Forever Purge is the fifth movie in its franchise, and in general, horror sequels can sometimes feel formulaic. Was there something about the film that made you want to be a part of it?
Susie Abromeit: I had no idea what I was auditioning for when I auditioned. (laughs) I went in, and they just hand [me] a scene. They have a completely different title of the movie because they don’t want to reveal anything. So I’m playing a villain, and I had just watched The Loudest Voice and the casting office was also casting [The Forever Purge]. Watching The Loudest Voice, Russell Crowe is Roger Ailes, who he was playing. I was so beside myself, so upset, so riveted on the edge of my seat, but also just horrified. He played that character so well. So I just imagined channeling that rage, the way he played that character, in the scene. I’m pretty sure they were terrified of me.
Then I found out that it was the Purge [franchise], and I found out that I got to work with my friend Levin [Rambin], who I’ve known for years, and Josh Lucas, who I always looked up to. These incredible people were such a joy to work with. The director [Everardo Gout], he’s amazing and the stunts are just incredible, and I love the crew. I just had the best time working with these incredible people.
BF: Then after that you have King Richard coming out, so what was it like for you to do a movie about a sport that you actually played? Something that you have considerable first-hand experience in?
SA: I just remember walking in but then starting to hear bits and pieces from the casting director. I was like, “Wait, I worked with that pro and I worked with these people and I know about the academy.” Like Rick Macci, who coached Serena and Venus Williams. I was like, “Yeah, I went to Rick Macci, and I went to…” It was super wild because this was a big portion of my childhood, and finally I read the script and then found out that I got the role, and it was completely surreal that they captured [it] really right. When I was reading the script, I just started to cry.
I was sort of beside myself because the message about this movie was just so beautiful. Junior tennis is very much best in show, and it’s a ridiculous display of children having to deal with adult situations, but really you’re dealing with parents’ and adults’ neuroses. The really unhealthy pressures that a lot of kids were under, kind of like child actors, it’s very similar. So it was really full circle for me. And then working with Will [Smith] was a dream come true, because he’s been a hero of mine as far back as I can remember.
BF: Talk to me about making that transition from junior athlete to actress. That’s a considerable risk, to leave one successful path for another, so how did that unfold? Or were you always interested in an acting career in some way?
SA: It wasn’t such a big leap just because I was super-artistic already. I was immersed in the arts since I was, like, five. In school, it was gym and in art that I really felt like a duck to water. My art teacher, I remember I was maybe seven or eight and he was like, “Yeah, you’re like me, you’re an athlete who can do art.” He was an amazing artist. And my mom and teachers always encouraged me to continue painting, writing. My mom took me to this art camp that Chris Evans also went to at the time. We went to Camp MMFA, and that’s where I found acting when I was about nine.
Anything with the arts was really my calling. But I think for the longest time, I was just told that that’s not really something you can do. That’s not really a career. And it wasn’t until I think I was about 18 when I really started to do things.
BF: So as we’re watching these new films, what are some of the other roles or projects that you’ve loved? What’s resonated with you over the years?
SA: I did a movie called Diving Normal and I absolutely love that film. I played a recovering addict and I had to go through some really intense places, but it honestly was such a cool role. And the director, he was really, really amazing. I think it was based on a play, and so they turned this play into a movie and it was very Kenneth Lonergan, like This Is Our Youth a little bit. But it was that kind of vibe. I ended up getting a Best Actress award. I loved having these really, really intimate moments and really going deep for the character.
And obviously I loved Jessica Jones; working for Marvel was kind of a dream come true. I feel like I’m in a place right now where I want to do things that I’m really excited or I really want to work on. That’s kind of where I’m at in my life.
BF: People may not recall that you appeared in a few episodes of Chicago Med‘s first season, too, right as that show was taking off. What was that experience like?
SA: [name] I’d previously met. Who’s just so, so lovely. And Nick [Gehlfuss] played my love interests, or I played his love interest for a hot second. Everyone was so great and so wonderful. Those things don’t always line up and people don’t always get along. I feel very lucky when those things do line up, and it was just such an incredible cast to go through. It’s a joy when everyone’s just so easy to work with.
The Forever Purge is available now; King Richard will premiere November 19 in theaters and on HBO Max.