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.”