X is a deliciously fun slasher film from the mind of Ti West, but why does Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, also play Maxine? Director Ti West has created an unexpected franchise with X, coming out with a prequel movie about the film’s elderly villain Pearl in her younger years just six months after its release, and then announcing a sequel to X, titled MaXXXine, shortly before Pearl saw its theatrical debut. The common thread that holds the horror trilogy together is model/actress Mia Goth, who plays both the murderous Pearl in the past and present, as well as the defiant lead and final girl, Maxine.
Out of the entire cast of X, Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, is the only one who is billed with a double role. If her name weren’t in the credits, no one would really be able to tell that the older Pearl is portrayed on the screen by Goth. Not only is she unrecognizable in her features, but also in her mannerisms and movements. While both Maxine and Pearl seem like two very different people, the two don’t just share a connection by an actress alone. It goes a bit deeper than that which is why the role spans three films.
Why Mia Goth Plays Two Characters (And Why It’s Brilliant)
Ti West’s X is unusual since Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, also played the final girl Maxine and there’s great significance to her playing both characters. Mia Goth has since played Pearl in the prequel, Pearl, and will reprise her role as Maxine in the upcoming sequel MaXXXine. The Mia Goth X character is unrecognizable in her second role as the villainous Pearl, and there’s a fantastic thematic reason behind her taking this role. Set in 1979, X follows a film crew who set out to make a pornographic movie on a secluded Texas farm.
The group believes their adult film will lead to bigger opportunities for each of them, only for events to take a horrifying turn when their elderly hosts attack them during the night. X boasts an eclectic cast including Brittany Snow, Martin Henderson, and Jenna Ortega, but it’s Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, who steals the show. Horror movie veteran Mia Goth playing both the young adult film actor Maxine and the elderly Pearl is an unusual move, but one that pays off incredibly well. Far more than mere stunt casting, the Mia Goth X characters underscore the considerable similarities.
X’s story juxtaposing sexual liberation and aging is perfectly reflected in Maxine’s career aspirations and Pearl’s regret over a wasted life. Despite their age gap and Pearl’s homicidal tendencies, the characters are essentially one and the same, with Pearl acting as a prediction of Maxine’s future. Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, has another movie as her younger character on the way. Therefore, there’s no better time to look back at both of her characters and why she plays them in X.
What The Director Has Said About X’s Double Casting
Most films would have simply cast different people, but horror director Ti West always knew he wanted the same actor to double for Maxine and Pearl. He explained (via Letterboxd) his reasoning, saying “I always thought of them as different characters but the same person.”. Indeed, the Mia Goth X character Pearl could almost be an older version of Maxine, considering both characters place great emphasis on their looks. Maxine is determined to achieve fame as an adult film actor, relying on her body and her youth to achieve greater self-worth.
Although she professes to be a star, Maxine shows little passion for her chosen career, using cocaine to get through the film shoot. She, along with her fellow crew members, educates the naïve Lorraine (Ortega) about the merits of expressing oneself through sex, gradually revealing her true desire – freedom, and acceptance. Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, makes both these characters work. X’s ending explains that she escaped an oppressive religious background, seeking sexual liberation to overcome an apparent internal struggle. Pearl shares this conflict, being attracted to the young film crew while condemning their behavior.
The Characters Share More Than Just An Actress
The elderly Pearl watches televised sermons preached by Maxine’s father, explicitly connecting the two characters. Whereas Maxine has grand ambitions to be loved, Pearl seeks adoration on a more intimate level. Yet, their basic desires are the same. Maxine craves something she may never achieve, evoking Pearl’s futile attempts to gain affection from the young film crew, and her reluctant husband. Pearl laments a youthfulness and desirability she has lost, and Maxine exhibits an unspoken fear that the same could happen to her.
It makes sense to have the talented Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, portray two characters in the X cast who are reflections of one another. Pearl is haunted by a version of her younger self and so attempts to become Maxine by recreating what she has observed, ultimately climbing into bed with her. Mia Goth playing both roles emphasizes how they are each confronting themselves. Goth’s variations on these scenes help define Pearl’s frustrations as she emulates a life she once had, creating a more empathetic portrayal.
The duality of the roles conveys that Maxine killing Pearl is a rejection of a life she doesn’t want for herself. However, X’s ending shows that Maxine is still running from a life of repression and that her future is left wide open, setting up audiences for the upcoming MaXXXine movie. Ti West’s prequel, Pearl, went even further into their similarities, with Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, playing a youthful version of the villain in 1918.
How Casting Mia Goth As Maxine & Pearl In X Improves The Movie
Despite the Mia Goth X character Pearl making the actress/model nearly unrecognizable, their similarities bring an unsettling Uncanny Valley feel to the movie. Making Pearl and Maxine roughly the same character at different ages helps shape Maxine’s character arc, especially as she rejects Pearl’s fate in the end when she kills her. The double casting of Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, was intentional on Ti West’s part, as it enriches both characters and elevates X beyond its horror movie trappings.
X could have been about some young people trying to make pornography in a barn only to be hunted down by the farmhouse’s owners. However, West decided that X doesn’t need a real villain, and making Pearl and Maxine mirror images of one another helps draw the movie away from standard slasher paradigms. It brings in some much-needed thematic elements to the film like growing old and the power of ambition. It’s these themes that keep X afloat, and the movie wouldn’t have had the same quality without the double casting.
X Started A Ti West Mia Goth Trilogy
Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X and Maxine, will be getting yet another movie, but this time surrounding her younger character, rather than Pearl, whose story was told in the Ti West prequel movie. MaXXXine will follow the titular star as she tries to make her way to stardom in 80s LA, through any means necessary. Pearl followed a similar storyline, however, it took place during World War I. What director Ti West has brought to the table is a Mia Goth trilogy.
X basically kickstarted a franchise going into 2023, with Mia Goth playing two spiritual generations of killers in the same film. The prequel was filmed on the same set and released only six months after X, since the two movies were filmed back to back. MaXXXine is taking a little longer, but should hit the screens soon enough. Both X and Pearl were the surprise breakout hits of 2022, and MaXXXine should carry on the legacy. The Mia Goth trilogy is an exciting set of horror movies with a different take on the slasher genre, and X, with her dual roles, is the film that jump-started it all.
What Awaits Mia Goth’s Character In MaXXXine
Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X and Pearl, will be switching her focus to the character of Maxine Minx in the final film of the X trilogy, MaXXXine. Director Ti West is keeping details surrounding the movie close to the chest, however, there are a few things known about what Maxine could be facing in her next movie. Reportedly, MaXXXine will be set 10 years after the events of X, during which time Maxine has made her way to Los Angeles (via Indie Wire). Set in 1985, the film will see Maxine try to make it as an actress in the industry, but, of course, it is a slasher movie.
The most exciting MaXXXine news is that some of the cast has been revealed, seeing Goth act alongside the likes of Giancarlo Esposito (The Boys), Lilly Collins (Emily in Paris), Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III), Elizabeth Debicki (Tenet), Halsey (Sing 2), Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man), Moses Sumney (Creed), and the incomparable Kevin Bacon (Footloose). While they have been cast in undisclosed roles, it’s easy to imagine each of them in 1980s Hollywood, acting as either a help or a hindrance to Maxine Minx. It’s possible West will choose to go into Maxine’s upbringing by a fire-and-brimstone televangelist, and how it will affect her ambition and rise to fame.
Mia Goth’s Snub Proves The Oscars Needs To Change
Mia Goth, who plays Pearl in X, has done a phenomenal job playing both Pearl and Maxine in Ti West’s franchise, with Pearl in particular garnering critical acclaim for the actress. In addition, she’s been cast in Blade, meaning even Disney/Marvel recognizes her talent. However, the 2023 Oscars didn’t seem to regard Goth’s performance. The Academy has a history of ignoring the horror genre. As proof, only one horror film has ever won Best Picture, and that accolade went to Silence of the Lambs. Jordan Peele’s Get Out also won Best Original Screenplay, but those are the only two films in the genre that have been honored by the Academy by receiving Oscars.
Mia Goth was interviewed by “Jake’s Takes,” and she made it clear that she’s aware of the Academy’s snub of the horror genre — and how that needs to change. “A change is necessary. A shift should take place if they wanted to engage with the wider public. I think it would be of benefit, really, [to nominate horror movies],” Goth stated. Ultimately, the X actress isn’t wrong. The fact that studios like A24 and writer/directors like Jordan Peele have taken the genre to a more elevated status, meaning there’s really no reason for the Academy to keep snubbing horror.