Heather Graham has gone back to the dark side.
The actress, most recently known for comedies like “The Hangover,” returns to her “Boogie Nights” dramatic form when she hits the silver screen Sept. 15 in “Wetlands,” a crime thriller that takes place during the off-season of a New Jersey coastal town.
The 47-year-old plays the former wife of Babel (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a cop and former drug addict who tracks her down in the hope of reuniting their broken family.
We chatted with the star about the movie and other upcoming projects.
What drew you to “Wetlands”?
I thought the story was interesting. It’s shot in New Jersey, which is actually where some of my family is from. So it’s funny, because we shot in Wildwood, which [is where] I spent a lot of my childhood summers, so it was kind of like going back home. … Wildwood’s a pretty interesting, atmospheric place.
Your character, Savannah, is a far cry from the comedic roles you’re recently known for. Do you have a preference?
I like them both. I guess in comedy, there’s a certain pressure of like, you want to make it funny, and in drama, you’re just going for “real,” you know? But I did just write and direct a movie [“Half Magic”] that is a comedy, so I do love comedy. I love watching it. I’m definitely a fan.
What was your experience as a first time director and directing yourself?
It was really fun, I definitely was nervous because I’d never done it before. Once I started doing it I thought, “I’ve been on sets my whole life,” so it definitely felt comfortable in that way.
Tell us about “Law & Order: True Crime.”
We’re shooting it right now, it’s coming out on Sept. 26, and it’s about the Menendez Brothers’ trial. I get to play Judalon Smyth … She’s a very interesting character, and she’s a mistress of [the brothers’] therapist.
You’ve had a public Instagram for nearly a year. Even as an established actor, do you feel pressure to have an online presence?
[At first] I was like, “I’m not going to do it,” and then when I directed my movie, I thought, “Oh maybe I should be doing this stuff.” Like everyone’s doing it. ... There’s definitely pressure for you to do it. I think there’s an aspect of it that’s fun, but I’m trying to find a happy medium between doing it for fun, and not feeling like, “Oh my God, everyone’s doing this so I need to be doing it.”
It’s funny how times have changed.
It’s like, I feel like I’m open, but then there’s a certain aspect where you’re like, “Well, I don’t need to tell everybody everything,” and I guess it used to be that actors were very mysterious, you know? Like, you’d hear a little bit about their life, but [it wasn’t like] “I’m eating granola this morning!” You know what I mean? Now it just seems to be like you’re supposed to do it.