Warning: This post contains spoilers for "The Craft: Legacy."
In 1996, Fairuza Balk was everything to teenagers who fell for goth bad girl Nancy Downs in cult classic "The Craft."
It's a role that has become a defining one of her career, a career which also includes breakout parts in "Almost Famous," "The Waterboy," "American History X" and her debut film role, "Return to Oz." In 2020, she briefly stepped back into Nancy's shoes for a too-short cameo in "The Craft: Legacy," a sequel revolving around four new, teenage witches -- one of whom was revealed to be Downs' daughter.
From The Craft: Legacy/Sony Pictures
Though she's kept busy on-screen with a 2015 stint on "Ray Donovan" and the 2018 horror release "Trespassers," she's also kept a very low profile compared to a lot of '90s It Girls -- something which was a very deliberate choice.
"In my late 20s I stepped away from doing a lot of press because people just kept taking my words and rearranging them the wrong way and just depicting me as this crazy bad girl and it just really got old," Balk revealed in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times. "They weren't really listening to what I was actually saying, they just collected sound bites from other interviews that had misquoted me. So I just felt like 'OK, I can't win.'"
It wasn't just press she took a break from, however.
"Also, Hollywood is a very strange bubble, a very strange world, and some of the things — as the general public is starting to find out — some of the elements of that game are things I just couldn't do. I'm just not wired that way or brought up that way," she continued. "I had to step back for my own well-being and sense of self-preservation."
Balk explained that her work on-screen "came before everything for most" of her life and she realized there was more to life. She began to explore other art forms -- including music, painting and mixed media -- and said she's "far happier for it."
"I don't think I so much stepped away from acting as I became more selective," she added. "I love to do the actual work but the rest of it is not suited to everybody, let's put it that way."
She said she does plan on acting "for the rest of my life," and will continue to pursue her love of all art forms as well. On the film front, Balk added she would love to tackle a part that's totally "different from what I've played before," signaling a desire to step away from "the really heavy parts" she always went for in the past.
"Once you've played a certain kind of role and you've given it everything you've got, you know you're not going to come back at it and do the same kind of role better," she explained. "The idea of revisiting the same thing is kind of a moot point."
She also doesn't really revisit her own films, saying she doesn't plan to even watch "The Craft: Legacy" because she "stopped watching [her] own work a while ago." That being said, she loves the fandom Nancy has accumulated over the years -- and said that seeing drag performers take on the character is "one of the crowning achievements of my life."