September 18, 2009 at 05:30 PM EDT

Loved 1992’s Single White Female? Then you’ll love 2010’s Leighton Meester-Minka Kelly thriller, The Roommate. Like Female, Roommate focuses on obsession: The film follows a college freshman (Meester) who develops an unhealthy fascination with her roommate (Kelly). For her role, Meester says she went method, researching mental illness with the help of psychologists and films like 1974’s A Woman Under the Influence. The actress tried to keep her distance from cast members — and a litter of kittens being used for the film — in order to retain her character’s level of emotional aloofness. “You would think that that idea of playing somebody who’s out of control or lost touch with reality is somehow fun, but it was to a point of discomfort,” the actress says. “[My character] is completely delusional and it’s definitely a cause of a chemical imbalance, so that wasn’t the easiest and most enjoyable thing. Even in her most normal moments, she’s genuinely a disturbed person. She had very abnormal wheels turning at all times.”

But will friends let Meester play psychiatrist, now that she’s garnered knowledge about mental health? Not quite, says Meester. “I don’t think they’ll want my advice after they see this movie.”

Photo Credit: Jaimie Trueblood

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