'Wasteland' Princess: Best Actress Lily Carter

CHATSWORTH, Calif.—Some wondered whether Lily Carter, the waifish, soft-spoken girl primarily known for her unbridled, ever-more-hardcore sex scenes, had the thespian chops to pull off the complex role of Anna in Graham Travis' Wasteland—a lost, emotionally tumultuous character demanding a serious degree of commitment.

Well, boy, did she blow the skeptics away.

Lily's performance in Wasteland was at once wrenching, fearless and electrifying—the sort that sticks with you long after seeing the movie ... and that, frankly, you simply don't encounter in porn but every other blue moon or so. Which perhaps makes it all the more astounding that the gal has nary a lick of acting training under her belt.

"I was in a couple plays in school but that's about it," Carter told AVN. "I think I actually became Anna while shooting Wasteland. It was easy for me to relate to her past and kind of transform into her on and off camera. I did what she would do. I felt what she would feel. When she cried, I cried. It wasn't like acting, because I was her."

Not that she didn't see the part as a challenge. "I was excited but very nervous. It was the hardest role I've ever taken on," she admitted. "I was determined to do my best. I memorized the script from beginning to end—from punctuation to the feel and emotion of each individual scene. Then I started putting myself in her shoes. That's when I was able to bring Anna to life."

Carter also gives ample credit for her Best Actress win to Travis, who she said "kind of just let us go. I think he trusted us with his characters, or at least that's how he made me feel. That really helped give me confidence and set me free to be Anna."

If only she'd been able to resurrect that confidence when the time came to go up and accept her trophy. "Oh my goodness!" Carter exclaimed. "I was so scared! I was crying not because I was sad or happy but because I was extremely nervous! My voice was so shaky!"

Just for the record, then, she said she wanted to make sure she expressed a few thank-yous: "I'd love to thank [Wasteland co-star] Lily LaBeau for being such an amazing person and actress. I wanna thank Graham for writing and directing a beautiful story. I thank the crew: Alex, Carlos, Bruce and Mason."

Summing up the entire experience of Wasteland, Carter reflected, "My favorite part about shooting is the sexy time. Wasteland was completely different. I didn't get to the sexy time 'til the final day of filming, which was a few weeks after starting. I was going crazy waiting! I really did love being on set though. Everyone got along, even on 12-hour days. It was also fun to become someone else for a while."

And as the hand of fortune bore out, it was no waste at all.