AUSTIN - This past year has marked a few firsts for Karen Gillan. For "Oculus," it was her first leading role and her first time working at-length in the U.S. -- in Alabama, of all sites. For forthcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy," it's her first villain, and certainly a first for shaving her head.

"It's so liberating, to get rid of my hair was for me a really interesting social experiment," Gillan told me in regards to the physical transformation for the latter film. "I felt intimidating for the first time in my life."

The Scottish actor also appears fairly fearless in "Oculus," out in theaters on April 11. Gillan was on hand to promote the horror flick during the SXSW film fest, and said she was drawn to the project for her character Kaylie's take on evil forces.

"Instead of seeing a girl be really scared of the threat, she's really excited by it, I just thought that was a really interesting take," she said. She also admitted to what was "the hardest thing I've ever done" in her acting career: to memorize and recite 13 pages of monologue. She said if the brain is a muscle, "I think pulled it."

Watch the rest of our interview, on what lesson she learned from her long stint on "Dr. Who," her thoughts on "cheesy slasher films," her co-star Katee Sackhoff, becoming "a lawyer" for her "Guardians" role Nebula and how dancing turns her into spaghetti.