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Screen Crave Interviews Mary About SMASHED and Acting Drunk

It’s no secret that in Mary’s upcoming film Smashed, Mary’s character is an alcoholic. Screen Crave sat down with Mary and discussed playing a drunk and working on the film. As always, click on the link above to read the full interview:

Can you talk a little about playing drunk and not overdoing it?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: It’s really daunting. Even the best actors – it’s just really hard. The whole thing about being drunk is that you’re out of control. If you’re acting you’re in control because you want to know what looks right and believable. It defeats the whole purpose of making it authentic. James (director/co-writer) found a book called The Power of the Actor, which is just a great book on acting. It has an entire chapter dedicated to playing drunk.

I used the author’s method and it worked really well. It’s almost like hypnoses, in a way. You take yourself through all the steps of what it feels like to be drunk and it plays a mind trick on you. You feel loose and out of your body. It helps me let go of the fear of worrying about whether it feels real or not. I felt really loosened and buzzed for sure. One of the author’s tricks is that you pretend that your left leg doesn’t work or your tongue doesn’t work. Something about you doesn’t work and you’re trying to compensate that and hide it.

When Smashed debuted at Sundance, the big buzz about it was you. Did you ever think, ‘God I should’ve done this sooner’?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: (Laughs) Yes and, well, a similar thought. I always wanted to go there. I wanted to get one of those indie movies where you can really get a great performance and it goes to Sundance. That’s what I wanted. I rarely got those scripts and when I did, I didn’t get the part. I just think I wasn’t meant to do it sooner. I don’t know if I would’ve been able to play a role like this five years ago. I just don’t know. Back then I would like to have thought that I could, but maybe I couldn’t. And if I tried, it might’ve not worked out as well as it did this time. The years of working and growing as an actor – it all just came at the right moment for me. I felt like I was confident enough and ready enough to do it.

What was different in your preparation for an indie?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Not just it being an indie, but it being such a complex character and such a real person more-so than anything I had played before. Typically I’ve played things that feel more like they’re in the fantasy realm in some way. The preparation was much more exhausted for this because I’m playing a real person that’s going through something real. I can’t just pretend or wing it. It just wouldn’t be respectful to the material. It was a lot more prep work.

Filed in Film Reviews Interviews Movies Smashed

New Smashed Review and Interview with the NY Daily News

The NY Daily News recently caught up with Mary and talked to her about the research she did for Smashed, how she hung out with Aaron Paul and her career. Click the link to read the full interview.

It’s a major career leap for Winstead, who’s been acting since she was 13. Now 27, she had a breakthrough playing the love interest in 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” But despite major roles since then in big-budget studio flicks (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and the remake of “The Thing”), she was unsatisfied with the films being offered her.

“When I was younger, I was just excited to have any work at all,” Winstead says. “To be part of making a movie was mind-blowingly exciting. And I don’t want to lose that feeling.”

She insists she’s not jaded. “But I wanted to demand more of myself and the people around me so I can keep growing. Rather than just going from job to job, I wanted to force myself to be better,” she says. “It’s great to work, but I’d like to do something more challenging.”

For research, Winstead attended A.A. meetings with the film’s co-writer, Susan Burke. Winstead found that while she didn’t have a substance-abuse problem herself, the lessons of the 12-step program were nonetheless invaluable.

Winstead has a couple more films coming up, including a reprise of her role as Bruce Willis’ daughter from “Live Free or Die Hard.” And she wants to develop films of her own with her husband, writer-director Riley Stearns.She’d also like to try her hand at the stage, where she admits she has little experience.

“It definitely terrifies me,” she says. “So I’d love to try my hand at it.”

A  new Smashed review has been released via Village Voice:

Continue reading New Smashed Review and Interview with the NY Daily News

Filed in A Good Day to Die Hard Interviews Movies Smashed

Collider Interviews Mary About Smashed and Upcoming Roles interviewed Mary about her role in Smashed, A Good Day to Die Hard and The Spectacular Now. I’ve posted some excerpts below, but click on the link above to read the full interview where she goes more in-depth about Smashed and her other roles.

Collider: How did you come to this film? Were you sent the script and then pursued it, or were you offered the role?

MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD: It was a unique situation. I knew, at that point, that I really needed to do something small. And I had been saying, for a long time, that I wanted to do something small, but it’s one of those things where it’s not really heard unless you say it really loudly. You don’t make any money, so people aren’t actively trying to find you those projects, unless you come out and say, “This is what I want you to do. This is what you have to do.” So, that’s what I said to my team. I was like, “I’ve been having a lot of fun. This has been great. But, this is what I have to do now. I want to do something small and intimate. Just send me those scripts for awhile because my next project has to be something like that.” And this was one of the first scripts that I got.

Are you also in the new Die Hard film, A Good Day to Die Hard?

WINSTEAD: I am, yes. It’s another brief supporting role, but it was also fun. I got to go to Budapest and hang out with Bruce [Willis] for a couple of days. It was nice.

Is it fun to get to be a part of such a big franchise, like that?

WINSTEAD: Definitely! It’s always been a lot of fun for me, just to be in films that people see and they connect to, bit or small. The big ones tend to reach a wider audience, so it’s exciting to feel like you’ve got fans in countries, all over the world, who are watching what you’re doing. That’s really great! The older I get, the more I’m drawn to the smaller films, but I still hope to keep those bigger films in my repertoire. It’s just maybe going to be a shift in focus, but I’ll definitely still hopefully be kicking around in those.

Filed in A Good Day to Die Hard Interviews Movies Smashed

I Am Rogue Interviews Mary on Smashed and Die Hard 5

Like the headline reads, IAmRogue interviewed Mary about her role in Smashed and A Good Day to Die Hard (AKA Die Hard 5). In the interview, Mary discusses her new movie, how she related to her character, her research, her character’s co-dependent relationship with her husband, working with actor Aaron Paul, acting drunk, and the mood on set, as well as returning to the Die Hard series, shooting her brief role in the film, sharing a scene with Bruce Willis, meeting her brother (Jai Courtney) for the first time, not seeing much action this time around, and the possibility of a spin-off featuring just the McClane children.

Such a good interview and Mary looks great!

Filed in A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III Interviews Movies Smashed

NextMovie Interviews Mary about Smashed, Justice League Role and Aubrey Plaza

In another new interview with Mary talking about Smashed, Nextmovie asked Mary about how character driven and focused her role is in the upcoming movie. Read the full interview by clicking the link above:

For your first small, character-focused movie, there’s a lot of you in it.  Your character is completely the centerpiece. You, you, you. That has to be intimidating.
It was terrifying, definitely, when I actually got it. Because it’s one of those things, you get a script and you’re like, “Yes! I’m going to make them consider me for this, I’m going to put myself out there!” And then when they go, “Yeah, sure, let’s do it”, you’re like, Oh… you sure you really want me to do this? Because I know I said I could do it but I’m not actually sure if I can do it.”

A few years ago, you read for Wonder Woman, for the “Justice League” movie that never quite happened.
It was like six years ago, but yeah.

It looks like the project is finally getting off the ground. Is that something you’d still be interested in?
I don’t know. Even back then, it was one of those things… there was no script, you sign onto it under the cover of secrecy. I definitely couldn’t do that anymore. At that point in my career, I was like, “Sure, sign me up, whatever the role is.” Now I’m much more careful about that kind of thing. Especially, you know, they want you to sign up for seven movies, even though you have no idea what it is that you’re going to be doing in those movies. That kind of thing is just scary for me. I very much enjoy my freedom going film to film, being able to choose what I do. It would take a lot for me to be able for me to sign on for the role.

I’m not totally sure that that’s the role for me. I feel like part of me would want to do it, to see if I could bring something interesting to it, but part of me would be scared that I wouldn’t be the right person for it. If I were to play a superhero type, I would want that person to be human — I’m not really interested in playing perfection. If it is to be this sort of perfect role model for the world, that does everything right all the time, that saves the day, it’s just not interesting to me as an actor.

You’ll be appearing soon in another movie with [“Scott Pilgrim” co-star] Aubrey Plaza — “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” — has it been brought to your attention that you two have a crazy strong resemblance?
Yes, actually when I was promoting “Scott Pilgrim,” I had several people coming up to me going, “Aubrey, Aubrey!” They had just seen the movie and was like, “I played Ramona Flowers,” and they were like, “No, you didn’t, that’s Mary, you’re Aubrey.” I had them actually arguing with me over who I was.

Identity crisis! Maybe you should just give in and play sisters.
I think we could, I think we would be totally believable as sisters. I would love that, it would be a lot of fun.

Filed in Interviews Movies Smashed

ComingSoon Interviews Mary About Smashed

Smashed is only a few days away from release in New York and L.A. (October 12), and more new interviews are slowly being released online. This one comes from ComingSoon. Below is an excerpt, and you can read the full interview by clicking on the link. What was it about this script or role that got you on board? Kate’s a very interesting character, that’s for sure.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead:
Yeah, it’s such a no-brainer, everything about it. When I read the script, it was one of those things that I thought I’d never get the part, because the few times in my career that I read a role that great, every A-list actress in Hollywood is trying to get it. It’s such a competitive environment because there’s so few roles that good for women, so I thought I was really going to have to fight for it and really get my name in there and I was amazed with how easily they went for me and they were like, “Yeah, we think you’re great for the part.” It was kind of a shock because it was such a well-rounded readable woman, and it’s incredibly rare. Not even withstanding how great the script is and how well drawn the characters are, the simple fact that it was such a great, real human being to play, was all I needed.

CS: What was it like doing those classroom scenes? Those looked like they could be a lot of fun, partially because we get to see something we haven’t seen you do before but also dealing with kids.
Those were so much fun to shoot. The kids were great, especially the kids that had real dialogue to say. They were such great little actors and they were so excited to be there. All the extras were hilarious, because I really felt like I was a teacher. I’d be standing up there and they’d be like (puts on a snarky kid’s voice) “How old are you?” Then I’d say my age and they’d go (snark kids’s voice) “Oh, you’re soooo oooold!” (laughs) It felt very my like I was really the teacher. This was between takes and they were making fun of me for being so old, and for wearing such ugly clothes and stuff like that. (laughs) Yeah, they were hilarious.

CS: What about working with Aaron Paul? When I first saw the movie, I hadn’t seen “Breaking Bad” yet.
Oh, really? You’re like the one person. It’s so funny because it’s this little cable show, but it seems like everybody knows about it and everybody watches it. It’s such a phenomenon and he’s incredible. He’s such a great actor in that, he’s so great in “Smashed.” He’s so open and dedicated and one of the kindest people that you’d ever want to have around on set. Just willing to do anything that needs to be done, to be there for everybody and for the other actors.

Filed in Interviews Movies Smashed

Blackbook Magazine Interviews Mary and Director James Ponsoldt About Smashed

Blackbook Magazine recently sat down with Mary and director James Ponsoldt to discuss their film Smashed. “Our goal was identification, not objectification—and the humor if it speaks to the fact that it’s really fun to be drunk and it’s not wrong to say that! There’s a reason people drink and we wanted that to be a part of the spirit of the film,” admits writer/director James Ponsoldt. Below is part of the interview the mag did between Mary and James. Click the link above to read the FULL interview:

How did you get involved with the film?
Mary Elizabeth Winstead: I was looking to meet people who were doing films that were small and performance-focused and was sent two scripts and one of them was Smashed and I pretty much flipped out over it. I called the producer immediately and was like, “what do I have to do to be considered for this part,” and he introduced me to James, who I loved. So, I put myself on tape and did an audition tape and sent it to them. Yeah, it was pretty shocking and amazing that they actually cast me off the tape and didn’t audition anyone else. I feel really lucky that they put faith in me because usually that never happens.

So once you were cast, how did you prepare to become Kate?
MEW: Well, I had close to a month to work on it, which I was very thankful for because I knew I needed to do a lot of work to really to get to the places I needed to get to. So I started out going to a lot of AA meetings with Susan our co-writer and Elyse our producer, who was also in recovery. I was always welcomed into these open meetings and I went to every different neighborhood in LA basically and tried different meetings and I would see so many different types of people and I realized that if I took alcohol out of the equation that I could fit perfectly in those rooms with those people; they were completely and totally relatable. So that was kind of the first step in relating to the character and then once I started looking at my own life and my own issues, then it just kind of went further and further into becoming her because I kind of made my problems her problems and they kind of became one.

Was that frightening for you?
MEW: It was a funny experience because it all felt so real—the dark moments felt incredibly real or challenging and exhausting but at the same time, it was such a fun, relaxed set that I always felt comfortable and happy. It was a really surreal experience in that way because it was just my favorite place to be even though we were doing things that were sometimes emotionally hard. I always felt kind of relived and happy at the end of the day.


Filed in Interviews Movies Smashed

New Interview with Mary Discussing Smashed interviewed Mary, director James Ponsoldt and Mary’s co-star Mary Kay Place about Smashed. In the interview, Mary talks about attending AA meetings and smoking rock sugar as fake crack for one of Kate’s benders. Check out the interview below!

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Mary Attends Film Independent Screening of Smashed and New Interview

Last night, Mary attended the Film Independent screening of SMASHED with director James Ponsoldt and her co-star Octavia Spencer. You can see photos from the event in the gallery. If I get any HQs, I’ll let you all know.

Also, Neon Tommy sat down with Mary to talk about Smashed and the type of research she did for the film:

Regarding the casting of Winstead, Ponsoldt reveals, “I’ve been a fan of Mary for a long time. She’s this very still, constant, strong presence. She has a very tough role [in Smashed] because she has to be cold, but she also has a sly sense of humor…we wanted someone to be a surrogate for the audience who could find strength and go through a lot.”

“It was scary for me to take it on because I’d never done anything like that before,” admitted Winstead of taking on her role as an alcoholic.

When asked how she prepared for her role with co-star Aaron Paul, who plays her husband in the film (also an alcoholic), Winstead dishes on how the two went out and got drunk together.

“I did it because I wanted to experience what our dynamic would be like [when we were drunk] since we had to be like that a lot in the film,” she laughs.

She continued by saying that she knew the role would be challenging, both mentally and emotionally:

“I spent a lot of time in AA meetings,” mentioned Winstead. I went to so many in L.A. and there were so many places to do it and see different people from different backgrounds. It was so relatable and that was my first step…and then I had to figure out the problems in my own life.”

When asked why she didn’t do something like this sooner, Winstead explains, “I don’t know if I would’ve been able to play a role like this five years ago…the years of working and growing as an actor just kind of came at the right moment for me and I was finally confident enough and ready to do it.”

Though Winstead’s past roles have been starkly different from her role in Smashed, it seems they’ve set her up over time.

“All I’ve ever really want to do is be a real human being on the screen,” reveals Winstead. “So finally having that opportunity was really exciting.”


Filed in Interviews Movies Smashed

MTV Interviews Mary About Smashed

MTV recently caught up with Mary at the Toronto International Film Festival and interviewed Mary about Smashed. In the interview, she talked about watching the film develop, how to laugh at alcoholism, and the reactions from real addicts. You can view the video below: