Filed in Alex of Venice Interviews

Chris Messina Praises Mary’s Acting in Alex of Venice

Actor Chris Messina, who also directed (and starred) in Alex of Venice was recently interviewed by The Sun Break and had nothing but incredible things to say about Mary’s performance in the film.

Now that you mention Mary Elizabeth, I thought she was phenomenal in the role of Alex. Can you talk about how she became involved with the film?

The script got to the part where a lot of actresses wanted to play the role. I got to read and meet a bunch of terrific people. I had been a fan of Mary’s since “Smashed.” I saw her in that and thought she was amazing. She came in and read and she was fantastic. It was clear right away that she was Alex for me. Not only is she so good, but she has a very easy quality that I think any director would love to work with. She’s a team player who brings all of it everyday. We didn’t have trailers. We would say, “The sun looks good over there, let’s jump in the car.” I needed an Alex who was going to be a leader and show by example: this is the kind of film we’re making and I’m up for some running and gunning. Mary was amazing. The trick with Mary was staying out of her way and not saying too much. She did that performance on her own. I was able to capture.

I enjoyed that performance because there were so many choices she could have made in that character, but she played such a subtly great performance.

She’s like Michael Jordan. The producers and I said that we could move on after a take, but it’s so much fun to watch that we would want to watch her over and over again. She was spectacular. I would work with her again in a second.

Her performance has gotten a lot of nice reviews and I’m happy about that because she’s such a nice person and she’s so good in the movie. There are a lot of performances like this that are very subtle and not a lot of huge fireworks that go off. I was hoping that writers and critics would recognize her for her subtlety. And they are and that’s very, very nice.

You can read the full interview by clicking on the link above, with Messina even saying that they hope to take the film to Europe for another festival!

Filed in Alex of Venice Faults Gallery Updates Interviews

New Mary Interview Plus new MDFF Photo

Way Too Indie caught up with Mary and the rest of the Alex of Venice stars during the San Fransisco International Film Festival premiere. You can see Mary’s interview below and check out the rest of the cast interviews by clicking the link above.

Also, Mary and her husband/director Riley attended the Maryland Film Festival to promote their film Faults. You can see a photo of it in the gallery.

Filed in Alex of Venice Gallery Updates

Mary Attends the San Francisco Int’l Film Festival Premiere of Alex of Venice

Last night in California, Mary hit the red carpet to attend the closing night of the San Francisco International Film Festival for the premiere of her new film Alex of Venice. Mary was joined by her co-stars Don Johnson, Katie Nehra, and Chris Messina. Head to the gallery to see all the new pics!

Filed in Alex of Venice Gallery Updates

New Tribeca Film Festival Portrait

During the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival that took place last month, among the many interviews and photos Mary took part in, Paper Mag photographed the celebrities in attendance and among them was Mary for her work in Alex of Venice. Head to the gallery to check out the full-sized pic.

Filed in Alex of Venice Gallery Updates Interviews

New Tribeca Interview and Photo Shoot Outtake

IndieNYC sat down with director/actor Chris Messina and the rest of the Alex of Venice cast during the Tribeca Film Festival to discuss the film. Below are some highlights and as always, you can read the full interview by clicking the link posted above. And thanks to Paige, I’ve added a new outtake from Mary’s Anthem Magazine interview which you can read HERE. Head to the gallery to check out the full-sized pic:

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is known for roles that are very different from this one, from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” to “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Were you [Chris] ever apprehensive about casting her?
No. I saw her in “Smashed,” and I was blown away. And then she came in to read, and her reading was incredible. And she also just had a lot of passion for the movie. It was clear that she connected to the material and wanted to do it. When you’re directing your first movie, or maybe any movie, you need a support team around you, and you need leaders. Nobody was making any money. A lot of these people have families, a lot of them had opportunities to go make money on other jobs. So they had to want to be there. That was something that I required. Mary wanted to be there, and she was an incredible captain of the ship. She set a tone and a precedent for the film that I think the crew, and myself, and the rest of the actors really followed.

Mary, you’ve played roles very different from this one–for instance, in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Moving forward, how are you going to be choosing your roles?
Mary: I’m drawn to characters who get to be very human, in that they are a lot of different qualities, instead of just a few or even one. Earlier in my career, I felt like I would play a character, and the character would be [a specific] thing, and fit inside [a specific] box. And I would just try to be that. Now I’m trying to bring all my own qualities to characters, to make them as complex as possible. And if I can find roles that allow for that and don’t box me in too much, that’s the most fun for me. This was kind of perfect for that. And I’m not always going to get that, as much as I try.

Filed in Alex of Venice Interviews

Mary in New Interview with Awards Circuit sat down with Mary during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival where they discussed Alex of Venice and future projects. Be sure to read the full interview by clicking the link above!

JM: When this came about, were you offered the part of did you audition?

MEW: I auditioned. It was actually one of those things where I met him and I’d heard things, but I’d loved the script and wanted to audition, not just to meet. I think he was concerned that I wasn’t the right fit, age wise, the character was written to be 35 and at that point I was 28, so it was the sort of thing where he wanted me to come in and prove that I could be a mom and, you know, this character, who’s been in this role her whole life, a young, working mother. The first time I went in, they wanted me to come back looking frumpier, so I went shopping and changed my look head to toe, so it took some convincing, but it was one of those roles that I knew that I just needed to play, you know? It just felt very right for me, so I wanted to prove that I was right for it.

JM: Going forward, what are you looking to do? You’ve hit almost every genre, short of maybe a zany comedy…

MEW: I know! It’s kind of weird, I sort of feel like I’ve reached a point now where I’m looking for the best roles I can find. It’d be nice to find something that would reach a wider audience but I was also really proud of, but it’s really hard, and it’s always kind of a risk. You can do something that reaches a wider audience and it turns out terrible, or with indies, they’re fun and a bit safe, in that if it doesn’t work out there’s less risk, but you wish it would get seen on a bigger scale. I’m certainly proud of this one, but yeah…you just wish they would get seen on a bigger scale.

JM: Definitely. It’s fun to watch how people evolve, and you certainly want to support people you’ve enjoyed in prior works. I know that Scott Pilgrim is pretty much universally loved, but I wonder if that had made $100 million if things wouldn’t have gone a different way, maybe even a worse way?

MEW: Absolutely. That’s totally true. I think I’ve been almost lucky in a way, in that I never broke out completely, especially at a place in my career where I’d be boxed in or wouldn’t really know what I wanted. I’m really only now at a place where I know what I want to do, so I’m really excited that I got to this point sort of on my own.

JM: So to wrap up, what do you have coming up next?

MEW: I have a couple movies coming out. I have a movie called Kill the Messenger with Jeremy Renner coming out, and it’s such and interesting story and he’s fantastic in it. And I just did a movie with my husband called Faults that I’m super proud of. Hopefully that’ll be out soon. And I also just did a pilot, so I’m hoping to enter the TV world soon.

Filed in Alex of Venice Interviews

Chris Messina Praises Mary’s Acting

In an interview with, director and also actor of Alex of Venice star Chris Messina praised Mary’s acting ability in his new film:

The film follows the titular character, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as she fights to keep her job as environmental lawyer, her role as a mother, and her eccentric father (Don Johnson) in check, without the support of her husband.

A fan since seeing her on “Smashed,” Messina felt Winstead’s talents were well-suited for the film. “When I saw her audition, I was blown away,” he admits. “The trick with Mary is just to stay out of her way because she doesn’t need my direction…If I have to guide her right or left, that’s fine, but she was connected to the part, she didn’t need me—she just needed me to shut up.”

He kept his silence when directing Winstead, but Messina’s voice and vision as a director comes through loud and clear in the first five minutes of the film, carrying through to the end. Supported, but not driven by dialogue, much of Messina’s storytelling is visual, dropping clues about the storyline in degrees. It was a choice partly achieved by not stopping the recording between takes.

“It created some moments that didn’t have a lot of acting in it and it was helpful for me when I was in editing to find some truth,” he says.

Filed in Alex of Venice Faults

Mary Attending San Fran Film Festival and Maryland Film Festival

Good news everyone! Mary will be attending two festivals very soon! First up, Mary will attend the San Fransisco International Film Festival on May 8th to promote Alex of Venice, and then on May 10th, Mary will be at the Maryland Film Festival to promote Faults.

You can purchase tickets for the SFIFF to see Alex of Venice by clicking here. Additionally, if you want to see Faults at the MD Film Festival, you can buy tickets and see showtimes here.

Stay tuned for updates on both festivals!