In an interview with Backstage.com, 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.