A couple of new interviews with Mary, as well as some reviews about Smashed have been put online. Here’s a review from the NY Daily News where they gave the film 3 stars:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World,” “The Thing”) is amazing in an intimate, unexpectedly weighty drama about a young woman whose alcoholism pushes her to seek treatment. Kate is a first-grade teacher whose hangovers make her sick in front of her class and whose life is making her sicker.
After one night too many of booze and drugs, Kate halfheartedly tries therapy — partly out of curiosity, it seems, but also out of an inchoate sense of desperation — even as her husband (Aaron Paul) lazily holds back his support. Winstead and director James Ponsoldt add something gripping and modern to the cinema of recovery, a well-mined genre that can still, it seems, yield thoughtful surprises.
Moviefanatic has a great video interview with her where she also discusses about playing different characters and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Hypable gave Mary’s performance in Smashed a great review:
Winstead is an utter revelation as Kate, with a truly phenomenal and engrossing performance that is one of the best I’ve seen in some time. Going from warm, charming and relatable to terrifyingly uncontrollable at the flip of a dime, Winstead masters all asked of her character in an absolutely wondrous display of talent from a true up-and-comer. Paul is perfectly placed against this dynamic performance, as Winstead works marvelously against him, making for a believable pairing throughout.
There’s also a brief interview with Mary on Backstage.com:
What did you do to prepare for the role?
Winstead: I was cast three or four weeks before we started shooting, and I spent pretty much every day with James and Susan, the co-writer. We’d go to open AA meetings, we were invited, and it was extremely helpful. Listening to people’s stories was amazing and everyone was very open and wonderful to me. I admit, I was nervous taking on the role because I come from a very dry family. So for me, it was a big turning point going to the AA meetings and realizing our stories are universal; alcohol was just the catalyst for these people. So I latched onto the idea that this wasn’t just about alcoholism, it was about living your life honestly and growing up and becoming the person you’re meant to be.
You’re dealing with some heavy material, but also working alongside some very funny people. Was there much levity on the set?
Winstead: For me, it was one of the most fun sets I’ve ever been on, for so many reasons. The people I was surrounded by were so much fun, the material was so challenging and interesting. It was tough material, but I was so excited to be challenged. The atmosphere was actually very relaxed. And James was a big part of that; he’s just so fun and so sweet. He would bring me desserts every day. He loved how excited I got when he would show up with a cake. It was a great environment.
This is an audition situation that worked out well. Have you ever had any that didn’t work out so well?
Winstead: I had one a few years ago where I felt like I really nailed it and did a really good job. They called and said they wanted me to come back with less clothing. I was “too covered.” I said no, I didn’t go back, and I didn’t get the part. But it actually turned out to be a really bad movie, so there you go. I also once had a chemistry read with a guy who did the whole audition facing out towards everyone else while I was trying to connect with him. And I didn’t get the part because I didn’t have chemistry with him.
Hitfix also interviewed Mary about the film. Click on the link to read the full interview:
“I started out going to a lot of AA meetings,” she says of the research process. “I would try to go to as many different neighborhoods in LA as I could so I could get the full spectrum of many different types of people who are struggling with it. And it was a great first step into relating to the character, because I realized that if I took alcohol out of the equation that their stories were no different than my story. There was nothing about them that was any different than me besides their choice of life.”
That was kind of the first step toward understanding what she might have to tap within herself to carry across a certain authenticity. After that, she says, it became all about looking at herself and her own own life, her own issues, and digging deep to figure out what those were.
“I drew from my own personal life, but it was very non-literal,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be anything like alcohol. It doesn’t have to be a substance at all. For me it was more about relationships in my life that were maybe toxic or co-dependent that I was keeping myself in because they sort of validated my pain in some way, and I kept sort of going through the cycle, even though it wasn’t really doing anything positive for my life and they weren’t making me happy at the end of the day.”